[Reader-list] 9/11 versus 12/13

Shuddhabrata Sengupta shuddha at sarai.net
Fri Dec 21 02:11:09 IST 2001

Dear Readers,

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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