Sunday, 15 June 2014

William and Angelina

If we must have celebrities then I suppose I would rather have well-intentioned liberals than vacuous self-obsessed arseholes. In other words bit more Angelina Jolie and a bit less Kim Kardashian.

But I am a little wary of the amount media attention that the newly-created Dame Angelina's campaign against rape in war is getting

Last week an entire edition of that not-usually-known-for-its-crusading-stance-publication, The Evening Standard was given over to publicising the campaign.

Let's get the caveat out of the way first: rape in war is a horrific issue that needs more exposure. But I can't help asking when I see Angelina working away with William Hague, why is it being taken up by Western governments - and why now?

Because rape in war, whilst being something we can all feel  a universal horror and outage about,  is also an issue where we cannot actually point the finger at any specific government. The whole point of rape in war in recent times is that it is the product of those conflicts where government has broken down and society fractured along ethnic or communal lines. Consequently it is pretty easy for governments to ride a moral tide of public outrage and enjoy the satisfying sense of being the 'good guys'.

Contrast this with the silence about some of the other horrific aspects of modern conflicts that are actually happening right now and that governments are  in a position to do something about: Like the use of drones that cause collateral damage to civilian targets, the use of chemical weapons, the trade in (and use of) weapons of torture, or landmines that cause indiscriminate carnage across generations. 

The vested interests of governments and the military industrial complex make it rather harder for them to pose as the good guys when in comes to these immediately fixable problems.

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