The Dead Can’t Dance And I Refuse To Either Or Why I Insist On Remembering While Others Insist On Drinking To Forget
by Asim Rafiqui
I beg for mercy. Please don’t ask this American to dance. I beg for mercy. Please don’t demand that this American forget. I beg for mercy, please let this American remember. There is still so much more to come. So much more that I will have to remember for future days when I will be told to forget. Please let me sit here….and remember.
We have invaded two nations because we were told that we must. Both illegally and in violation of all known international law.
We have murdered possibly over a million Afghanis and Iraqis and Pakistanis and others in the process. And continue to kill them at will in Afghanistan and Iraq.
We have displaced and dislocated from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan other millions, forever ruining their lives and humanity. And forever consigning them to the void of suspicion, fear and prejudice.
We constructed hundreds of millions of dollars worth of military bases and detention centers in Afghanistan and Iraq. And now use them for ‘forward projection’ in the so-called war against a noun.
We continue to occupy Iraq and Afghanistan and use massive military force to retain our jack boots over their necks while funding and supporting illegal and completely illegitimate governments that we described as ‘democratic’ and ‘parliamentary’.
We have invited private militia and corporate mercerneries to the party and given out contracts worth billions to make it appealing for them.
We have detained innocents, including American citizens, indefinitely and still refuse to give them appropriate justice. President Obama willingly continuing the illegal and unjust policies of his predecessors
We have tortured them relentlessly (oh, sorry, we have enhanced interrogated them!) and strong armed our civilized courts and bureaucratic apparatchiks to justify our actions.
We have renditioned them and sent them off to our ‘allies’ in other parts of the world to be tortured, maimed and killed. And there is no end to this program.
We have illegally eavesdropped on our citizens, violating our own laws in the process. And it continues.
We have sent American men and women into useless wars and watched thousands of them die to cover our lies and greed. And thousands more will die in the coming days.
We have curtailed civil rights and liberties within the USA all in the name of a war against a noun. And there is no turning back.
We have handed over trillions of dollars to the military and to private contractors just as our own economy has gone bankrupt and our citizens are being thrown out of their homes, jobs and futures.
We have handed over trillions of dollars to Wall Street, while the ordinary have been begging for pension handouts and calling it ‘revolutionary’ action. And each time I ask why, I am told that it was the good of the nation. And its security.
We are closing down our schools, reducing our welfare programs, cutting back public and state budgets, taking away what little healthcare we could afford, allowing our infrastructure to rot, corporatizing our congressional and house leadership, inflaming Islamophobia because we have run out of political and public service ideas and all while simultaneously approving more money for security programs, anti-immigration programs, military invasions and wars, and new and improved intelligence programs.
We have been doing this for ten years, and as my nation sinks into economic pointlessness and desperation, I am being told that I should celebrate the killing of a largely if not completely irrelevant ‘Enemy #1′.
I am supposed to forget all this for the sake of a party and a beer. I am supposed to just not ask the hard questions, never look back as Obama so stupidly said Look Forward, Not Backward.
I am supposed to ignore the sheer hideousness of the fact that what actually got this useless trophy took nothing more than a few months of intelligence work (can bribing the Pakistani ISI be considered ‘intelligence work’?), a small commando unit, and a raid in the city of Abbotabad – one of Pakistan’s largest military cantonment cities and less than hour away from its capital Islamabad?
Am I to believe that no one bothered to look inside what must have been the strangest and most conspicuous house in the entire town – 12 foot walls, barbed wire, clandestine comings and goings, high security controls, etc. to see who may be there? A house smack in the center of a major Pakistani military city, under the very nose of Pakistani and American intelligence. Am I to believe that we waged years of drone wars in the mountains, leaving thousands of dead and tens of thousands displaced, while never bothering to look over the walls of our city offices? If not I, then would not the thousands of dead want to know the answer to this question.
Why do I feel that I have just been made a fool of and am now being told to hold the Star Spangled Banner and dance around like a monkey? Why can’t I get over the feeling that I have just been sold a lemon, and the salesman is laughing while counting my cash?
Perhaps it’s just me but I can’t celebrate or wave this flag. I can’t get past the horrors of these preceding years. I can’t stop hearing the echoes of the arrogant lies, nor the screams of the millions of innocent lives lost to pave the road of our righteousness with their blood and souls. I can’t help but lament this fraud, since nothing changes, and all paranoid fantasies of ‘invading demons’ continue as before. More wars, more security, more torture, more fear, mor screaming hysteria about the dangers to ‘our way of life’.
Photographers have photography blogs. I am a photographer but my blog is only superficially about photography and mainly about our modern world and how to understand it. It also is a temporary repository for the progress of my project on India’s pluralist heritage.
The writings here are explorations not expositions, though some may sound like the latter. I am not an expert on anything I speak about, but I am an individual who reads a wide spectrum of literary, historical, and political works and wants to share some of my thoughts and insights.
This is a small personal blog and meant for those who are comfortable exploring uncomfortable ideas and then letting them be. It it not a battle ground, nor an ideological frontier. It is a discussion, not a debate. It is a dialogue, not a diatribe. Though again, some posts will sound like the latter.
It is an individual’s view of his world, and reflects of his belief that to understand our information saturated world and find small sparks of knowledge we have to see the hidden, hear the silenced and read the censored.