Monday, February 12

No Exit

Huis Clos

It seems to us that existentialism is to the meaning of life what goth kids are (used to be?) to high school cafeterias. Jean-Paul Sartre (who was a fan of Fascism of the Left but not of Communism of the Right) partially redeemed that dead end and decidely unromantic school of thought with one of the last lines of his play, Huis Clos (No Exit):
pas besoin de gril: l'enfer, c'est les autres – You don't need red-hot pokers: Hell is — other people!
You see, in the play three people are stuck together in a room that
has no windows, no mirrors, and only one door. Eventually Garcin is joined by a woman (Inès), and then another (Estelle). After their entry, the Valet leaves and the door is shut and locked.

All expect to be tortured, but no torturer arrives. Instead, they realize they are there to torture each other, which they do effectively, by probing each other's sins, desires, and unpleasant memories.

At first, the three see events concerning them that are happening on earth, though they can only observe and listen, but eventually (as their connection to Earth dwindles and the living move on) they are left with only their own thoughts and the company of the other two.
Eventually they and the reader realize that the story is taking placy in hell. The statement about 'hell being other people' was meant to be a damning observation about the human condition but it does stretch the point just a wee bit doesn't it? Although, some people do manage to create hell on earth for millions ...

... stretching the point in a more useful direction we are left with one vision of justice ...

One friend of ethiopundit who suffered greatly under Mengistu's Scientific Socialist variety of Revolutionary Democracy was asked years ago what sort of justice that certain Comrade Chairman deserved. His answer was that Mengistu's only punishment should be to be put on permanent public display.

Seeing him only as an object of curiousity Ethiopians would wonder what kind of human could knowingly cause so much suffering and death. Well today, Mengistu, Ethiopia's former murdering dictator, is living in comfortable exile in Zimbabwe (praying that Mugabe lives forever).

Almost sixteen very long years after his replacement by Ethiopia's current (more public relations minded and practical) murdering dictator, he has been sentenced to life in prison. That life sentence as opposed to a death sentence is supposed to create a distinction or to impress a mark of civilized behavior between Mengistu and his heir Meles.

The story grows more complicated with mendacity. According to the BBC
Ethiopia['s government] is lodging an appeal to demand the death sentence for the country's former ruler Mengistu Haile Mariam and his closest aides.

Mengistu and his associates were found guilty of killing thousands of people by the country's high court during the regime's 17-year rule.
The three judges who handed out the life sentences were divided over the verdict.

The presiding wanted the death penalty but the other two thought life sentences were more appropriate because of the men's health and ages.
There are levels of deceit in this 'news' story that are actually quite transparent to any observer. Take the charge: "Mengistu and his associates were found guilty of killing thousands of people."

Isn't that what Meles is doing right now?

The Ethiopian 'judiciary' has had no complaint for 16 years with: stolen elections, false charges of genocide and treason that carry death sentences against legitimate and peaceful political opponents / journalists / human rights campaigners, tens of thousands of political prisoners in concentration camps, a brutal police state with one of the worst human rights records on earth, and one of the most corrupt governments on earth.

Are observers supposed to believe all of a sudden that the judges in question don't serve at the pleasure of Meles but also don't breathe at the pleasure of Meles? Like 'elections' 'parliament' and the fake Meles Inc. human rights organization (via Seminawork) to counter Amnesty International - all these and other trappings of civilized government are just another game being played that the gullible press accepts unconditionally as it did the supposed withdrawal of Ethiopian soldiers from Somalia.

The government of Meles has a judiciary the same way that Idi Amin, Mao, and Mengistu did. This type of story like the whole fake election is a silly trick to anyone paying even passing attention to how dictatorships work. Especially dictatorships that depend on whatever degree of civilized behavior that they can fake for foreigners who regularly beg and threaten the regime to treat Ethiopians with any degree of decency.

This like all other utterings of the Ethiopian regime on the subject of justice in particular are part of an eventual setup for when the new wave of killings is noticed around the world and the time to sentence the peaceful political opposition comes.

As it has been quite clear to tens of millions of Ethiopians for decades now, the two dictators in question, Mengistu and Meles have far more in common than the matter of which one one sentences the other to prison or death. Justice for all of their victims and for the country of Ethiopia would see Mengistu and his heir together for eternity with no power over innocents but quite definitely with whatever power they can manage to wield over each other.

In a just world, a hundred or so of their ilk from Benito Mussolini to Nicolae Ceauşescu onto Siad Barre would live in a sort of 'Melrose Place' residential complex with only murderous dictators in residence. None could ever leave, it would be a place where no one ages and every day begins only with the possiblity of who could get who else purged before nightfall ... until the same day begins again.