Comments: Who's talking now?

I am reminded of a student my husband had in his first-period 10th grade English class, years ago. She was recently arrived from what was then the USSR, and was startled and confused, that first morning, when everyone suddenly jumped up and looked at the flag and recited a statement in unison.

My husband asked her (later and privately) "Don't you pledge allegiance in the Soviet Union?"

The girl shook her head. "It is understood," she replied, solemnly.

Posted by RH Dorsty at October 17, 2003 01:20 PM

I'll spare you the trouble of translating.

The main point in my post was the quotation from The Independent's story, which still has not surfaced in Swedish media, and the quotes from the Geneva convention and mr. Bush himself.

Apart from that, it's not much of a manifesto or anything. I just made one very small, personal comment. Or confession.

25 years ago, during my military service as an interrogator/interpreter, I was given a thorough grounding in the Geneva conventions. There were several good reasons to discuss them in depth at the time. (Yes, we were trained in Russian - the Soviet Union was the main threat at the time.)

The occupation of Iraq and the suffering of the civilians has certainly made me very angry, even outraged (and I've written about it a lot). But as I now looked up the Geneva conventions, to find the exact sections for the post, I started to cry - rather unexpectedly.

It might seem silly to cry over dusty articles and clauses. Still, for me, those conventions do stand for something great: an in fact heroic attempt to bring a little bit of decency, of light, even into that heart of darkness, war.

Adding up the war, the refusal of Bush to support the ICC, and then this flagrant violation of that code of honor you'd think every civilized nation would respect, I just felt:

This is enough. It is now completely beyond what is bearable.
Lascia ch'io pianga - let me cry.
After that; it's time to protest and make ourselves heard, again.

(PS: As for being "most influential Swedish blogger"... ehrm, Bengt is too kind.)

Posted by Jonas at October 17, 2003 06:57 PM

I've been trying for two days to come up with an appropriate response to your remarks, Jonas, and have completely failed.

I do understand your emotions surrounding the original intent of the Geneva Conventions and, more than you will ever know, I mourn my country's failure to live up to those ideals.

From our collaboration with and support of regimes that flout even the most basic tenets of human rights to the way we've encouraged the activities of extremist "revolutionaries" to futher our own (economic) goals, my country has failed to live up to my expectations.

We have, in my opinion, strayed far from the path we should be treading and I only hope that the outrage I see around me will translate into a real and lasting movement in this country to redirect our efforts.

(I do appreciate the translation but I've also bookmarked your site and, as time permits, I do intend to try and read it in the future.)

Posted by Anne at October 20, 2003 10:12 AM