'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Bagram, Afghanistan, 2002 

There's a poem in the current New Yorker about one of the two totally innocent guys who were beaten to death by US forces at the Bagram Collection Point in 2002: (transcribed here)

Bagram, Afghanistan, 2002

The interrogation celebrated spikes and cuffs,
the inky blue that invades a blackened eye,
the eyeball that bulges like a radish,
that incarnadine only blood can create.
They asked the young taxi driver questions
he could not answer, and they beat his legs
until he could no longer kneel on their command.
They chained him by the wrists to the ceiling.
They may have admired the human form then,
stretched out, for the soldiers were also athletes
trained to shout in unison and be buddies.
By the time his legs had stiffened, a blood clot
was already tracing a vein into his heart.
They said he was dead when they cut him down,
but he was dead the day they arrested him.
Are they feeding the prisoners gravel now?
To make them skillful orators as they confess?
Here stands Demosthenes in the military court,
unable to form the words "my country". What
shall we do, we who are at war but are asked
to pretend we are not? Do we need another
naïve apologist to crown us with clichés
that would turn the grass brown above a grave?
They called the carcass Mr. Dilawar. They
believed he was innocent. Their orders were
to step on the necks of the prisoners, to
break their will, to make them say something
in a sleep-deprived delirium of fractures,
rising to the occasion, or, like Mr. Dilawar,
leaving his few possessions and his body.

- Marvin Bell, The New Yorker, 8 Jan. 2007

I posted about this story three years ago when little was known. A year later the New York Times published a graphic account of the deaths of Dilawar and Habibullah, a commendable piece of journalism which should be read by all those who view Afghanistan as a good war. The Times story is currently available on Information Clearing House.

Labels: , ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?