Who will guard the guardians?

Reading Guantanamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Slahi was not as distressing an experience as actually being there might have been, the authors tact saw to that – but it was still pretty tough to realise that behind, or worse, underpinning our seamless rush into the bright future are the dirty, bone-breaking, cursing, unhappy ones given full powers to maltreat.
And the knowledge that one of the drivers is hard-core Christianity doesn’t make it any lighter.
Reading this book so soon after the Paris shootings has corrected my slide into global prejudice about people of the faith of Allah. But equally I have to avoid calling all Americans torturers, world corrupters.
How can we pull the teeth of the carnivores? Do we even want to? A friend of a friend who works for the Security Services (periphery privatised outfit) said “You are innocent, you have no idea what it is like out there. We have to get down and dirty, otherwise they’ll be all over us”.
Anybody who has ever worked in an organisation recognises new-speak; the regulations, the clothing rules, the morale boosting new-speak, the covert rebellions over petty issues etc etc. Everyone knows about the character who is the butt for office jokes, the one who never quite gets it.
But isn’t he, or she, everyman everywoman – the small, nervous, lively animal that is human being? And isn’t it true that Mohamedou Ould Slahi`s great achievement to show the small, nervous, alive human being winning out over the machine people the dead people who try to overlay him?
Winning out do I say? But he is still there. What are we doing about it? And what do we do, English fair play people, whose government was surely complicit; Cyprus, Jordan? Do we wait for them to come for us? Do we get ready now for some camp somewhere down the line? Or do we, as the French say, descendre dans la rue, go out and meet them head on.


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