Monday, December 17, 2012

Human Rights

Went to the Royal Ontario Museum yesterday. Up in the Institute for Contemporary Culture room there's an exhibit documenting the human rights crimes of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

A big part of the exhibit are the ID photos of new arrivals to the S-21 Prison. We read the bios of four of the images, which was possible because they were among the few who could be identified. The Cambodian government is trying to identify all the people in the photographs in an attempt to undo the dehumanization of the Khmer Rouge's victims. A lot of the pictures are of children, which this insane regime somehow decided were "counter-revolutionaries" or ideological enemies of some sort. You can read in their eyes their complete lack of comprehension of their circumstances. You can also see the fear.

Among the quotes of the Khmer Rouge government on display is "Destroying you is no loss. Preserving you is no gain." Ah yes! Some witless fanatic's attempt to be profound. A society of equally worthless nothings.

But the fear, confusion and powerlessness of these tens of thousands of people was a product of the dehumanization of all torturing regimes. It's the growing and growing of disdain for the rights and dignity that should be seen as the birthright of all of us. It's why I get so disgusted and enraged with the fearful (often racist) cretins who cheer and cackle over the torture practiced by the western capitalist governments. It's a monstrous genie, and once it's out of the bottle there's no telling what horrors it will bring.

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