Thursday, March 15, 2012

as bashar al-assad slaughters his people

This is one take on the Assad Family E-Mails that are circulating:

"That evil is banal is a cliché. But normally great evil, country-shattering evil, does not reveal its banality until after its destruction, until its leaders reach trial or its henchmen write their autobiographies. Discovering, even as he murders his own people, that Assad is an ordinary, perhaps not that bright, human being, makes the slaughter even worse. It would be much nicer to think that murderers are not like us."

I think what we can learn is not that Assad is "ordinary" as he murders his own people.

It's that for a man like Assad, as is the case of other despotic Middle Eastern leaders, murdering your own people is ordinary and absolutely nothing that ought to distract one from Harry Potter videos for the kids, a new chandelier from Paris or some jewel encrusted designer high heels for the wife.

I take exception to the suggestion that he is "like us". Really?

There are many people who quietly choose the non evil options every day. They decline the dicatorship, the robbery, the rape, the murder, the theft, the insults and the cruelty. Many pay with their lives. 

That is the extraordinary reality of ordinary people.