Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Pride, Loss & Despair

By all accounts, pride goes before a fall. How then are the mighty, after they have fallen? Do they, Ozymandias-like, caution those who come after to "look on their works and despair"?
Ozymandias
Art by and @ Viola Fair


Imperial pride is one of the strongest. The British felt they were superior to their subject peoples until the horrors of the two wars overtook them, and humbled them. Imperialism also tends to be racial.

The League of Coloured Peoples, founded in London in 1931 by the Jamaican Harold Moody, used its version of a British identity to seek equal rights for Britons of colour. By invoking an imperial British identity that drew on widely accepted elements of Britishness, namely respectability and imperial pride, the League gained support from black colonials and white English people in its fight for equality. This was true despite the fact that a major element of the League's conception of British identity, racial equality, challenged the dominant idea that ‘true’ Britons were, by definition, white.

The effect of failure on a individual is further magnified by the heights to which he has risen before the fall. How then, must Saddam Hussein feel after his toppling by the Western forces? In his most recent missive to the Western peoples, he sounds defiant, rhetorical, and yet reasoned.

American officials set about making charges or giving the guided media, the Zionist media and its symbols within the authority and outside it a free hand in order to prepare the public mind for the charge.
...
Once more, we say that war is not an ordinary case. Neither is it procedural in the life of nations and peoples. It is a case of unavoidable exception. Evidence based on conclusion is not enough, even if it is solid to make a charge against a given party or several parties, a state or several states to the extent that the one who makes the charge declares war at the party or parties against which charges were made and bears the responsibility of whatever harm might be sustained by his own people and the others including death, the destruction of possessions and the ensuing serious repercussions.


A neutral observer might see this as a defense ploy by a smart person looking to prepare the ground for his public scrutiny. At the same time, though, it seems plausible that he would ask for stronger proof of his alleged crimes than 'evidence based on conclusion.' The war was unjust, in some respects, and possibly flouted the rules of a just war(Grotius' the motivation of the states and the cause involved to judge whether a war was “just” or “unjust.”). The people of Iraq might beg to differ, and raise their voices in a swell so no one might have any doubt of the guilt he owes to his people. A good blog with information, somewhat slanted by partisan views is Blogs Of War. Some data gathered post-war is here. Another blog that has real-time information, some of it, heart-stopping, is 'Back To Iraq 3.0'

A 'spook among shrinks, and earlier a shrink among spooks', Dr Jerold Post analyzed Saddam Hussein for many years. Apparently, .
"During the mother's pregnancy with Saddam Hussein, his father died, and another son died when he was only 12 years old. She both tried to commit suicide and to have an abortion."
"His stepfather was brutal both physically and psychologically," Post says. "His mother's failure to nurture him and his stepfather's abuse deeply wounded his self-esteem. In psychological terms, it is known as "the wounded self".

"Typically, after such traumatic experiences, people can sink into despair and hopelessness. But it can also produce compensatory dreams of glory," Post argues.

Saddam's rise to the top through coups, intrigue and assassination have convinced him he has inherited the same myth-laden mantle of leadership - and that belief has deepened with every layer of sycophantic, frightened followers who have gathered around him.

"It has produced that most dangerous political personality - malignant narcissism," Post says. This particular brand of personality disorder exhibits itself in an extreme lack of empathy for others, paranoia, the absence of conscience and a readiness to use violence to achieve goals. Post believes Bin Laden is suffering from the same malady.

This does not mean that either man is "crazy". Rather, both act with a cool rationality which is primarily limited by the yes-men around them. In his profile of Saddam, Post argues: "While he is psychologically in touch with reality, he is often politically out of touch with reality."


How then would the mind of this 'wounded self' feel now that his greatest fears have come true? Perhaps, Ozymandias-like, he despairs.

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