Sunday, August 17, 2008

Calling A Spade A Spade

I have a bit of a 'thing' about something ... okay, in all honesty, I probably have a bit of a 'thing' about a few things but one thing that really irks me is the indiscriminate use of the word "evil".

It's not that I object to the casual use of the word because of some Pollyanna belief that no person is actually evil; that all men have good to be found in them. Although I might believe that about many of my fellow humans, I have no doubt that evil exists in this world. And that we need not look far to see it. Be it at home or abroad.

No, I object to the casual use of the term because for me it simply serves to downplay what really is evil. Perhaps I give the word a stronger connotation than many. Not merely 'morally wrong' or 'morally objectionable', for me 'evil' is the ultimate antithesis of everything it means to be human ... intentional, callous acts perpetrated on the innocent that are cruel, sickening and disgusting.

And we use the term indiscriminatley, when we apply it merely to things we disagree with or dislike, how will we know and acknowledge true evil when we really see it?

But in the same way as I object to the casual use of the term, I also object to our failure to use it when it really does apply. When it cries out to be uttered.

  • The hanging by his feet and shooting of a 16-year-old boy for the 'crime' of being an apprentice truck driver whose job was to bring humanitarian food shipments to Kandahar
  • The killing of 23 aid workers this year in Afghanistan, an increase from the total of 15 killed in 2007.
  • The targeting of humanitarian workers and non-governmental organizations – all of which are deemed part and parcel of the "foreign invader forces"
  • The use of the mentally challenged, the mentally ill and the homeless as 'suicide bombers'
To me, these examples personifiy evil.

And should you have any doubt, consider this - an open letter addressed to "the Canadian people" imploring us to convince our government to pull out of Afghanistan or face more attacks like the one that killed two Canadian aid workers last week. Because although the Taliban doesn't want to kill Canadians, they have no choice as long as Canada continues following the "American'' agenda.

And should you still harbour some small doubt, consider the allegation that Canada has "sacrificed'' our national and international self-respect by not following a "neutral agenda.''

"Neutral agenda"? Was there really anything "neutral" about Sept. 11, 2001? The death toll from New York was 2,057 people while a further 189 people died when a plane was flown into the Pentagon and another 44 were killed when a hijacked jet crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. Citizens from 90 different countries. Fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and children from around the world. Including 24 Canadians.

MAYBE it’s because we’ve called them "insurgents" instead of "terrorists" once too often. Or maybe it’s because we get our news in high definition – with every shade and hue in vivid contrast – that we no longer recognize black-and-white truths when we see them.

What is going on in Afghanistan today is a battle between right and wrong. This does not mean that "we" are all angels, and "they" are all monsters. But at bottom, Canada and its partners’ intentions in Afghanistan are good.

The Taliban’s are not. Their deeds are evil, and this is not just a matter of cultural perspective...

Isn't it about time we all started calling a spade a spade?

1 comment:

doorkeeper said...

Good post. I agree whole-heartedly. BTW, have you read "The Kite Runner" yet? I recommend it.