The War Against the Enemy… Which Enemy Are We Talking About

42nd Jul 22, 2020

The developed countries have enjoyed a certain degree of “world peace” for several decades. Worldwide military conflicts akin to the scale of World War Two have become a mere section of history textbooks. Bloody battlefields in countries such as Syria and Iraq are often camouflaged by the gigantic number of refugees.

Our generation has been detached from the fact that wars have never left us. Wars do not necessarily mean conflicts between two countries. A nation’s army may be assembled to fight the outside enemies, but a regime’s police is to subdue its citizens.

過去數十年,已發展國家算是安享著「世界和平」。國際軍事衝突如二戰,僅僅呈現於教科書中。相比起發生於敘利亞及伊拉克的血腥戰役,大量衍生的難民更受注目。我們這世代一直漠視一個事實——戰爭離我們很近。戰爭可以是針對平民百姓的:軍隊負責對外抗衡;政權下的警隊則主力內鬥。

Brutality What?

All of a sudden, police tactics such as neck holds (or knee-on-neck restraint) have become a taboo at least in the West.

However controversial it is, police around the world has been employing cruel tactics against protestors. On top of neck holds, kettling, which is a police tactic to trap a group of people to restrict their mobility often for hours, is also a commonly employed practice around the world.

近期,壓頸等警察戰術手段,於西方國家驟然成了禁忌。然而一直以來,警察都在對示威者執行這些備受爭議的戰術:跪頸、圍捕,四處可見。

According to American Civil Liberties Union, on the day of President Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2017, more than 200 protestors were denied food, water and access to toilets during the police kettle. People were also met with pepper spray, tear gas, flash-bang grenades, smoke flares and invasive bodily searches.

In early June 2020, the New York Police Department kettled more than 5,000 protestors on the Manhattan Bridge for several hours. It was widely reported as a mass punishment for the peaceful Black Lives Matter protest. The public denounced the incident and continued to lobby for divesting funds from police departments.

據美國公民自由聯盟資料,2017年特朗普上任儀式舉行當天,有200名示威者於圍捕進行時被斷水斷糧、禁止如廁。群眾同時受胡椒噴霧、催淚彈、閃光彈及煙霧彈攻擊,亦遭惡意搜身。今年6月上旬,紐約警察在曼哈頓大橋上圍堵近5000名示威者幾小時。多數媒體將警方做法,視為對「黑命攸關」和平示威者的集體懲罰;社會普遍譴責此事,繼續爭取撤銷警察部門資助。

Sarcastically this forceful tactic and neck holds, together with shooting a schoolboy at close range last October and many other incidents, are always justified as “self-defense” by the authority in Hong Kong. Simply put, “police brutality” never appears in the authority’s glossary.

很諷刺——採用殺傷力高的戰術、壓頸、甚至在去年10月實彈射傷中學生,仍被香港政府視為警察的「自衛」手段。簡而言之,政府的詞典從無「警暴」一詞。

A War Declared on the Internal “Evil”

To a government which was not elected in a fair manner, it seems to have every right to suppress the internal opposition. In front of the world, the regime demonises this wave of opposition as “foreign influences”.

對一個政府(尤其是不以民主方式選出的政府)而言,摧毀任何反對派似乎理所當然。在外國面前,政權通常妖魔化內部反對者為「外國間諜」。

The regime seeks to limit the internal opposition, because it knows they must be defeated at all costs, lest the regime might be overthrown. This is how authoritarianism works. Regimes have to be the truth and anything else that deviates from the official stance has to be evil and deceitful.

To sustain their power, the regime ruthlessly eliminates dissidents. The police is their army. Individuals who have reasonable doubts are immediately branded “the enemies of the people”.

To attack, one does not have to bring in the tanks. Most of the time, the army disguises itself as the self-righteous “league of justice”.

之所以政權限制反對派,乃因它深恐被推翻,故必不惜一切擊敗假想敵。威權主義總是如此:唯有政權是真理,政權所不欲者,定屬邪惡與謊言。集權先須維穩,警察就是政權的軍隊,槍口正對異見人士。要發動攻擊,不一定要用坦克。襲擊人的軍隊,往往以「正義聯盟」自居和偽裝自己。

Reasonable Doubt = Resistance = Evil = Enemy to be eliminated

Our generation is so distant from the frontline in military conflicts that we tend to misunderstand the obvious fact: in a war, every effort is an act of bravery. No use of force is excessive in a battlefield. Condemning “brutality” means nothing to the offensive side nor the defensive side in wars. Perhaps this is the reason why the term does not exist in the authority’s glossary.

我們這一代離軍事衝突那麼遙遠,以致我們常誤解一個顯而易見的事實:戰場上,沒有「過度使用武力」一說,任何武力行使都是英勇行為。戰場上的進攻與自衛,皆不在「暴力」之列,也許這就是政權不把警察暴力視為濫暴的原因。

What is happening in this city is not simply a clash of political opinions. The tactics and propaganda speak for themselves – this is a war.

我城面臨的,不是政見衝突。觀警察手段、政府宣傳,不言自明——這,是戰爭。

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