A Picture of an Execution, From Goya and Without Him

My soldiers and men are not anonymous victims and perpetrators.  They have ideas, names and histories.   That is just, and only, the bits of their life that elude me.  I cannot name my victims and perpetrators for I accept that touchable chunks of their stories have been erased from time, out of mind.

I don’t suppose much, if anything could come of a name.  It’s a contingent fact, a name, that stands behind all our assessments of collective guilt.  It’s our yardstick, a name a history, evidence and fact, to do all the things that we think entail substantive and procedural justice.  But that thing is always lost in the swirl of the decisive moment.  So without such a touchable, pointable thing we assign blame, rightly perhaps, without a correspondingly secure metric.

~ by Faheem Haider on October 3, 2010.

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