Monday, April 30, 2007
This face has haunted me since I first saw it in an odd place -- the front page of the Style section in the Washington Post.
His name is Dilawar and this mugshot was taken in 2002. He was a 22 year young Afghan taxi driver whom U.S. military interrogators mistook to be a member of the Taliban. Was it his beard that fed this false impression? After all, bearded men here in the U.S. have been assumed to be militants or worse.
Look into his eyes. His torturers later learned that he'd never spent a night away from his small village. He probably lived with his extended family and worked hard to help support them. He'd never committed any sort of crime yet he was beaten to death for "being in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Have we Americans totally abandoned our moral compass? Have we lost our grip on humanitarianism or has paranoia put blindfolds on the eyes of those who otherwise would not/could not carry out such atrocities. What sort of message are we sending to our own children, much less the rest of the world?
The story was on the front of the Style section because it was about a documentary made by Alex Gibney, called Taxi to the Dark Side. I can only hope that leadership in the Pentagon and White House will see this film and admit that they, too have much innocent blood on their hands. They may not have personally wielded pipes and chains against human flesh, but they condoned and, indeed, ordered it of others who had to obey them.
It is no wonder that the American people feel ashamed of our leadership and the fact that our reputation as a people has been dragged through bloody mud. As long as we continue to allow such atrocities, we will continue to be abhorred by the rest of humankind.