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gender & sexuality | media criticism

Assange, activist celebrity de jour

For community consideration: I and everyone I've met applaud Wikileaks and hope for more damning proof of the State's violent duplicity. We admire the work of the Wikileaks individuals which made it happen. But do we therefore place them on an untouchable pedestal?
The possibility that the sexual assault charges levied against one Julian Assange are nothing other than a politically-motivated sabotage-of-Wikileaks is certainly something that's occured to me. The authorities are definitely exploiting the accusation. But I and no one else have any basis for actually declaring that it's false, which is what I've been reading on numerous, otherwise commendable sites. To the contrary, I am astounded at how thoroughly Assange has been elevated to great hero status and that the rape allegation is "obviously" a fraud.

This would not stand in our local radical communities (well, actually, it has and does, but that pattern has simultaneously been rightly denounced), so why is it that Assange receives a get-out-of-accountability-free card? If a charismatic, well-known, and adjusted-to-privilege activist in Portland was accused of rape, and all the radicals who appreciated his accomplishments defended him on that basis, dismissing the accusation and the brave person who came forward with it, would there not be vocal outrage? Rightly so? Probably the offender would be ostracized/expelled. In no way am I going to deny that Assange is being victimized by the world's governments; but that has nothing to do with whether he himself violated someone in a direct sense. I should note that supposing the allegations to be true, I'm not therefore saying that the man ought to be handed over to the State; only that some kind of accountability should be enacted, though as an commentator far-removed I do not claim to know how or what the would or should be.

Until - if at all - the women in question come forward and retract any/all claims they've made against Mr. Assange, I will not exonerate him of the possibility that he is, in fact, guilty of sexual assault and/or rape. Let's remember that something like ninety-eight percent of accusations are true. That doesn't mean I can prove that it isn't a concocted set-up, which would be an insult, to put it lightly, to anyone who is a survivor; I just don't feel comfortable with the degree to which so many voices are just sweeping the whole thing under the rug. Celebrites aren't better than us, only more famous. I guess it goes to show that it's never too late for even an age-old anti-authoritarian principle - in this case, uprooting hero-worship - to be sorely neglected. We know better. Ultimately, I think my point here pertains not to Julian Assange so much as it does to us.

As a caveat, if anyone knows something that's starkly missing from the above, kindly post a link or something. Thx.