There’s a lot happening. The Winter Olympics. Continuing ‘cartoon protests’. New photos from ‘Abu Grhaib’ prison. Minister Cox’s new budget. All big stuff. Some of the fallout from what is happening reverberates only around tiny Bermuda. Some rattles around the globe. Some of it gets some people vexed. Some of it gets people killed. Much of what’s topping the news relates to individual effort. The news about the Olympics tends to focus on what individual earned what medal. The Abu Grhaib pictures show us how individual human beings were humiliated or hurt by other individuals. The budget readout concentrated on what impact there would be on individual pocket books. But tucked away in all this global and local folderol is a tiny little human – though you might find it inhuman – story. The story is so small, that it almost slips right by. In the past week, the global news wires and many globally available newspapers have, in one way or another, carried this snippet within their main story:“The SBS programme said many of the new photos showed Graner having sex with England, the 22-year-old reservist who was jailed for abusing detainees. England said Graner fathered her young son. Those photos were not shown.”[Scotsman] ‘Graner’ is Charles Graner. He is the US Army Reservist pictured smiling and triumphant as he presided over the mishandling of Iraqi prisoners. The US Army court-martialed him and sentenced him to ten years detention. ‘England’ is Lynndie England. She is the young woman Reservist pictured, and probably remembered forever, amongst other things, for holding a leashed Iraqi prisoner. For her part, England was court-martialed and sentenced to three years detention. When she was sentenced, she was pregnant. She claimed – a claim never denied – that the child had been fathered by Graner. The photos of Graner and England having sex are not being shown – so I guess that somewhere, someone is exercising some degree of censorship or editorial control. The news wires – Reuters and AP – are reporting that the US Government does not intend – did not intend – to release the pictures that are now being shown. Clearly, then, someone, somewhere, finds it acceptable to portray some things, but not others. But all of that doesn’t bother me so much. In the end, the growing weight of reality will force all western media to be as sensitive about ‘other’ people’s cares. Western media will learn – is already learning? – to be as sensitive to some other things as it is about England and Graner’s sex tapes and some of the ‘more graphic’ photos. What really bothers and saddens me is that a tiny little baby boy has been born. Graner is said to be his father. England is his mother. These two adult human beings conspired and co-habited. Their separate and combined acts have placed an inhuman weight of history on this brand new baby who has been born with all the individual innocence that comes with every fresh new baby. This tiny little baby will grow up. One day, this innocent child will learn that his conception might have been filmed as part of a ‘dirty movie’. He will learn that his father was jailed for maltreating fellow human beings. That his mother was jailed for mistreating fellow human beings. One day he will see the images that are all so familiar to all of us. He will be much older then. When he learns about his birth and his parents, he will no longer be a fresh human life. When he learns, his slim young shoulders will suddenly feel the weight of an enormous cross of history. He will carry that hard heavy burden for the rest his life.
No one should do that to a child. No one has that right.