Friday, April 13, 2007

"Where were you during the war, Daddy?"

Nora Ephron hardly needs any introduction, but if there is difficulty in placing her, her bio is that she is the author of "Crazy Salad," "Heartburn," "Wallflower at the Orgy," and "Scribble Scribble." She has received Academy Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay for "When Harry Met Sally," "Silkwood," and "Sleepless in Seattle," which she also directed. Her book "I Feel Bad About My Neck," will be published by Knopf in August. She lives in New York City with her husband, writer Nicholas Pileggi.

Ephron, writing on The Huffington Post, raises a pointed question about Gitmo and everything associated with it:

"One of the things I've always wondered about was what it was like to live in the United States during World War II. It was one of the things I'd have most wanted to ask my parents about if they were still alive -- my own particular "What did you do in the war, Daddy?" question.

I don't literally want to know what my parents did during the war. I know. My father had flat feet, so he was 4F. But what I truly wondered was what they knew and when they knew it -- about the Holocaust, for example, and the Japanese internment camps. It was a complete mystery to me. I read a half-dozen books on the subject of the United States and the Holocaust and I could never imagine how so many people could have known what they knew and done nothing. Did my parents know? Probably they did. Did they do anything? Probably they didn't. And why not?

In any case, I don't much wonder about this any more, because I know the answer. I know because Guantanamo Prison is now more than five years old, five years of our holding and torturing prisoners without bail and without the rights of habeus corpus. Of the 385 men detained at Guantanamo, only ten have been charged. How is this possible? In the United States of America? You can blame Bush/Cheney if you want; you can blame our justice system, which moves sluggishly through the Guantanamo cases, deferring to the legislative branch, which then does nothing. But what about us? What are we doing about Guantanamo? Nothing, just as my parents did nothing about the injustices they knew about. And why not? It's simple. We're too busy."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

not everyone is too busy. but there are no substantial levers of federal power in the hands of ordinary people in the usa. in particular, no citizen initiated referendum. that's why bush's talk about spreading democracy was simply cynical newspeak. you can't spread what you haven't got.

the remaining option is mass public protest. this will only happen when americans identify with the ragheads in gitmo, or never.

mass demonstrations against the vietnam war only happened after the supreme court made the sons of the middle class eligible for service there. suddenly, it was an unjust war.

it's nice of ephron to feel bad about gitmo, but pretending the average american should give a damn about foreigners is somewhat hypocritical, for they seldom have.