Jun 13 2012

Destroying the Village in Order to Save It.

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The other day I found myself walking through the UC Berkeley campus.

There’s a whole section near Sather Gate, where most of the student organizations set up tables for providing information. There are also multitudes of people handing out flyers.

An enthusiastic young man approached me with a flyer about an anti-torture event he was involved with. I listend to his pitch. They were setting up a water-boarding demonstration, to begin at noon.

Demonstration as in “we’re going to demonstrate what water-boarding is in order to show people how horrible it is, and why it must be stopped.”

A demonstration demonstration.

He wanted to know if I’d attend.

I told him I’d consider it, but it would depend on whether I was able to accomplish a few other errands, first.

I’m not at all in favor of water-boarding, or any other form of torture, but for some reason, something seemed “off” about this whole endeavor.

In essence, his protest involved water-boarding someone to put a stop to water-boarding.

There are a few problems with this.

1) If you merely “simulate” water-boarding, then everyone knows it’s fake, and it doesn’t really prove your point. All the parties involved will be accused of faking it, and we all know that the volunteer “victim” is in no real danger. After all, this is merely simulation, and how much stock can we put in that, in terms of comparing it to the real thing?

2) On the other hand, if you go for it, and do it for real, then you’re effectively torturing someone, and becoming what you’re trying to put a stop to. It’s like performing vivisections to prevent vivisection. It’s like fucking for chastity.

I don’t see how either of these avenues is particularly effective at making the point that he and his group were trying to make, a point that I wholeheartedly agree with.

I ended up not attending, because I couldn’t resolve this little connundrum, other than to feel uneasy about the whole affair, and how it was destined to inevitably backfire in one or the other way.

This torture shit needs to stop.

I’m just not convinced that this is the way to get that point across.

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