Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Letting it go

If you are looking for peace and understanding you had better visit another blog today because I am having a little clearing out of cobwebs right now. I have seriously had a gutsfull of other people's crap and today is my turn to have a rant.

If there's one thing reading blogs revolving around Iraq can teach, it's how demanding and self-centered humanity is. When those first few blogs following Salam and Raed's intermediary foray began leaking out of Iraq, despite circumstance there was a general air of elation, and hope, and perhaps even faith. It soon turned sour for me. I read and watched the blogs and commenters and more often then not left the page feeling appalled. How selfish the audience was, how "me, me, me". "Give us comments!!!" "give us rights" "give us freedom" the largely western audience seemed to clamour. The irony being, a predominantly western audience's chance at public speaking was being hosted by other people who had lived under dictatorship for decades and whose country was currently occupied and under fire. Commenters became parasites and more often then not ineloquent ones - who'd have thought those western commenters issued from democratic regions. Worse was to come.

If you've lived through any politically oppressive regime, you need time out from other politically oppressive regimes. Be the regime on whatever scale - national or family. You need a chance to come to grips with the past in a neutral space. A chance to discuss experience, if you chose to, without a cacophony of crows squawking "ours! ours! Believe in our system now". It sickened me, it really did. The few who risked describing what they actually saw or felt, stark reality and all, were largely reviled by a foreign audience who didn't and couldn't understand that their own leaders actions are causing loss of life, limb and dignity and have opened a window of opportunity for all diabolical means and ends. And so the few who did not describe so graphically their surroundings almost became beholden to a new regime - a regime in which one must never express pain but only satiate ones audience with hope. A regime in which one could agree with ones audience but not guide it. Not once, did I see one of those daubed "optimist" defend another human being defiled with the rudest most abysmal and petulant commentary I have ever seen anywhere on the web. Not once. And in a sense, it was like Saddam all over again. Instead of having an opportunity to recuperate, spiritually, in a neutral virtual sphere away from horrific reality, bloggers were catapulted into yet another regime demanding unswerving allegiance to it's new doctrine.

And this reverberated throughout other media. Case in point - elections. For the first time in decades voting in Iraq was not compulsory. Under Saddam, not only did everyone have to vote for Saddam - everyone had to vote fullstop. The alternative being viewed with an eye to treason and subsequent punishment. People had to vote for a system they didn't necessarily believe in. And yet when finally that system came to an end, and people supposedly had choice, people were again ridiculed and reviled for choosing to voice dissatisfaction with a system they did not trust. What was so bad about saying "I don't believe this election is legitimate and this is why I'm not going to vote". I mean, wouldn't that sound like a perfectly logical statement to make in a system where people are supposed to be able to speak freely?

You would not believe the kind of crap that has turned up in comments in some places. I don't care who spins it, or who they think they are getting at - it's just plain sick. And the sickest part of all is that when presented by their illness few are willing to take responsibility for it. I tried it once. I had just had an absolute 'nough. A comment showed up from a known source who'd emailed me before, so I forwarded it to his inbox, with brief statement of dissatisfaction attached. I also forwarded him one or two other randomly selected pieces of crap from that days deluge. He didn't want to know or hear. He could not accept that his narky snideness compared to all the other arseholes, be they who they may. He totally went ape. Which is ironic really, seeing as his was the first piece of shit for the day and set the tone for all that followed. God knows whose blog he thought he was commenting on - maybe he just didn't get that there he is on his comfy wellpadded arse with wireless 24hr hookup giving shit to other people living in a city with it's infrastructure in disrepair, approximately 8 hours electricity a day and surrounded by madness. Because war is a madness. Violent, extreme, surreal and mundanely hellish. And there he sat, a snarky little well-heeled New Yorker taking potshots at someone living in a war zone. What an arse.

So seeing as this whole blog thing is supposed to be about reality - that's it for you. It is just as horrid as any other reality. People are dickheads, people play shitty little games, and people- though this is supposed to be an arena for debate we can't have elsewhere - are actually unwilling to hear another's views. I've seen the loudest and brashest declarations completely go into denial when someone returns it or calls them on their pontificating. It's all very well to make provocative statements and bollock on about democracy - but what's the point when you can't take criticism in return? Because most right wing American bloggers can't take criticism in return for that they deal. And that's what makes them so predictably run of the mill drearily dull. I mean seriously lacking in even humour. Oh sure they can laugh - at their own jokes, so long as they're making fun of someone or something else. But at themselves? No way. Too puffed up with ego.

Further, there is a school of thought among certain minority ideologues that picking fights and stirring up shit helps "recruit" people to "the cause". We are well aware of this and it sucks. You are doing more damage then good, and if you don't watch your back one day it's going to backfire on you.

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