Friday, September 02, 2005

Neither Victims Nor Executioners
The horrific descent into Civil War in Iraq and the spin-off in terms of terrorism has resulted in increasing moral pressure on the anti-war movement to take sides, either by supporting the Occupation of Iraq by Britain and the U.S. or by supporting the "insurgents". The insurgents have even been equated with the anti-nazi resistance in wartime Europe by some sections of the left. There are occasions when it is right to take sides, and there are times when taking sides means supporting the unacceptable. Taking sides in this conflict is presents us with the same false choice that Albert Camus discussed in Neither Victims Nor Executioners when it was first published in 1946 after the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So it is good to see that a new edition of Camus's essay has just been published by Ourside (see the review by the Stet Press).
By refusing to support those who use terror on an idustrial scale to enforce the occupation, and by refusing to support those who use mass murder and individual acts of terror in an attempt to re-establish a tyrannical regime, we refuse to legitimise violence. By refusing to accept false choices and by increasing our opposition to the war and occupation we take sides with the ordinary people of Iraq.

If you want to read the text online it is available on the Peace Pledge Union website. Although time occasionally makes the language seem slightly dated, the relevance of the argument remains as strong and compelling as ever.