The Idolatry of Assange
20 Monday Aug 2012
For the first time in the history of my facebook, I’ve had to do an actual purge. Oh, I’ve deleted one or two here and there, and watched as others have had to go through the mass delete process: Sheridan and the English Riots stand out as particular prompts, and smugly thought what a progressive bunch of friends I’ve managed to collect, but alas no more can I say that. Currently we are at
seven, eight nine and counting, all of whom I would previously have considered comrades. For as Lenin said
Unfortunately it is still true to say of many of our comrades, ‘scratch a communist and find a philistine (sic)’. Of course, you must scratch the sensitive spot, their mentality as regards women.
Lenin, quoted by Clara Zetkin
The extent of the Assange cult is quite unbelievable. Yesterday, he delivered a sermon to the faithful from the impromptu pulpit of the Ecuadorian Embassy, ending with drawing comparisons between his situation and that of Pussy Riot. The Russian performers sentenced were for two years, under a charge based on religious hatred, for performing a – less than traditional – incantation to Mary in an Orthodox church, requesting her help to undermine the Patriach(y), while the patriarch of Wikileaks, interviews important men on the Kremlin funded news channel then requests help from secular authorities to undermine the rule of secular law for a crime based on gender hatred.
All the while Wikileaks main source, Manning, has languished for over two years in gaol. There is strong evidence that Manning may well be transgender, yet it is scantily reported out-with the LGBT press, and glossed over by Wikileaks itself, preferring the narrative told of a fine upstanding military man, with all of the authority which that commands, rather than a battle scarred transwoman. Whether reporting a rape, reporting the abuse of state power, or reporting on massacres, women are silenced.
The last thing Wikileaks did (but you probably missed it while the international media were fawning over Assange) was to release thousands of emails from Syria. In Syria, women are at the forefront of the uprising. Not only on the streets but through social media – getting the word out about what is happening on the streets. @redrazan is one of the most authoritative tweeters on Syrian issues and is joined by a whole host of other Syrian women who daily produce information about what is going on in the country. But the word of ordinary women is not accorded the same respect unless given the stamp of male authority. Daily they tell us of murders and massacres, while the mainstream press is silent.
“A woman’s voice is a revolution and a man’s silence is a sin”
Slogan of the Syrian Uprising
Female activists in Syria are silenced not only by an international media which pays no attention to the voices of women emerging from the country, but also from the male narrative which is superimposed upon them. When they mask up to avoid detection, arrest and prosecution, an Islamophobic West laps up the stories of conservative Islam that drives the uprising, citing the niqab that many adopt as a revolutionary tool as evidence of its religious character.
The latest gimmick in the cult of Assange is “I am Julian Assange” masks. Like the niqab of the Syrian revolutionaries and the neon balaclavas favoured by Pussy Riot, it is designed to hide the identity of an individual through a common identity; like “We are all Hana Shalabi” it seeks to draw parallels between the situation of an individual and the wider structural issues which have given rise to it. The trope of “I am/we are all…” is rather overdone and I am generally critical of it. I am not Hana Shalabi, I’ve never lived in a country under military occupation, and I’ve never been interned, but at the same time, the situation of Marian Price, interned in a country not long since subject to military occupation, reminds me that the injustice that Shalabi faces is not so far removed from the injustice that people who share my UK citizenship face. But I’m not Julian Assange; I’m never going to be Julian Assange. There is limited room in this world for multi-millionaire playboy jetsetters, and I ain’t going to be joining them. And neither are all the sycophants who slurp at his feet and appropriate his identity. What then is this “I am Julian Assange” trope all about then, really?
It helps us not merely to criticise one group or another, but to understand their interests, actions and thoughts. It is only through understanding this conflict that we can hope to resolve it.
Julian Assange on the Syria Files
Lets follow Assange’s advice. And lets seek to understand the interests, actions and thoughts of the Assange cult and the conflict that it has caused on the left. The question raised, for all the amateur legal eagles seek to obfuscate, is…
“Should the UK authorities ensure that a rape suspect is extradited to another EU country under the terms of a valid warrant”
On the face of it, it is simple – someone is wanted for questioning on a serious charge with sufficient primary evidence to warrant suspicion. So what are the interests, actions and thoughts that suggest otherwise. It arises from the potential – and hypothetical – consequences of that extradition. This conflict arises because there is a group of people who prioritise hypothetical injustice to those accused of rape who talk of the abuse of state and corporate power , over the instigation of justice for victims of rape who talk of the abuse of male power.
Telling secrets is powerful. So powerful that some of those secrets can start revolutions. It is doubtful if the Arab Spring would have kicked off had it not been for the secrets that wikileaks exposed. These revolutions may have been televised, but all with a male gaze. The insolent women who demand justice through viral action, and demand the justice system upholds their right to anti-viral protection are the ones ensuring that revolutions will become far more than just a change of management.