The Hunger Games: When War Goes Too Far
I just want to start out by saying that yes, I am still angry at Gale for the kind of action he wanted to take during the war in Mockingjay. However, I do understand the argument some make that Gale was simply a revolutionary who felt passionately about his cause, I personally feel that he went a bit too far.
What I am trying to think about is where that invisible line lies, the line that on one side represents simply wanting freedom and standing up for what you believe in, and on the other side shows the darker side to revolution and hurting innocent people to get what you want. I personally believe that Gale stepped over that line at many points during Mockingjay. He succumbed to his dark side in his blind desire to be free. This, I understand. However, to kill innocent people to get what you want? I don’t think that’s the kind of action he should have been taking.
When Gale began making weapons that preyed on human weaknesses, I saw a side of him emerge that was ruthless and merciless. He wanted to destroy the enemy so badly that he couldn’t see what I, as a reader, saw: his humanity was slowly ebbing away, his good qualities fading slowly. When he suggested they blow up the mountain and manipulate the escape entrances, I lost respect for him entirely. His desire to win was clouding his judgment, and he couldn’t see the lives he was splitting apart.
But it was when Gale’s bombs began raining down in the Capitol that I became furious. Gale may not have been responsible for them dropping, but he designed them. He was the one who wanted to take that kind of action, and he must be held responsible. Everyone always gets angry with Gale because his bombs killed Prim, but I think that’s just one of the many effects of the horrible thing he did. In fact, what really makes me teary-eyed is thinking of all those other children that died with that bomb, all those other people that were simply obstacles to everyone who wanted to use violence to win.
The problem with Gale is that he really didn’t stop to think about the consequences of each missile he fired. I know that this post makes me seem ignorant about the way war works, and maybe I am. I honestly don’t believe in violence solving problems, and I don’t believe in thinking of people as anything but individuals. We’re all human, and if we stop to clump us all together as the “enemy”, we lose our moral integrity. That’s something that we must hold onto if we want a positive future in this world.
Let’s start there: a heavy, solid absolutely not.
This is a war. I don’t understand this fandom. This is a war. This is a war against an enemy that exacts daily violence against its citizens and has done so for the last 75 years. This is a war that has one stronghold left — one — and it is a military stronghold and if they do not destroy it they will not win this war. More people will die. More families will be torn apart. This is a war. People make terrible decisions and leave it to history to judge them. To posit Gale as somehow immoral in a justifiable act in a war zone, as this fandom likes to do, is absolutely incredulous. Wars have laws. They have morals too, though those seem to be less important. Gale abides both of those. To criticize him from a legal or moral perspective is incorrect.
But enough about the technicalities of these sorts of things. Let’s talk about what you say here about Gale and the bomb, “He was the one who wanted to take that kind of action, and he must be held responsible.” Because you have no idea what Gale wanted in the Capitol. Gale never told Katniss what he wanted to see done, militarily, in the Capitol, and so she doesn’t know and neither do we. For you to assume that he would want to destroy his own medics and Prim is asinine. Designers of military assets are not responsible for the way in which they are used. They have never been responsible, they will never be responsible. Legally, morally, otherwise. No one blames Albert Einstein for having a hand in the creation of atomic weaponry. People think Albert Einstein is pretty fucking cool. This argument makes no sense and fandom should drop it.
I especially object to “He succumbed to his dark side in his blind desire to be free.” His blind desire to be free? How dare you admonish an impoverished and oppressed individual for a desire to be free. The blind desire to be free is not a fault, it is a consequence of his oppression — of everyone’s oppression — under the reign of the Capitol for the last 75 years. Do not, under any circumstances, try to argue that the desire to be freed of daily oppression and poverty is a fault. Do not even try. The blind desire to be free is — if you’d pardon the Enlightenment thinking — a part of the human condition. Whether we are free or not is not the question — the question is if we want it. We want it. You want it, I want it, Gale wants it. And you and I, presumably, are living under far freer circumstances than Gale, who cannot even have an open conversation with his best friend within the fenced-in territory of his District.
I understand that you don’t think violence solve problems; it’s a common position, and one I agree with a lot of the time. But this is political violence, it has a method and a purpose and to discount it is, to me, at baseline misplaced. It’s not thoughtless or random or without consequence. It is aimed at the destruction of a regime that kills and enslaves people and the military installment in District Two — which is supplying the Capitol with weapons if I recall correctly — is absolutely fair game. We can have an argument about calls to surrender if you want, we can have a discussion about Gale’s anger in that scene because he watched his home burn to the ground, but honestly I’d prefer we not. Because the thing about this fandom is that people who posit this argument have not taken the time to consider Gale’s positioning or the strategic implications of what he’s done or how problematic Collins is as presenting his actions as some sort of grievous sin when they are justifiable military actions in a war.
I get that that is how Collins presents it; I get that Katniss is critical of him; I also get that it’s total and utter bullshit and it is not out of line to criticize the text as such, or to take a step back and refuse to agree with its positioning. Because instead of noting that the Capitol exacts daily, institutionalized violence against people, it posits political violence toward liberation as antithetical to justice or a lasting peace, and that is absolutely untrue. And it realigns the moral narrative onto Gale, or at least this fandom seems to think it does, and cuts the Capitol slack. Which is vile and this fandom should be talking about that instead for a change. The Capitol is the enemy here. The Capitol is evil. The Capitol burns people’s lives to the ground for sport, the Capitol takes its victors and turns them into rubble, the Capitol enslaves people, the Capitol works the earth into the ground until the earth collapses in, the Capitol holds people’s bodies in their hands and twists them as they please and cuts out their tongues or worse if they don’t comply and that is evil. And I’d really appreciate people talking about that instead of Gale for once, because Gale fought a war to free himself and his family and Katniss herself, and while I too agree that he reaches a point he never thought he would, you know who else thinks so?
GALE. Who moves to District Two and lives amongst the rubble of his wreckage. He lives in his sins every day, alone, and he made that choice so do not act like he does not understand the consequences of his actions or that he somehow does not think about his actions because I promise you he thinks about them every day. He lives in them. He can’t not.
it’s just a cartoon character calm do-
its just a shade lighter stop being pick-
BRHood: THIS IS WHY WE POINT THIS OUT. THIS RIGHT HERE. THIS IS WHY WE DON’T GIVE SLACK FOR “JUST A SHADE LIGHTER” OR WHATEVER. THERE ARE NO EXCUSES.
THIS DOLL TEST HAS BEEN REPLICATED SO MANY TIMES IN THE PAST TEN YEARS THAT YOU CAN EASILY FIND VIDEOS AND STUDIES ON IT THROUGH GOOGLE. AND IF YOU ASK A LITTLE BLACK CHILD, BLACK BOYS AS WELL, WHICH DOLL IS BETTER/PRETTIER BETWEEN WHITE AND BLACK, THEY WILL PICK THE WHITE ONE. WHEN YOU ASK THEM WHY, LITTLE KIDS BETWEEN THE AGES OF 3-7, THEY WILL SAY BECAUSE BLACK IS UGLY AND BAD AND WHITE IS GOOD AND PRETTY.
THIS IS NOT A RANDOM THING THAT HAPPENS TO MAYBE FIVE CHILDREN OUT O THE MILLIONS OF BLACK CHILDREN IN AMERICA. THIS IS HUGE IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY EVERYWHERE.
AND THERE HAVE BEEN OTHER NON-BLACK POC WHO MIMIC THIS EXPERIMENT USING WHITE DOLLS AND DOLLS THAT REPRESENT THEIR OWN RACE. AND SURPRISE SURPRISE, THE RESULTS ARE SIMILAR. THE ONLY RACE THAT GROWS UP SEEING GOOD REPRESENTATIONS OF THEMSELVES, THE ONLY RACE THAT CAN SEE THEMSELVES AS NOT JUST BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE, BUT GOOD PEOPLE WHO DO GREAT THINGS, THE ONLY RACE WHOSE CHILDREN WOULD PROBABLY PICK THE DOLL THEIR OWN RACE IN THIS TEST IS WHITE PEOPLE.
THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T STOP. THIS IS WHY WON’T STOP. THE SELF HATRED THAT IS SO HEAVY IN POC COMMUNITIES TIES BACK TO THIS. IT’S TAUGHT HERE. IT’S TAUGHT WHEN WE’RE LITTLE AND WE CAN’T UNDERSTAND, BUT WE JUST KNOW THAT WE WERE BORN THE “WRONG” RACE.
THIS IS NOT A JOKE. THIS IS REAL LIFE. IF YOU EXCUSE WHITEWASHING, YOU’RE A HORRIBLE PERSON, A RACIST, AND YOU DON’T DESERVE OUR SYMPATHY, TIME, OR ATTENTION. PERIOD.
"More fetching than a girl with a dragon tattoo has always been a girl with a Penguin Classic. With e-books, you have no idea what anyone is reading. This is an incalculable loss, not just to fleeting crushes but to civilization."
e-books make it so much harder for me to judge people based on what they are reading
technology only makes our lives harder
no it makes it easier
I judge you automatically for reading a fucking e-book
a kindle or an ipad would be nice for pdfs and shit.
anyway, it’s an incalculable loss to something that is as ephemeral as subway crushes. do people still get excited when they see someone reading their favorite book?
I despise e-books for this very reason…you can never tell what people are reading. Plus, the batteries of a book never die.
All you need is light.
Penguin Classics are marvelously sensual and have an erotic mystique about them. I treasure my Penguin Classic Lermontov, and my Iliad, and even my Montaigne, which caused me to lose a treasured beret on a long train ride.
When I leave town, they are traveling with me.
*responding to all of the above comments*
for the record, an hour on the Project Gutenberg website got me several hundred works of classic literature for free, every one of which I carry around with me on my kindle all the time. sorry, I didn’t elect to spend money I don’t have in order to be seen reading. my reading selections are not fashion accessories. fuck conspicuous intellectual consumption.
I sincerely hope none of you who disparage my choice to make a one-time investment in unlimited portable internet access pay upwards of $60/month for a smart phone. I can’t afford that, so I opted for the only mobile internet technology that doesn’t require a significant and perpetual financial commitment.
95% of what’s on my kindle was free. most of that is either classic literature or pdfs of articles from academic journals. again, sorry, I can’t afford to print off the constantly-changing content of my reading for classes, and if you think reading peer-reviewed academic articles is somehow inferior to reading simplified, mass market paperbacks on the same subject, (often out of date compared to journal articles once they’ve even been published) you are sadly mistaken. there is nostalgia and comfort in a bound book, I understand that, and you need to understand that is a luxury.
as far as the “books don’t have batteries” thing…no, they don’t, but unless you only read while outdoors, during fair weather, before sunset, (or by candlelight? what are you, Amish?) you have access to electrical power. I charge my kindle once, for a few hours, every two or three weeks. It’s fallen off the top of a moving car. it’s been stepped on, spilled on, and abused in ways that have destroyed quite a few print books I’ve owned. the thing is every bit as durable as a physical book and battery life has yet to be an issue for me. short of the complete collapse of modern civilization, pdfs and the like are significantly more durable than printed books. every single thing I own could burn to ashes and I’d still have 1000s of books and articles available to me online. moreover, 95% of them are also available freely to everyone else with internet access, which borders on revolutionary. if you know of any other device that has unlimited free wireless please let me know.
if we’re talking about some kind of post-apocalyptic scenario, the only one in which digital books are not more durable, egalitarian, convenient, and cost-efficient, unless your penguin classics are leather-bound and printed on vellum they aren’t going to survive being read much more than 35 times. publishing houses are already trying to incorporate planned obsolescence into digital books because the degree to which they save libraries money is frightening them.
sorry, but something that makes corporations worry because public education is significantly cheaper is not something I care to let people bad-mouth. sorry it makes snap-judgements of people’s intelligence, character, and sexual attractiveness more difficult for you.
reblogging again for more commentary.
[WARNINGS for white supremacy/appropriation/apologism/white-whine/tokenism]
I’m to keep to my culture and ignore all others. I cannot incorporate things from other cultures into my daily life because I’m white.
When I was little, I was bouncing on the neighbors trampoline when one of the little boys from down the street told me that I was racist because my ancestors had slaves. I cried. When I was in middle school, a little boy spat in my face and when the principal asked him why he did it, he said it was because I’m white. It didn’t take too much growing up to realize that these boys didn’t know what they were doing or the implications of what they did. They were taught to think and treat white people a certain way. When I tell these stories, I’m sure plenty of people involved in this ongoing discussion will say “oh this white girl’s just complaining,” but in this, you would be assuming some complex things about me. First of all, you would be assuming I’m privileged, and therefore I have no right to complain. You’d be assuming I had money and therefore political power. Granted, the history of race in this country is complex and the issues individuals face due to race certainly spills over onto our generation, but the underlying issue is class. Because of the oppression minority people have faced in the past, they are cut off from many opportunities, pushed into the lower class with few ways out. But guess what all you Tumblr people don’t know, my personal story. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that even the connotation of the color of my skin gives me an advantage in certain situations. When I get pulled over by a cop in my hometown, I don’t have to worry as much as my big black male friends. But, when my friend seeks to point that I have a lot of Mexican friends, it is to show that I understand the culture. It is what I grew up in too! I grew up in a low income, lower class (my family included) area where I was immersed in cultures from anywhere imaginable, predominately Mexico. Just because my immediate family didn’t participate in Dia de los Muertos does not mean I was excluded from it. To assume that I don’t understand the significance of Dia de los Muertos because I am white is, and take a guess, racist!
She understands Mexicans because she grew up in a low income, lower class area with her big Black male friends. And she cried. She’s not racist though, we are. LOL Someone needs to get their cousin.
[image: animated GIF (link to GIF): Queen Latifah in the movie “Set It Off”, flipping the bird and looking disgusted.]
^ yeah, this too. so, so much wrongness here.
[RACISM WARNING] This School is making me slowly become racist against asians
My dorm ahs an entire international floor right? They’re all asia. I don’t know they’re chinese, japanese, korean, whatever.
All I do know is that they keep stinking up the goddamn kitchen with their fucking forgein food an it makes me want to puke. I actually have to hold my breath if I want to cook something in there.
And Like, if anyone knows me, they know all I eat is the maericanized chinese and japanese food. But this shit. That they make. Oh my god. it’s terrible.
Sweetie, nobody’s making you racist. You just are.
Congratulations, you fail at being a decent human being.
Not only racist, but apparently also does not understand how to use the spell check function.
ROFL… shutupkristina, please take your own advice. Shut up.
Anyone know where she goes to school? I wanna go cook some really smelly stuff right in front of her door…
Maybe shutupkristiina if you don’t like your dorm you should just leave.
I was about to consider that maybe you have a disability that causes you to become nauseous at certain smells (goodness knows I sometimes have that problem too) but given how you targeted Asians specifically and your racist language, I’m not going to give you a pass.
^ commentary. @shutupkristina: posts like this… seriously, what’s the point, other than JUST BEING RACIST FOR THE SAKE OF BEING RACIST?
TW for racism, harassment. Racist policemen doing the harassment.
Walking around Covent Garden last Tuesday, I found myself nearly knocked over by a speeding police car with no sirens or lights down a small street. I thought it was strange: such hurry and no warning system.
As I reached Tesco in Covent Garden, I saw six heavily armed police officers surrounding some-one. I walked past and saw a small, middle aged, Indian man. He was holding a white charity bucket in one hand. Two police officers were standing behind him telling him not to move and to spread his legs; they were going to search him. Another two officers were taking all his belongings out of his small beige rucksack and reading every piece of paper and asking him about its contents. At the same time another officer was asking him who he was, what his name was and why he was behaving suspiciously. Someone else was going through his wallet. The man spoke broken English and he did not seem to quite understand what was going on. He kept saying he was collecting money for charity and you could see from his body language and the way he was looking at them that he was stunned and very scared.
These men were tall, heavily built, all Caucasian, talking loudly, moving him around physically, going through his things and saying he had been reported for suspicious behaviour. Someone, they said, had seen him collecting money for charity outside Covent Garden station and had called the police saying they had seen a terrorist. You could feel the adrenalin rising in these men as they went through his bag and I remembered the terrible outcome with Jean Charles de Menezes six years ago.
If a Caucasian man or woman had been standing outside Covent Garden station with a charity bucket and a rucksack would someone have rung the police reporting a ‘possible terrorist’? Do people go around calling the police every time they see a Big Issue seller? Or one of those chuggers? They look more threatening half the time than this small framed middle-aged man. But then, Jean Charles had no padded jacket on and did not jump over any tube barriers, as was first alleged. He was not even carrying the dreaded rucksack. But he was the wrong colour. The colour of a terrorist.
They spotted me watching and I felt myself get worked up. I wanted to cause a scene. To let people know what was going on here. I said ‘Racists’ out loud. They heard me and none of the armed men could look at me in the eye. But an Asian bobby who had turned up couldn’t stop eyeballing me. I stared right back.
After reading all his personal papers, and telling him they thought he could be a terrorist, they had to admit they had found nothing. They formed a ring around him. They could see me watching, so they blocked my view. The biggest of them was laughing and asking where he should go next? ‘To the next brown man’, I suggested. He ignored me. People walked by but no one could see what was happening because they had ringed him in. It was clear now that he was not carrying a bomb- so now they formed a tighter ring around him- to hide what? The fact that they had been searching a man based on the colour of his skin, perhaps?
After half an hour the armed police officers left. Two plain clothes were left taking his details and the Asian bobby kept eye balling me. I had nothing to hide. I eyeballed him back. Eventually they walked away and the man was left crouching in the street putting his things away. I went up to him and put my hand on his shoulder. Asked him if he was fine. I did not want to scare him. I told him I had seen what had happened. He seemed wary and said yes he was fine. I said I would have been scared, I was scared because of how many men there were. And his eyes started to fill with tears and he said yes he was scared but he was okay. He asked me my name and where I was from. He said he did not understand why he had been stopped. I told him it was because he was carrying a rucksack, he did not understand what that word meant, and because he was brown. He understood that with resignation.
Just as I was asking him if he needed anything the Asian bobby turned up again. They had been sitting in the police car watching me. He looked down at where I was crouched with the man and asked me if I was okay. I said ‘yes thank you fine’. He would not move. He looked at my brown paper bag from the teashop in Neal Street. There was a terracotta tea pot in there and some jasmine tea. I told him I did not have a bomb and would he like to arrest me for being brown too. He said nothing. I said I am having a private conversation please would you go away. He said I heard you called us ‘racists’ and I wanted to explain that we are not and I am Asian as well. Good for you, I said. You stopped this man because of the colour of his skin. He started to say no and get quite pushy. Provocative, I would call it. I was not going to be riled. I told him I was exercising my human right to have a private conversation, he was disturbing this, he had no legal right to stop me from speaking to someone and to go away. He would not go away. He said he wanted to explain to me why they had stopped this man. Perhaps he thought I was from the press. Perhaps he thought this would go further. I turned my back on the bobby and finished my conversation with the man. I wandered dazed and upset into Tesco to get away from the meddling bobby, who would not even let me extend some generosity to the man they had just harassed.
After aimlessly moving through chillier cabinets and food aisles, I went to leave and there he was, resilient, by the entrance, with his white charity bucket. He was not making any noise. Just silently standing there with his bucket collecting for charity. We spoke some more. He seemed stunned but he thanked me for being kind to him.
This incident is a sharp reminder of what the so-called ‘war on terror’ has done to us. Take this incident and change a few variables. The man had a beard and was wearing Muslim dress. The man was younger, resented being stopped, and resisted the police. The man had no papers to prove who he was. The man didn’t speak any English. The man had a Koran on him and anti-war literature. The man knew people who wanted to teach him a lesson for annoying his neighbours, and who reported on him. All these and you are one step closer, perhaps, to cases like those of Baber Ahmad and Shaker Aamer, who is still languishing in Guantanamo Bay detention camp.
Wrong place, wrong time, and most definitely the wrong colour.
Really worthwhile read.