quinta-feira, 5 de janeiro de 2006

Peter Brooks: «Bush vs Camus»

Camus wrote The Fall during the Algerian War, when France was beginning to face a crisis of conscience over torture similar to what the United States faces now. Indeed, clear parallels exist between the French experience in Algeria and the American experience in Iraq: Like the war on terror, much of the French effort to pacify and retain Algeria was waged against a nearly invisible enemy that tended to melt into the landscape. Intelligence-gathering was crucial—and that led to torture.
An American observer of the various forms of detainee abuse that have been exposed in the past years—including secret prisons, "renditions" to foreign regimes that practice torture, and the use of "enhanced interrogation" techniques, such as water-boarding—could of course take Clamence's position: Anyone subjected to torture clearly deserves it. Such a person must be guilty. It is morally unacceptable to believe that anyone treated in such a way could be innocent.
While our administration may not be guilty of confining its prisoners in cells as horrible as the little-ease (though reports suggest that some approach that condition), the cells it has built at Guantanamo approximate the name for the deepest and dankest of prisons in medieval castles: les oubliettes, the places you threw people and forgot about them. These were the prisoners with no chance of ever leaving their cells; people with no prospect of legal process ahead of them, people without access to trial or appeal or the simplest forms of justice. In Guantanamo—a location chosen deliberately in order to put detainees beyond the reach of the law—our administration has created such a place of oblivion and fought all efforts to open it up to legal process. We don't yet know what other secret sites may harbor prisoners in still more unspeakable conditions.
Camus was himself famously unable to take a clear stance on the French colonial war in Algeria—he was, after all, French and Algerian. The Fall is, among other things, an expression of anguish about the difficulty of making any claim to innocence. The repulsive figure of Clamence wants to implicate the whole of humanity in his own guilt—just as President Bush seems to want to implicate the American people in the decision to torture. Camus offers no clear or satisfying message in response to Clamence's insinuating vileness.
As for Camus, earlier on, in an essay published in the newspaper Combat in 1946, he summed up the moral ground he was seeking in an arresting phrase: "Ni victimes ni bourreaux." In Dwight MacDonald's translation for the review Politics, Camus' phrase is "neither victims nor executioners." The word bourreau means torturer as well as executioner. "Neither victims nor torturers." From the one—from the legitimate American sense of victimization following 9/11—we have passed to the other. To the complicity with torture proposed by Bush and his rationalizers, there seems to me only one response: an absolute "no."(...)»
(Peter Brooks na Slate; ler na íntegra.)

2 comentários :

Anónimo disse...

De facto é um fenómeno preocupante este de, de forma cobarde, associar toda uma nação a um contexto agressor.
Adormecidos por um sentido de justiça infantil, os norte americanos não conseguem conceber a violação dos direitos humanos que representa a tortura de indíviduos, mesmo sendo estes culpados.
No entanto ninguém nasceu ontem, e sabemos que nem todos os prisioneiros não foram escrupulosamente investigados e com a agravante de estes desconhecerem as acusações, estão sem dúvida também a ser torturados inocentes.
Mas a culpa de uns claramente não pode desculpar a culpa dos que torturam na procura da verdade, sendo que já tivemos provas documentais de que a tortura serve também para satisfazer os caprichos masoquistas de alguns.

Jack London disse...

Embora saiba que este é um blog de laicidade, sentimento que é também o de quem escreve este comentário, relativamente a W., apenas me lembro das seguintes palavras da Bíblia: «perdoa-lhes Senhores, que eles não sabem o que dizem».