Monday, 24 June 2013

EYEWEAR AND EDWARD SNOWDEN: AN EDITORIAL

Eyewear is a blog that values the rule of law, within reason.  While, a week or so ago, the blog began featuring poems by poets writing on - and often in praise of - the American spy and whistleblower, Edward Snowden, at no time has the editorial policy been to praise or condone illegal activity, even if by a member of the intelligence community.  Indeed, the initial sense that Snowden was a hero has been somewhat dampened by his extraordinary personal flight, from Hong Kong, to Russia, then Cuba, and on to Venezuela, aided by China and Russia along the way.

Friends of human rights should take pause at that odd list of allies, for when an agent of espionage is supported by enemies of America, suspicions must be raised.  What is Snowden up to?  Evading punishment, for one thing - but when Eyewear first praised the man, again, before he had been charged with a crime by the US authorities, he seemed to be stepping forward, as Socrates, and Christ, and Mandela did - a symbol of oppositional politics, willing to do the time, to take the punishment, to become the cause's rallying point.  Now, Snowden is a fugitive, seeking asylum with the Assange-supporting Ecuadorean government.

Assange, accused of rape, refuses to face the courts, and remains in semi-permanent hiding in London.  I want to think that Edward Snowden is a good man, but is he a brave or law-abiding one?  A braver whistleblower might, like Manning, have gone to trial, however dire - and they would be - the consequences.  Manning's trial has allowed the world to confront certain issues frankly; this globe-trotting spycraft is a bit too melodramatic, even for Eyewear's liking.  Snowden would be best to return to America and face trial.

He has, after all, committed a serious crime - revealing state secrets of the highest order - and it is up to the American people - and their president - to decide whether he shall be pardoned.  History may be kinder to him than the rougher justice of the moment, but rendering unto Caesar is what a good Catholic believes, and is the official position of Eyewear.  So - while we oppose Internet surveillance, to a degree; and do not want a police state, either, neither do we want an anarchic free-for-all without any rule of law. 
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Eyewear THE BLOG is the most read British poetry blog-zine of all time, getting more than 25,000 page-views a month. It began in 2005 and has now been read by over 2.5 million.


The views expressed by editor Todd Swift are not necessarily shared by contributing poets and reviewers. Any material on this blog infringing copyright will be removed immediately upon request.
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