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Petition to Asma al-Assad (TRIGGER WARNING)

MC's picture

During my daily perusal of feminist blogs, I came across this on Feministing. The wives of the British and German ambassadors to the UN produced  a video calling out Asma al-Assad, wife of Syrian president Bashar Assad, and encouraging her to speak out against her husband's actions in Syria. I am linking to the video instead of directly posting it  because of trigger warnings for gore, specifically injured and dead children. This video brings several conversations we have had in class to mind, including at what point are we allowed to involve ourselves in communities that are not our own (specifically white upper-class Americans in impoverished non-American communities, but I feel as though this still fits the bill) and what responsibilities does the wife of a powerful government official have to the community. 

This video was very difficult to watch, because while the post I found it on said there was gore, there was no mention of how much gore. In this day and age it is it is very easy to find extremely graphic displays of violence on the news, and while I think that as a whole the public has been desensitized to it, extreme violence towards children is rarely shown. The combination of this violence and the message (which is always directly addressing Asma al-Assad), is borderline overwhelming to me. While on the one hand I approve of how these women are trying to speak out against what they think is wrong and are trying to hold another woman in a similar situation accountable as well, I still feel uncomfortable with the precise way they are doing it and cannot divorce who they are from their message. To be revolutionary you need to shake things up, but is this the way to do it? I know we've also discussed in class (spefically, I believe, in relation to the Pussy Riot video) at what point does revolution just become violence and propaganda/activism cross the line and manipulate the viewer in unacceptable ways(Perhaps that is to say the privacy and right to control and protect one's own emotional state? ). What, precisely, is unacceptable? What are we allowed and not allowed to publicly show, and what does that mean?