by Guy Colwell
(A painting depicting the abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq)
This painting has stirred the emotions of a few people to the point where they attacked the San Francisco gallery that displayed this painting and Lori Haigh the gallery owner. <see story here>
Ironically the attackers against the gallery mimicked a similar kind of hate and violence that the painting attempts to illustrate. In spite of the attackers intentions to censor the gallery, their crime has spurred the interests of the press, and has caused a worldwide exposure of the painting. No doubt, not only the value of the painting will dramatically increase, but people will remember it for ages to come (emotional artistic expression, regardless of how good or bad, affects art in this very way). This painting will live in history.
Yes this painting depicts a very dark period of the United States, but it does not reflect the feelings of most Americans. It does, however, depict the actions of some Americans. The behavior of the abusers of the Abu Ghraib prison stem from the illegal actions coming from the Bush administration. So if any American objects to this painting as dishonoring and besmirching the United States, consider the source of the dishonor. Forevermore, this painting will trigger memories of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and a few other bad apples.
So instead of attacking the symbolic representation of this painting, or the people who display it, why not take action against the few people who hold responsibility for the abuse at Abu Ghraib prison (and other US controlled prisons around the world), namely the people of the Bush administration? And as a lesson to those who do get convicted, maybe we should put them in Abu Ghraib prison using the very same "interrogation" techniques approved by this Bush administration. After urinating and defecating on their naked bodies, making fun of their tiny genitals, forcing them to keep awake, binding their bodies and covering their heads, dunking them in freezing water, threatening them with attack dogs, beating them with whips, stomping on their bodies, kicking their genitals, and anal raping them with a stick, all the while assuring them that this is not torture, then ask them if they still think this kind of interrogation honors the Geneva convention.
How dare the incompetent and willful members of this Bush/Cheney Administration humiliate our nation and our people in the eyes of the world and in the conscience of our own people. How dare they subject us to such dishonor and disgrace. How dare they drag the good name of the United States of America through the mud of Saddam Hussein's torture prison.
--Al Gore (Speech on May 26, 2004)