How do you adequately describe the killing of a 13-year-old boy in the dark torture cellars of a tyrant? How do you bring home an accurate portrayal of a teenage boy's body covered with cigarette burns, whose kneecaps are shattered and whose neck is broken? Is our human vocabulary expansive enough to describe the horror of his severed genitals?
What adjectives should we employ? Sadistic? Barbaric? Fiendish? No, all of these descriptors fall far short of the mark. Their promiscuous use in mundane conversation threatens to trivialise the noxiousness of this crime.
''Ineffable'' is the only word that is justly applied to the murder of Hamza Ali al-Khateeb by the Syrian secret police. The slow and systematic slaying of a teenage boy by the torturers of dictator Bashar al Assad is beyond description, beyond comprehension and beyond absolution.
Hamza was snatched up in late April by Assad's secret police during a protest rally in the southern Syrian town of Jiza. When the boy's remains were returned to his family several weeks later, the evidence of his brutal treatment was writ large upon his corpse.
Irate at the murder of their defenceless child in the torture chambers of the Assad regime, his parents asked a local activist to film the body. And the posting of this footage on YouTube has since sparked an entirely new wave of protest demonstrations throughout Syria.
In recent days, the streets of cities throughout Syria have filled with people denouncing the death-by-torture of this teenage boy. The Sydney Morning Herald related how throngs of demonstrators flocked to the central square of Hama, bearing photographs of Hamza Ali al-Khatib and chanting his name.
The Gillard Government has shown no hesitation about rebuking the Assad regime over the brutal tactics of repression. In response to a media question Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd declared: ''The torture of a child is inhumane in the extreme.''
On the Coalition side of politics, foreign affairs spokesperson Julie Bishop was equally blunt. In a press statement she railed at the Syrian regime over ''shocking evidence of atrocities'' that included ''the torture and killing of a 13-year-old boy''. But where are the Australian Greens?
Based on the Greens' own moralising rhetoric, one might naturally expect Senator Bob Brown to issue a scathing condemnation of this uniquely gruesome murder. One might think that such self-proclaimed beacons of Greens humanitarianism as Marrickville mayor Fiona Byrne or Senator-elect Lee Rhiannon would be organising a sit-in before the Syrian embassy in Canberra.
But despite news of Hamza Ali al-Khateeb's slaying featuring in all major Australian media outlets, a Factiva search of statements and news articles reveals that the Greens have been entirely mum on the topic. In recent days there have been press releases on party's website that assail the live cattle export trade. There have been statements that bag ''big tobacco'' on the topic of plain cigarette packaging. But there's been nary a word about a 13-year-old child who was tortured to death by the henchmen of a brutal despot.
Of course not, for when it comes to Middle East policy, the Greens are far too busy hurling abuse at the only true democracy in the region -- Israel. In fact, former NSW MP Sylvia Hale is planning to participate in the flotilla that is currently being organised to run the Israeli naval cordon off the shores of Gaza.
Never mind that the Egyptian Government recently opened its border with the Palestinian territory, rendering moot all those faux allegations that Gaza was an ‘'open air prison''. Never mind that, in essence, there's no blockade to run.
But the pro-Palestinian advocacy movement -- of which the Australian Greens are an important constituent -- never lets the facts get in the way of an opportunity to engage in political grandstanding.
This year's flotilla is beginning to play out like a Middle Eastern version of the film Groundhog Day. Once again we see a small fleet of boats that is organised by a strange-bedfellows alliance between Western Leftists and Levantine jihadis.
Once again we see Muslim extremists spoiling for a fight, openly vowing to seek martyrdom in a violent clash at sea with the Israelis they so heartily despise. And once again we see American, European and Australian Left-wingers running political interference on behalf of their Islamic radical allies.
Meanwhile, back at the scene of genuine human rights abuses, Syria's beleaguered pro-democracy activists need all the help they can get. Beset by a ruthless tyrant who doesn't shrink from siccing his merciless army upon them, courageous people in Damascus, Aleppo, Homs and Daara continue to struggle for political liberation.
The cause of Syrian democracy deserves our active, vocal support. But as we've observed, there's no succour forthcoming from the Australian Greens. With their tunnel vision view of the Middle East through a pro-Palestinian prism, Bob Brown and his colleagues evince no visible interest in the wholesale slaughter going on throughout Syria.
This deafening silence on Syria is emblematic of the ethical bankruptcy that infects Leftwing foreign policy. The selective outrage of the Greens and their fellow travellers bespeaks a fundamental hypocrisy that that strips bare their pretensions to any sort of moral superiority.