Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Lesser Evil Again?

"Human rights activists say that systematic police brutality is part of the Egyptian security apparatus, and has been on the rise. Torture became widespread in the early 1990s, but was focused on Islamist militants and their families. More recently, though, non-political detainees have also begun to report being tortured as police seek to extract confessions in criminal cases. Activists were enraged last week when an Interior ministry official in an interview to the daily Masri El Youm newspaper blamed independent media for exaggerating torture issues admitting that "the percentage of torture in Egypt over the past few months has been 5 out of 1000. According to the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR), torture was found to be even more widespread in criminal cases, even during simplest interrogations over crimes such as theft and fraud. "Police brutality is systematic and widespread," says Hafez Abu Saeda, head of EOHR. "

There are two things in the preceding paragraph that bothered me. First the "militants" qualifier and secondly the "5 out of" vs. "more widespread" construct. I think the problem I am having is the gradual acceptability of and to this crap that I have noticed. No labelling or relation in any way modifies the fact that we are talking about torture. Also, 5 is an unacceptable number of people tortured. Additional victims, although necessary for Justice, should not be required for a sense of outrage to manifest. If you are sitting there weighing the pros and cons of this situation in order to better judge how you should feel, you are letting the powers that be manipulate you.
"The purpose of torture is torture" - Orwell
"...and that purpose is wrong!" -the Human Soul

There is no need to debate the degrees of evil. There is no amount, no increment of evil small enough that it gains a positive value. Yet more and more we see these created comparisons promoted as logical counter points. If you must compare atrocity to lesser or greater atrocity to justify your actions, then nothing will ever justify what you have done. Sorry if you find that offensive or uncomfortable. You really should be offended by yourself and I do not think you have the right to feel comfortable about that.

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