Thursday, 5 April 2007

Hostages freed & hypocrisy

So the hostage crisis has been resolved and the sailors and marines are on their way back to Britain.

On a human basis the only appropriate response is a sigh of relief for the families of the young service people involved. And on a political basis, a sigh of relief that an escalation of the war in the Middle East has been averted. Or at least postponed for the moment. Looking at the papers today, nobody seems sure if this is a triumph of British softly-softly diplomacy or a triumph of Iranian PR. I don't really care, either way it is a retreat from a dangerous game of brinkmanship by two regimes that don't speak for me.

Curiously, much has been made by The Sun of the fact that the hostages were released not in their service uniforms but in ill-fitting suits. This hardly seems like inhumane and humiliating treatment. After all the Iranians could have used orange jump-suits and shackled and hooded the prisoners. Or kept them in lock-down for twenty-two hours a day. Or imprisoned them for five years without trial or charge. All these points are made (with rather more humour) by Terry Jones in The Guardian.

To get all biblical on this one: Before the West can get sanctimonious about the capture and treatment of the hostages it needs to take the splinter out of its own eye - the splinter labelled Guantanamo.

No comments: