Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Foreign and Domestic: The Blog Post

Watch "Foreign and Domestic: The Movie"

"I read, some days past, that the man who ordered the erection of the almost infinite wall of China was that first Emperor, Shih Huang Ti, who also decreed that all books prior to him be burned. That these two vast operations—the five to six hundred leagues of stone opposing the barbarians, the rigorous abolition of history, that is, of the past—should originate in one person and be in some way his attributes inexplicably satisfied and, at the same time, disturbed me." (Borges, "The Wall and the Books")

This post is not meant to be anti-American. The relevant Danish policies, in their necessarily minor way, are subject to the same criticism (Denmark is a member of the Coalition of the Willing, after all). Most Western countries, in fact, practice some version of the injustices that are lately outraging me.

The empire is defined, on its frontier, by the War on Terror, principally (or perhaps just most openly) in Iraq and Afghanistan. The existence of "evil doers" is cited to justify the invasion of entire countries, the total subversion of their civil societies. Men and children are gunned down in the street from the sky in broad daylight. "This is Bushmaster Seven, roger. Engage."

The empire is defined, in its cities, by the War on Drugs. Marijuana is illegal, its possession a crime. In the name of this war, the state can search the homes of citizens, break down doors, disrupt families, and coerce citizens into the dangerous position of "informants". Parents and children are roused out of bed in the dead of night and their dogs are shot. "Columbia Police. Search warrant!"

Neither the arrest of an individual for the possession of a joint nor the bombing of a whole population for "harbouring" a criminal is just. The empire, however, claims the right to prosecute these "just" wars. No decent state would do such things.

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