An untrustworthy witness to history
I hate to link to this kind of heinosity but:
The Elusive Mr. Peace by Bryan Preston spouts off in an incredibly obnoxious way about Salam Pax.
It's mind boggling to me that someone from America can write this with a straight face. From this country, where to be a technocrat is privilege itself, and just being a citizen makes one an "insider"? Has this National Review guy talked to a non middle class person lately, or an illegal immigrant? Does he imagine that to some "average American" his intellectual crap would be any less alien than mine is, or than Salam's might be to some "average Iraqi", whatever that might be (and I wouldn't know!) Is Preston some kind of saint who would give up all his money and family connections to help people who are unjustly imprisoned or tortured by his government or anyone else's? As if, because Salam Pax grew up in some wealthy family and is educated and has technical knowledge, he is not only complicit with all the injustice of his country's government, but must be a spy? Why would this be any more true for him than for privileged people in our country? Doesn't our privilege feed off not just this country's poor, but whole other nations? Doesn't our wealth seem to depend on keeping others down? Because I can gossip with someone I know about some internal computer policy at a big company, does that make me a corporate spy, just because I'm in a position to know them? If some cousin of Jenna Bush had a blog and said some sarcastic and cynical things about the war, would everyone jump to the conclusion that this cousin is a spy? It's nonsense. If this country were invaded and occupied, would Preston agree that every rich kid who went to Harvard and who came from a Republican family was as "untrustworthy" as Salam, and likely to be not only a spy, but if they keep a diary, whether public or not, an incompetent spy? That Harvard kid can't have an opinion, or record what's happening around them as their world turns upside down? Some armchair journalist across the ocean would of course be WAY more qualified to decide what "history" is!
Why would sarcasm, cynicism, being able to afford a computer and a pizza, and not having The Answers to everything make anyone "an untrustworthy witness to history" ? Am I making myself "an untrustworthy witness" just by writing this? I suspect so! After all, I curse the dictatorial regime of my country, and hate its policies, but accept the $400 tax refund I'm about to get, and I let my dad put me through college, and lord knows he got his money and his dad got his, by working for land-raping exploitative oppressive global evil oil companies! My freaking privilege was sucked right out of Nigeria and Indonesia and Colombia and Venezuela and Ecuador! And yes! That means I have the means and the words and the nerve to say whatever obnoxious thing I please - and otherwise I might not have any of those things. And I like to think that, under an even more extreme dictatorship, I would continue to say whatever I please, and damn the torpedoes. Does this National Review guy think it's impossible that anyone "elite" would make that decision? I suppose every upper class journalist and poet and union organizor and revolutionary and politician that ever got put up against the wall and shot by some military junta was "an unworthy witness" and "trying to lead a life of irresponsible leisure". What the fuck?! What leisure is he talking about?
I guess what pisses me off the most is the complete lack of respect Preston and other journalists have shown for Salam. They show their ignorance and racism but even more than that - a complete lack of imagination that many people decide to stay in a dangerous situation when they don't have to, and that people like Salam write even when writing honestly means they risk death.
I am boiling mad!