Friday, February 04, 2005

Dirty Harry and Geneva Convention


This article in Wired reminds me of the editorials in Tehran's right-wing newspaper Keyhan, and its justifications for whatever the Islamic government does in the name of a set of "values" (supposedly more important than human beings.) The article in Wired refers to Dirty Harry and other "ass-kickers" in Hollywood movies to justify torture and other unlawful acts against Geneva convention. According to him these actions are justifiable as long as they are done by the "good guys." It reminds me of the Shah, Khomeini, and the others who justified their actions with the exactly similar kind of reasoning. The one in power never considers himself a bad guy. Of course he is the "good guy" of the story, and of course what he does is for the benefit of people and for their own good: that is why whatever crime he commits is justifiable by his own reasoning.

The article is one of the many examples I see everywhere in the US media these days showing how the extreme-Right thinks in this country. Another example is the Fox channel's 24 (with the Iranian actress Shohreh Aghdashloo acting in it as an Iranian terrorist.) In a very Dirty-Harry-style "24" justifies torture as the only way of stopping terrorism. It is ironic that the same people trying to hijack ideas like "freedom" and "democracy" are the ones who justify torture and violation of human rights. They are the same people who make fun of Geneva convention, the UN and its most precious achievment, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Unfortunately this people are very successful with their show. Their ethical and political view is shaping people's mind here by replacing the reality with Hollywood movies and TV shows.


  1. I remember somebody telling me after 9/11 that we didnt need critical theory anymore because all the crap is out in the open now and no one even bothers to hide it. Who needs marcuse or an adorno to tell us about the fascism that underlys our society when fascists dont even have to hide anymore. This person who wrote this article you posted to shamelessly talks about how some societies "should be viewed as something akin to minors" and need "supervision" by others (read: the U.S.). We are back to the racist language of colonialism and hardly anyone blinks.

  2. "No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as from our own, therefore, we are saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness."

    Reinhold NiebuhrWho gets to choose who is the good guy? Made me think of this quote which I was reading today.