In Defense of the Occupation

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by SpaceBrotha, Oct 16, 2009.

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  1. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    ^ That is one of my favourite passages from what is also my favourite novel, and always moves me greatly as well. It's such an insightful book. I'm very glad you shared it, EnabranTainted, it's the perfect refutal to the opening post :)
     
  2. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's my favorite passage, too. The book made me teary-eyed a few times, in passages liek this one, dealing with the fate of Cardassia. This one particularly moved me.
     
  3. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You know what, why are we all so surprised that there are trolls defending the concept of inferior and superior races? Over at the general Science Fiction & Fantasy forum there are regular posters very seriously defending the belief - which I've already read many, many times on various BSG forums - that if one race of people has genocide committed against them by another race, they should answer by committing genocide themselves. And any soldier who disobeys the order to commit genocide during the war is a traitor. :cardie:
     
  4. Brutal Strudel

    Brutal Strudel Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Hell, I defended that position when that episode of BSG aired and I hardly consider myself to be troll. The human survivors were being hounded across the galaxy by a group of people who had tried and, in mathematical terms, pretty much succeeded in wiping them out for no good reason whatsoever. Given a weapon that would level the playing field, they damn well should have used it and Helo was a traitor for sabotaging it.
     
  5. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The people who are upholding that position (and there are many of them - maybe they're even the majority) are not trolls, they are very serious about it. That is what makes it so disturbing.
     
  6. Brutal Strudel

    Brutal Strudel Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Well, I was rather serious about it myself, though I went out of my way to point out that such a situation is not to be found outside of SF. In fact, that's what makes it truly disturbing: BSG gave us a situation where the morally indefensible choice was the only viable option then fell back onto a somewhat self-congratulatory moral absolute. In my book, there are no moral absolutes; all morality is situational, all ethics are relative.
     
  7. Myasishchev

    Myasishchev Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Hm. Hm hm hm.

    Can you be: Ottoman Empire?:shifty:
     
  8. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I find it disturbing that most people who defend the choice to try to destroy all Cylons by a biological weapon, committing a genocide, are the ones who take the self-righteous moral absolute stance, apparently unable to recognize that there is anything morally wrong with such a choice. If they said "Yes, I know this is a crime, that it is wrong in many ways, but it is understandably a good choice under those circumstances", I wouldn't have such a problem. But they act as if this was an undeniably right thing to do, and condemn Helo for doing the moral thing and refusing to commit a genocide. Even worse, they claim that he is a traitor for disobeying a direct order to commit genocide. I guess they must also think that the Nuremberg defense ("I was just following orders") was completely legitimate, eh? :shifty:

    The premise used for defending genocide in that situation in BSG, is the same premise used for defending war crimes and genocide many times in real life. The difference is that in real life, propagandists claim that this is just what has to be done for the survival of 'our people' against the cruel enemy; while BSG, it being SF, created a situation where it might have been true. But once people accept the premise that it's OK and even necessary and commendable to commit genocide in retaliation for genocide, or that it is a treason for a soldier to disobey the order to commit a war crime, I can see them buying into that kind of propaganda (which, unfortunately, I am all too well familiar with) in real life as well.
     
  9. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This is actually pretty much what I say. It's a gigantic Necessary Evil, but hey, the Cylons have wiped out most of the human race and aren't showing signs of stopping, better safe than sorry and extinct.

    Hey, a German who refused orders to kill Jews would be a traitor. He'd also be doing the moral thing. These are not mutually exclusive, and by and large being a traitor to the Nazis is a more moral thing than supporting them (for obvious reasons.)
     
  10. Brutal Strudel

    Brutal Strudel Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Thing is, the Jews were a threat to Germany only in the twisted, paranoid rantings of Hitler and his deluded countrymen. The Cylons had already wiped out upwards of 99.999% of the human race and were still attacking. This wasn't genocide as a retaliatory act that Apollo was suggesting, Devil Eyes, it was genocide as a necessary pre-condition of the human race's survival, the paranoid fantasy of genocide-as-self-defense made real. As such--within the logic and reality of the show--it was the only tenable option unless the human race was willing, like the Halkans of "Mirror, Mirror," to die as a race in the name of a pacifistic ideal, a hard sell in a show predicated on militarism. Helo took it upon himself to make that decision and it was only the crude and arbitrary plot twists of the subsequent episodes that vindicated him. Were I Adama and/or Roslin, I'd have airlocked him.
     
  11. Kestrel

    Kestrel Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Guh... eww. That's all on that unpleasant thought :scream:
     
  12. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That's not the way the word "traitor" has been used in that discussion (and not how it is usually used).

    Me, I believe in what my signature says.

    Adama was obviously against the plan himself, and very relieved when Helo sabotaged it since he did not really want to go through with it himself. He probably guessed exactly who sabotaged the plan and did not do anything because he secretly approved of what he did - which was confirmed in the deleted scene from "Woman King".

    You are not going to convince me that there is no difference between fighting a war and committing a genocide in that war. You might pretend that it is the same, but you should realize that it's not. The Colonials were most definitely fighting a war, not refusing to fight it and agreeing "to die as a race in the name of a pacifistic ideal". Adama and Helo were both military men, and as such was not upholding "pacifistic ideals" (maybe you confused them with the "Demand Peace" movement from season 2, who presented as idiots in the show), but humanistic and military ideals which include not using biological weapons in attempt to wipe out an entire race of sentient beings.
     
  13. Brutal Strudel

    Brutal Strudel Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    An ant can't fight a war with an elephant.
     
  14. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Not even. Stopping an unethical doctor isn't really on the same magnitude as wiping out a threat to the human race. As such, his actions sort of rise or fall on what one considers of them. A real vindication via plot twist would be something like 'oooh, the virus would also wipe out the human race' or result in something else bad that the characters had no way of knowing about (hey, maybe that happens in S4, but I haven't watched that.)

    I simply feel they make dramatic sense, which I'm more than content with. Helo's rationale is pretty explicable given his background.

    No, that's exactly how it is used. He would be, in fact, literally guilty of treason. Disobeying orders? In wartime, no less?

    Treason isn't in the eye of the beholder. Right and wrong, maybe, but not treason. As I observed, treason is very likely the moral course of action when a citizen of a fascist state.

    Which doesn't stop it from being treason.
     
  15. Brutal Strudel

    Brutal Strudel Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    I wasn't thinking of Helo's story ("The Woman King") when I mentioned the plot twists but the way the whole human/Cylon thing is eventually resolved. I won't spoil it for you but I will say I was disappointed.

    As I think on it, the episode is kinda despicable in the way it fleshes out the paranoid rationalization for genocide--here it really is a war for survival; no, not a war, an animalistic struggle. But then, much as I love DS9, I was always creeped out by how easily the Dominion can be read as an allegory for the Ku Klux Klan/Neo-Nazi fantasy of Zionist global control. Here we have a species supremely skilled at disappearing into host populations (cf. Jewish assimilation in Europe) who, after being clobbered one two many times, retreat to their home-world (cf. Israel nee Palestine after the Holocaust) and engineer a proxy force of quisling humanoids (cf. white race-traitors who do the bidding of their evil Jewish overlords) and malignant, hyper-violent sub-humans who are addicted to a white narcotic (cf. the American bogey-man of the crack addicted gangsta). I doubt this model was in anyone's conscious mind when the idea of the Dominion was mooted and developed but it's eerie how close the allegory maps and how potent such an evil paranoid fantasy is even among those of us who should know better.
     
  16. JayOwl

    JayOwl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well I disagree with the Occupation, it's the same as the Nazi prison camps for Jews as previously stated. Duet Just about says it all I quote "I covered my ears every Night, I couldn't bear to hear those Horrible sceams" or "We are all Guilty" I'm sorry but Duet is not only Very touching but it shows how horrible the Occupation really was
     
  17. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That's true. In science fiction and fantasy it's all too easy to create the sort of blunt moral conundrums that do not and cannot exist in real life.

    DS9 actually gave us the exact same scenario, with the disease to kill the Changelings. Like the Cylons, Changelings are a literal threat to our way of life who are trying to enslave/exterminate us, are in a sense all guilty of the actions of their race (since their identity is submerged as a sort of race consciousness) and can even walk among us, and also like Cylons, there's one good Changeling on the side of our guys.

    DS9 being Star Trek, the guy who's actually in favour of genocide is clearly one of the show's villains, even if the writers love to provide him with extensive arguments that challenge the usual idealism of the Federation.

    But in real life, it's not actually possible for a race, as a race, to be guilty of an action. They don't submerge their identity into a bigger pool and all agree to the dictats of their racial consciousness because that does not exist.

    So while I can find myself probably going along with hypothetical genocide in fantasy scenarios I really can't see a situation in the real world where I, the pathetic, cowardly little slimeball that I am, would ever consider it.

    At least this is less common in sci-fi than it is in fantasy (Orcs are usually a whole race of evil, vicious beasts in Tolkein and his many imitators), and even in the sci-fi scenarios that turn genocide into something explainable and even something rational people could agree to... there are characters who still reject it as wrong and morally unacceptable. Whether that works within the confines of the fantasy universe is another matter - at least the fantasy universe isn't being used to encourage nonsense in the real world.
     
  18. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    :cardie: :cardie: :cardie:

    I am continually amazed by people's ability to find the most convoluted interpretation of an SF show plot that somehow makes it a parallel to this or that real world situation, and especially to use those convoluted interpretations as a basis for accusations of racism against the show, or proof that it has a specific political agenda.

    According to the collective wisdom of various fans/viewers, it seems that pretty much every single race in Trek, apart from humans and Klingons, is some kind of analogy to Jews. Come on, people, make up your minds. Vulcans, Bajorans, Ferengi and the Founders can't possibly ALL be direct analogies for the Jews (with the Bajorans apparently doubling as an analogy to Palestinians). :rolleyes:

    Either there's just one, or we should agree that there are no direct analogies, just vague and general similarities (because every SF storyline has to have some grounding in real life) that anyone can interpret any way they want.



    Treason is not a neutral word. You seem to think it is, but you may be the only person in the universe to think so. Treason is a very value-judgment-laden word. It is considered a serious crime in most legal systems and carries a sentence of death penalty (if it exists) or long prison sentence. It is also word with strong negative connotations, constantly used in propaganda to label people who think different.

    And it is IMO very much in the eye of the beholder, more than anything else is. The episode and scene where this phrase comes from gives a perfect example. An agent of a secret police in an authoritarian system labels a dissident "a traitor" (gee, I haven't heard that one before...). A traitor to whom or what? His country/race/civilization? Other people might feel that the dissident is the one being loyal to it, a true patriot, by trying to help it and make it a better place to live and free it from an oppressive system.

    And even in the situation you mention - disobeying orders in wartime? Some people would argue that a true patriot would have to disobey inhumane and illegitimate orders to commit crimes and that he/she is doing much more good for his country that way - by refusing to commit war crimes.

    In your example with the Nazis, why should a German person feel loyal to the government, if they despise it and believe in to be wrong for Germany and the world? Did they ever pledge loyalty to the Nazi government? No, they just happened to be born in Germany and live at the time when Hitler came to power. Why should they feel any loyalty to the Nazis?

    Finally, in a situation when one is committing an act that could be called "treason" with a good reason, against a country/government/nation/ethnical or religious group etc. that they feel no loyalty to, out of idealism and beliefs in something else... I wonder, how can you be a "traitor" if you never pledged loyalty to something/someone? Say, maybe a person commits an act of espionage or terrorism, or maybe he/she defects... and the country where they were born considers them a "traitor". But what if the person doesn't give a damn about the state as such and doesn't feel he/she owes anything to it, because they feel loyalty to, say, their religion, or the international socialist movement, or whatever? Or what if a person is a member of a minority and feels more loyalty and stronger ties to the country of their origin than the country they live in currently? Or the opposite - if they feel more loyalty to their new country, others who feel the opposite might label them "traitors" to their people.

    The very idea of "treason" is usually based on the premise that a person owes loyalty to someone/something - even though, in many cases, they never pledged that loyalty in the first place. They just happened to be born somewhere - and this, somehow, makes the current government of that country feel that they have the right to expect loyalty from them. Why?

    The only real treason, IMO, is when a person betrays something they truly believe in, out of weakness, fear, for material gain, etc.
     
  19. Brutal Strudel

    Brutal Strudel Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Considering how obsessed the West has been with the Otherness of blacks and Jews for centuries if not millennia, perhaps it is possible for an overwhelmingly Western tv show to have several direct and indirect allegories for both groups--not to mention other groups deemed Other as well, such as Asians. But that's right: Star Trek (or SF) is allegory until the allegory makes us uncomfortable. Then it's just all in your head.

    I think we're done here, no?
     
  20. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Oh right, you're just the brave one who is able to see the racism and antisemitism of ST writers that we cowards are blind to. Congratulations.

    Or maybe... it just says something about the way your mind works.

    I think we're done now.
     
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