Monday, June 12, 2006

P.R. Stunt or Desperation: A False Dichotomy

I am listening to BBC's "World Have Your Say," and I find myself utterly outraged at how the current debate about the suicides at Guantanamo has been framed: "P.R. Stunt" or "Desperate Act." Callers are picking one side of the other. And, the particular framing forces those who want to argue that this is a desperate act to expend energy giving evidence for why this is indeed an act of desperation. Frankly, I don't get this question. It bothers me that those who see this tragedy as a "P.R. Stunt" are therefore unable to still consider this an act of desperation.

If people choose a public way to express their outrage with their detainment and the U.S.'s total disregard of the Geneva Conventions, why does that make it any less of a tragedy or any less an expression of desperation. Taking one's own life is never an easy decision. These men hung themselves, which a particularly painful way to take your life. If all three of them coordinated this effort to gain attention for the abuses at Guantanamo, then this cannot be dismissed cavalierly as a "P.R. Stunt."

I am repulsed by this language, utterly repulsed. This is a tragic event and to lull ourselves by dismissing it as a "mere P.R. stunt" is just plain inhumane.