Shakespeare on Unspeakable Crime and Murder by Drones

 O, my offence is rank it smells to heaven; It hath the primal eldest curse upon't“O, my offence is rank it smells to heaven;
It hath the primal eldest curse upon’t,
A brother’s murder”

(Hamlet, act 3, sc. 3)

Comments.  The picture of this child shows the effects of a drone visit to North Waziristan in a location called Datta Khel. The boy died from the wounds some time after the picture was taken. A quick search with GoogleEarth leading to the area can show the extreme poverty of the region and its inhabitants. It can also demonstrate the worse-than-absurd justifications for the drone wars. Namely, that these people are either a “threat” to our democracy or that they “envy our freedoms”, as one notorious prominent character in US politics used to say.
Claudius of Hamlet is at least beset by guilt for the murder of his brother – however he may disguise his feelings in public. In contrast, the current twist of reality would have stunned the Nuremberg judges. Murder by drones, a videogame played by an operator in Kentucky, passes for “defending our freedom” from the attack of people who are almost as remote from the US as the Moon.
International visitors may be interested to know that in the exhausting so-called presidential debates the issue of murder by drones was not even ever discussed.

Tips for Use.  Apply to an action you rate bad or criminal, e.g. ‘The offense is rank…’

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In the play. King Claudius reflects on the extremity of his crime, the murder of his brother, Hamlet’s father.

Image source: Noor Berham, photographer who follows the aftermath of the drone strikes in Waziristan, running into considerable danger himself. The name of the boy was Naeemullah, injured in the strike after a missile struck the house next door. Shrapnel and debris travelled into Naeemullah’s house, wounding him in “various parts of his body,” “You can’t see his back, says the photographer, but his back was wounded by missile pieces and burns.”

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