[ExI] Programme Riz Khan: Guantanamo: The detainees

Amara Graps amara at amara.com
Thu Jun 19 16:44:53 UTC 2008

Stefano Vaj:
>As some kind of escape goats, or rather sacrificial lambs? :-)

You ask that with a smile, jokingly, but I would answer that question
with a 'YES', not jokingly.

Also, since the U.S. military was apparently not caring too much who
they picked up as long as the detainee looked the part (dark hair, eyes,
beard), then it was an easy way for a poor tribal Afghan who didn't like
their neighbor to make $5000. One might see the situation as Bush's way
of improving the local Afghan economy. (ahem)

Let's go back in time, and see what Homer might say about revenge-
of those victims and perpetrators ...


 From Amara Graps to extropians at extropy.org
Date: November 21, 2001
Subject: Homerian epics (was: French culture and extropianism)

<begin quote from me>

I think that the complex character Achilles in _the Iliad_, has a large
value to transhumanists because his situations are more similar to what
we are now, and what we will face in the near future. Achilles'
struggles are primarily reflections of his fight with the *beast
within*. It's a confrontation with the tensions within human nature that
lurk in us underneath our civilization's veneer. Achilles withdraws from
his community, a ruinous existence, then wrestles his beast in a more
ruinous way via his vengeance. The reader then see what happens when
vengeance goes too far. When he becomes angry, his anger does not allow
him to accept changes or shifts in attitude, and he embarks upon a
murderous rampage. Yet he undergoes a startling transformation. After he
is wronged and becomes angry, he withdraws from his environment, and,
while alone, realizes that the entire martial system of honor is
bankrupt and based on a lie. Achilles' heroism at his end is quite
different than Odysseus' too: Odysseus regains his kin through the sheer
strength of his spirit and the power of his genius; Achilles loses what
family he had, to claim some new sense of honor well beyond a world that
he wants no part of.

As in most of the Greek classics, the following important ideas are
presented: learning comes through effort, men are social creatures,
human life is tragically short and therefore comes with obligations,
character is a matter of matching words with deeds, religion is separate
from and subordinate to politics, private property should be immune from
government coercion, the truth only emerges through dissent and open
criticism, the most dangerous animal is the beast within us, leaders
ignore the will of the assembly at their peril. In the Iliad, these
ideas are again presented, but more honestly than the other epic, and
without apology and elaboration.

<end quote from me>




Amara Graps, PhD      www.amara.com
Research Scientist, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), Boulder, Colorado

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