Little Brother at work

There is still no word of public protest over the appalling crime this week in Baghdad by a suicide bomber, whose deadly deed killed dozens of small children in Iraq’s capital. This is hardly the first time that hypocritical silence and selective indignation has enveloped the global activist class. The supposedly sensitive European intelligentsia did not convene mass demonstrations when Kurds and other dissenters were slaughtered by Saddam’s regime, nor against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, nor against Balkan war crimes. Western activists also said nothing on behalf of Israeli children murdered in the past. And there were no demonstrations or direct action, in solidarity with thousands of other civilians – including countless children – whose lives have been brutally cut short by civil war, tyrannical regimes, illness, poverty, hunger or polluted water. It seems we are not bothered by specific actions, crimes or injustices; we (that is, the global progressive movement) are only bothered by those actions from American, British or other supposed imperialists. Otherwise, silence becomes a refuge for our hypocrisy. Our conscience separates the perpetrators as well as the victims. So murderers are «fighters,» terrorists are «extreme elements,» and criminals are «suspect circles» or «provocateurs.» Big Brother may keep growing in the name of the «war against the enemies of civilization.» But we should be more worried about Little Brother – small in terms of soul and sensitivity – who refuses to see that angels do not differ in terms of origin, nationality, religion, skin color or social class. This (rightly) makes him angry about Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib; but he obviously had other concerns during the era of the gulags, or in all the various hells around today’s world.

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.