lunes, enero 29, 2007

Inconvenient Truths

Over the weekend, I saw An Inconvenient Truth and Road to Guantanamo. The latter is about a group of young British men (boys, really) of Pakistani origins who, while travelling through Pakistan and Afghanistan post-9/11, were picked up and taken to Guantanamo. It documents their travels, capture and stay at Guantanamo, which was about two years, with no proven reason for detainment, which is the condition under which most detainees were and are held. Truth needs no explanation.

In Truth, it was said that the US beats out all other countries in terms of releasing pollutants into the air. The US is also, of course, the most lax country in the world in instituting regulations and policies on environmental issues. The good news is that many states and cities are taking the initiative in this regard, and New York City is one of them, although some days you wouldn't know it to breath the air here! But what really got me was how quickly the damage is being done. The fact that we could have longer, hotter summers in my lifetime really scares me, as does the fact that my current apartment may soon be underwater along with the whole of lower Manhattan, not to mention the thought that my kids might have to wear gas masks every time they go outside. I KNOW that Con Ed and other energy services, which are ill-equipped to handle even today's demands, are not at all going to be able to handle the future.

I had to keep telling myself that Guantanamo, while largely the truth about the boys' experiences, may have been embellished a little for effect, not that embellishment was needed. I also realize that theirs may not be the worst of the stories that have come from former Guantanamo detainees. Moreover, I know that the US has yet to corner the market on torture and that many countries do worse. I think we all know that the US government ships their terror suspects to the countries that have made torture their chief export.

I don't have the words to express how embarrassing it is for me, as an American, to be associated with the American military and government. I guess Bob Herbert was right in his editorial about how we are not guilty enough, so scratch everything I said about that. It does seem a shame that we so easily go on with our lives when people are being detained and tortured and worse at the hands of our countrymen and women, especially when those men and women run around the world talking about how they are going to set examples for other, less "democratic" folk.

And here comes the outrageous comment: almost every American president has had an attempt on his life. Most countries have coup d'etats in their histories. Why hasn't someone tried to kill Bush, and why hasn't there been some junta or something to overthrow the government? Be assured, if I had the means to do the latter, I would definitely try it. That would be worth going to prison, to save my country from this regime. But spending the rest of my life in jail for offing white trash, only to leave another in his place? No way.

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