[Reader-list] 9/11 versus 12/13
shuddha at sarai.net
Fri Dec 21 02:11:09 IST 2001
Anyone who watched Television in India last night would have seen the
nauseating spectacle of a televised confession (with the police discreetly
present in the margins of the frame in one channel's footage) by a man who is
being called Mohammad Afzal. He spoke in a kashmiri accent, and spoke at
length, unhesitatingly describing the details of the "operation" of the
attack on the parliament.
Some uncomfortable questions arise from watching this stomach churning
footage. Why must someone be asked to go through the excercise of revealing
details about their involvement in fa crime in full glare of the media.
Let us suppose that this performative set of moments was genuine, and an
admission of the truth - in that case, is there no obligation on the part of
media to protect the identity of such a person (at least in some form - by
using masks, disguising his voice, or bluring the image ) - does this
revelation not invite immediate assasination bids on him, and on his
immediate relatives. If the confession had to be aired, did it have to have
the pathetic aura of a show trial.
If one remembers the great show trials of nineteen thirties Russia, many
communists condemned themselves to the gulag, with confessions that were
later found to be squad, and even the firing squad, because they laboured
under the illusion that this was the sacrifice that the revolution demanded.
Confessions can be extracted for fundamentally baser motives.
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