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UN Flag Torture.

Cruel. Inhuman. Degrading.

Treatment that shocks the mind. Treatment that makes the perversity of man towards his fellow explicit. Blood curdling explicit.

I’m researching torture.

Descriptions from victims, made palatable by prosecutors, obfuscated by judges, given a veneer of academia when read by me.

This last weekend, the impact has come home, as I build up a framework to present for the Respondent arguments. It is easy to write words, to state what it is. So easy to say.

I ask you to imagine. Imagine being subject to it. See the textures. Recoil at the shock and horror. Feel the pain.

Imagine : Electric shocks to the fingers, eyelids, nose and genitals, tied naked to a metal bedframe, coiling wire around fingers and genitals and running an electric current through them. Imagine : extended hanging from hand and/or leg chains combined with electric shocks. Imagine : repeatedly being drowned in a mixture of blood, urine, vomit and excrement.

Physical torture is exceeded by the insidious torture inflicted by non-physical means. Sensory deprivation so total that the brain short circuits itself into delirium. Humiliation so intense that it breaks down every concept of humanity a person possesses. Degradation so total that a person becomes lower than an animal in their own eyes.

All of these represent real events, found in the case law. It’s representative of the cruelty that man inflicts willingly.

I’ve never deliberately looked at the depths of the worst of human actions. The excesses of evil that people perpetuate against each other. This project makes me glad I haven’t.



  1. imagine: the arguments ordinary people (let alone government officials) come up with to justify torture. imagine: the indifference of large sections of humanity to the suffering of their fellow humans.

    welcome to my world.

    • mtalib
    • Posted March 26, 2008 at 2:24 pm
    • Permalink

    I don’t like your world. I have a lot more admiration for anyone who deals on the front line of human rights after this.

    Part of what I’ve had to do is try and come up with plausible justifications in international law for this kind of treatment. Thankfully its near impossible to legally justify, which makes me feel a bit better.

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