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[Nettime-nl] Torture as pornography
eveline lubbers on Fri, 7 May 2004 13:32:47 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-nl] Torture as pornography

Torture as pornography  

The pictures of American soldiers humiliating Iraqi detainees are 
reminiscent of sadomasochistic porn, says military historian Joanna Bourke. 
And we should not be surprised 

Friday May 7, 2004
The Guardian 

Iraqi detainee: one of the Daily Mirror photographs which shocked the UK 
A woman ties a noose around a naked man's neck and forces him to crawl 
across the floor. Uniformed people strip a group of hooded men, then laboriously 
assemble them into a pyramid. Men are forced to masturbate and simulate fellatio. 
In the past few days, we have all participated in the pornographic gaze. The sight 
of wide-eyed, grinning young men and women posing in front of their stripped and 
degraded captives has proved profoundly shocking. These snapshots tell us more
 than we may perhaps want to know about our society's heart of darkness. 

This festival of violence is highly pornographic. The victims have been reduced 
to exhibitionist objects or anonymous "meat". They either wear hoods, or are 
beheaded by the camera. The people taking the photographs exult in the genitals 
of their victims. There is no moral confusion here: the photographers don't even 
seem aware that they are recording a war crime. There is no suggestion that they 
are documenting anything particularly morally skewed. For the person behind the 
camera, the aesthetic of pornography protects them from blame. 




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