This is a really graphic video, but I’m posting it because I think there’s a kind of discourse emerging about violence and the way we consume it. Obviously I won’t use this venue go into great detail about violence and Hollywood and what-have-you, but I think that the way we distinguish Hollywood violence with real-life violence is notable, and wasn’t something I thought about actively until the video of Neda from Tehran’s 2009 protests surfaced. It is, in essence, a snuff film (which they all are, I guess). Following, there have been moments since- Khaled Said’s murder, for one, photos of children in hospitals in Bahrain, things that I’m reluctant to surf the net for because of their disturbing content- that ask for a consideration of violence and what it actually means in a popular uprising, in toppling a dictator.
And while this isn’t addressed outright in these graphic firsthand accounts, I think that the discourses of martyrdom that have become so prevalent in the past month or so are really under-addressed when it comes to How Revolution Works. I think, given a predilection for Islamophobia these days, the West (I don’t like that term but I will use it, anyway) tiptoes around this idea of martyrdom because of its (misguided) associations of martyrdom with fundamentalism (and I heard we are a Christian Nation, Deist forefathers be damned and, consarnit, we all know the Only Martyrs Ever were Christian ones! Soooooooooo.), but I think it’s a concept that’s really important in grasping Revolution and How It Happens. While I personally did not lose anyone during the uprising, the mass funerals and wall of martyrs in Tahrir, as well as virtual memorials, i.e. this, come up constantly as actual, human examples of what dictatorship (and U.S complicity. Don’t forget that!) hath wrought, and why it can’t sustain itself.
I am going to write more about this after I finish reading this.