RAWA's gallery of graphic videos showing the Taliban's violence
October 10, 2001 1:00 PM   Subscribe

RAWA's gallery of graphic videos showing the Taliban's violence Records that detail racial cleansing or life in a prison camp are often criticized because their graphic nature is sensational. Chernenko praised Solzhenitsyn's Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich because it avoids cruelty. The Rape of Nanking is controversial because of its graphic detail. Is it socially irresponsible for the RAWA to release taboo graphic videos or is it a painful truth that should not be affected by de facto censorship?
posted by alex3005 (21 comments total)
it's *supposed* to be upsetting. that's their entire purpose, to make it real.
posted by rebeccablood at 1:12 PM on October 10, 2001

why would it be socially irresponsible?
posted by destro at 1:20 PM on October 10, 2001

It is better that we see and hear the unpleasant truth though it pain us, than be fed convenient, palatable lies that reinforce our prejudices and ignorance.
posted by UncleFes at 1:23 PM on October 10, 2001

I live fairly close to NY City. A guy who did rescue work said that no picture, video or anything could give the true feeling of the horror of WTC. But better to get us close to the horrors of things than to sanitize.
posted by Postroad at 1:25 PM on October 10, 2001

No, it is not socially irresponsible. It's not like they are putting these images out there for entertainment. RAWA is producing these images to illustrate their plight, as proof that their fight against the Taleban is a just one. Sometimes atrocities against humanity are so cruel and unusual that it's important to let people see them in order to believe. You may read that women are shrouded and buried up to their neck in dirt, then pelted with rocks by a fevered crowd of men, but words can not always convey the horror. We (the West), after all, are a culture that craves visual images to convey ideas and information.

While I haven't looked at the videos in the gallery you mentioned, I saw RAWA present it's case at a conference a few years ago. The images I saw in the videos they showed there were astonishing and ghastly and like nothing I had ever seen before. I had read about the Taleban previously, but seeing the horror they were inflicting on the women of Afghanistan was galvanizing. If their goal was monetary support, I gave, if their goal was word of mouth support, I talked to friends and family. And yes, I was spurred to read more about Afghanistan and the Taleban. But the image paved the way.
posted by kittyloop at 1:30 PM on October 10, 2001

After viewing a couple of these vids, I'm not entirely sure we are using enough bombs and missiles over there. We might miss one or two of these evil fucks.
posted by UncleFes at 1:33 PM on October 10, 2001

Censorship is bad, de facto or otherwise. And sanitizing a documentary when you're trying to show the world just how bad things are is counterproductive to say the least.
posted by Potsy at 1:39 PM on October 10, 2001

i don't understand why some of these videos are any worse than capital punishment in the US. is it because we hide our executions and pretend they're sophisticated and clean?
posted by aLienated at 1:40 PM on October 10, 2001

UncleFes, while you're at it, don't forget to do the same in Saudi Arabia.
posted by mmarcos at 1:45 PM on October 10, 2001

...pretend they're sophisticated and clean?

Well, lethal injection *is* pretty clean. No fuss, no muss, just a dead guy on a table.

But seriously, is there anyone that can seriously argue adults shouldn't be viewing the RAWA pics? I mean, geez, talk about misguided paternalism...
posted by aramaic at 1:46 PM on October 10, 2001

Semirelated topic, I don't have post rights--could someone post the latest (and, I think, brilliant) psyops propaganda coming out of Boston? There is an article on Yahoo News about how some of the hijackers spent their last days trolling for prostitutes. That ought to put a bee in the ol' Talibonnet.
posted by Rubicon1 at 1:56 PM on October 10, 2001

The network's taming down of war images is socially iirresponsible because by taming down these images, the network does not accurately portray the realities of war.

Maybe if people saw how cruel war (or capital punishment) actually is, they wouldn't be supporting it.

Or maybe they would decide that it may be grizly, but acceptible.

Either decision is OK, but right now, people can't make that decision because these images are not being transmitted to them at all. That's the whole problem.
posted by Witold at 1:56 PM on October 10, 2001

UncleFes, while you're at it, don't forget to do the same in Saudi Arabia.

You know what? I'm confortable with that. Evil fucks the world over - in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, or even in the good ol' USA - should be dealt with... abruptly.

We certainly can't count on any justice from [insert your particular diety here], since most of the evil fucks in question seemingly have carte blanche from their particular invisible magical supervisor.

So: what I saw in those videos, that was "capital punishment"? Hmmm. They'd exhausted their ten years of appeals, their DNA testing and they had bad lawyers, I guess. Probably mentally retarded to boot.
posted by UncleFes at 2:04 PM on October 10, 2001

Perhaps the argument of shocking violence vs. tamed analysis isn't that of ethics. That generally draws out the "free speech" and "truth is beautiful" personas out of people. How about an argument of effectives as a tool of communication? What is the trade off between openness in a taboo versus paternalistic censorship? What draws the line between a stileproject.com and the ciapropagandaforkids.com? (latter site is theoretical)
posted by alex3005 at 2:39 PM on October 10, 2001

different cultures have different ways of murdering their people. theirs uses a machine gun to the head or a knife to the throat. ours makes use of a tremendous amount of capital and labor. was that your point? you're critical of the lack of an appeals process against the Taliban? start a hippie letter writing campaign, bro. i'm not seeing the difference. we murder as they murder. and sending missiles into another country and killing it's people is terrorism. the US is the most violent terrorist "rogue state" in the world. probably cause of thoughtful and scholarly young gentlemen like yourself. keep it coming.
posted by aLienated at 3:05 PM on October 10, 2001

OK, once again: the answer here is to simply eliminate our unsavory enemies. If we liquidate all of the irritating populations, we'll solve many problems at once:

a) no more poverty, because the poor are all dead
b) no more overcrowding, because half of humanity is gone
c) no more terrorism, because the terrorists and everyone they've ever met are all dead
d) no more bad TV, because any broadcaster I disagree with gets dragged away
e) no more polllution, because the massively reduced weight of humanity will allow the Earth to heal.
f) no more bad remakes of classic films, because anyone that makes one will be executed.
g) no more traffic jams!

Where's the downside? I mean, who can possibly disagree with the idea that everything would be better with fewer people around? No sane individual can disagree with me. The only question is who will strike first. I say, that person is me, and those who support me!

The time is now. Strike while the iron is hot, and liberate humanity from itself!
posted by aramaic at 3:08 PM on October 10, 2001

Jeeeezus . Disturing, eh, wot?

Better not let the Prez and his supporters see these vids.

They'll have those boys with the robes, knives, AKs, and cranes on the very next flight to Texas, there to take up brand spankin' new jobs in the Bureau of Prisons.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 3:16 PM on October 10, 2001


"Disturing" is what the British did to Alan.

"Disturbing" is what happens in Kabul...and Saudi Arabia...and Texas...
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 3:23 PM on October 10, 2001

UncleFes, while you're at it, don't forget to do the same in Saudi Arabia.

And Egypt. And Iran. And Iraq. And Syria. And Yamen. And don't forget Pakistan, the birthplace of Taliban. And... have I forgotten any place?
posted by Rastafari at 3:45 PM on October 10, 2001

So Alienated, I suppose that the instant the United States shot down a Zero during World War II made them a "terrorist state," eh? I mean, let's just ignore the whole Pearl Harbor thing - we should just lay down, say "Hit me again, Ike, and this time put some stank on it!" and let anybody in the world kill as many of our people as they want, right? Heck, that ole Hitler guy was a pretty nice guy, even though he killed all those Jewish people - we should never have done anything to stop him, because THAT would have been wrong. That's exactly what the Russians should have done in the face of Hitler, too - I mean, they shouldn't have been so upset over Panther tanks rolling into town. They should have just gone about their daily business, and not worry about their fellow citizens dieing all around them - can't ever do anything to stop the Germans, because WE'D become terrorists!

Give me a break.
posted by Spirit_VW at 4:02 PM on October 10, 2001

i don't understand why some of these videos are any worse than capital punishment in the US. is it because we hide our executions and pretend they're sophisticated and clean?

I'm with you. There is absolutely no difference between an Afgan man setting his wife on fire for reading a book and a convicted child murderer/rapist being put to death by a lethal injection here in the States.

What a joke.

These videos don't tell us anything we didn't know already know. The Taliban has been slaughtering it's people for a while now, all in the name of misconstrued interpretations of Koran passages.

We should've knocked them out of power a while ago.
posted by dcgartn at 4:40 PM on October 10, 2001

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