What we just witnessed in Boston is an absolute aberration of the political order and–as it has always been the case–it happened with security as the excuse. The day that Bostonians accepted to hide at home from a 19 year old suspect and relinquish the public space to the police may become known to history as the day in which democracy in America entered its final phase. Could one imagine the French police locking down the entire city of Lyon in order to capture a criminal? What was just normalized was a state of siege directly under the nose of approving citizens who celebrated the foundation of arbitrary suppression of public rights. From now on, locking a city is not only acceptable but desirable.
That day, we were made to witness the fact that Americans in fear will do just about anything to protect their flesh and at the most infirm sign of safety will go on to celebrate in pageants of political perversity saluting those who just abused their rights and subverted the political order. At least this time they did not go out blowing up other countries… though we may be speaking too soon. Either way, this was just more of the traditional American trial by mob, which a decade ago brought us Iraq and the mass pouring of French wines into gutters around the country along with the sagacious political operation to re-baptize fried potatoes to disguise their putative ethnicity. While as a matter of fact, the 19 year old on the run was a suspect it was only by an act of sheer grandstanding that the Boston police could claim that justice had been done. In fact, the very declaration that justice had been done was the very act of perverting justice. A lie. In god’s american, policemen and their friends are now prosecution, defense and judge?
So what would be called for in this hour of mayhem? How should Mr. Zarnajew be dealt with? Much in the way that Norway handled the Brevik case and not in the was that the American system handled the Strauss Kahn case. No public showing of the suspect, no walk of shame, no lock down of a city and no ‘usa-usa-usa’ college party in the streets of Watertown. The scenes in Boston were truly nauseating.
Since this should end up in a trial by jury, the jingoism and hysteria disqualify just about anyone with a TV or Internet from adjudicating this case. Not only is Massachusetts no longer a state where this man can receive a fair trial. No longer is the US a place where this man can receive a fair trial. Should we trust any of those in the street waving flags and chanting to treat the case fairly and the evidence objectively? These people have already decided that this man is guilty and no evidence–not a shred–has yet been presented. A bait has been swallowed whole. In fact, the recipe is an important AngloAmerican contribution to justice: due process.
Meanwhile Carmen Ortiz the prosecutor who came under heavy artillery after threatening Aaron Schwartz with 50 years of jail time and ultimately leading him to commit suicide has just showed her face as the force behind the epic Boston salvation. Ortiz who will likely prosecute the case just saved her career by mounting this entire circus and appearing on a press conference to declare guilty the man that she has not yet prosecuted. This woman should be investigated and she should under no circumstances be allowed to prosecute the Zarnajew case. The conflict of interest should be obvious: her legal and political career depends not on a fair trial, not on serving justice but on Zarnajew being guilty. This is precisely what the American legal system has to weed out from the prosecutorial culture, the presumption of guilt. Yet, such a reform in the cultural fiber of the American legal system is virtually unattainable.
A confabulation of media, political cadres and the public has been put in place and justice is again effected with pitchforks. Open any newspaper or news outlet and the cautionary voices are a minuscule minority. The tragedy of all of this is that if the man is indeed guilty, the US will have denied itself the happy conscience of having served justice and if he is innocent it will have added another name to the list of the unjustly punished. Meanwhile, the system will continue to crumble though its final song will come when finally the fat lethargy of the American public realizes that the mob that they joined can just as easily turn on them. . Take a look at Boston and see how nations wilt exactly in the same part of the plant where they had once bloomed.