July 8th, 2009. The 36th G8 summit has begun in the city of L’Aquila in Italy. Six men stand together, smiling and joking as they wait for their picture to be taken. In just two years and three months, one of them will be dead. Not only will that person be dead, but his death will be the responsibility of at least three of the men standing beside him.
I have always found it fascinating how those who deal in mass death, threat and destruction carry out their activities under a thick cloak of ‘respectability’. Dressed in tailor-made suits and adhering to the highest manners of their respective cultures, they shake hands, laugh and tell stories of their families, their hobbies and their passions. With such ease they do this, even with people they plan to remove from existence with due haste.
The event of the ‘summit’ is one of the strictest spectacles in the world. Every ounce of planning, of manner and appearance is committed to presenting the situation as completely opposite to the truth as possible. This is a meeting between ‘statesmen’ – that ever-present essentialist political form that attempts to imbue mass murderers with ‘respectability’. Beyond all the gloss and the work to associate these people in the ‘public mind’ with the concept of ‘celebrity’* and all the harmlessness that that supposedly entails, the very real end results of their discussions is almost always more theft, more butchery and more destruction.
Due to this veneration of accepted political leaders, it is strange for many to see them reduced to a desperate, panting, sweating, confused mess. To realise that they are no different to anyone else, physically or mentally – with all the hidden fears and self-doubts of the average person and perhaps a great deal more – is a first possible step to revoking the imposition of their sovereignty from one’s mind.
The deaths of Muammar Qadaffi and Saddam Hussein were filmed – much to the protests of leaders of the very states responsible for their deaths. Why? Simply because it shows the world not only the real, gruesome effects of their decisions – but also that these ‘leaders’, these statist agents of heteronomy, are just as weak and fragile as anyone else.
*Indeed, it would seem that in recent times, just as much – if not more – discussion has been made of the ‘style’ of clothing Qadaffi wore at summits, than of his own record of barbarism.