Sunday, September 24, 2006

Are We Really So Fearful?

Are We Really So Fearful?

Yes, we are so fearful that our protesting words and sentences get curtailed and truncated before leaving our twisted tongue. Yes, we are so traumatized that seeing the brutish bullies and simple butcheries do not raise our humbled selves from cozy cushions to marching on the streets.

Torture under duress is useless. But torture used as deterrence for the rightful dissenting voice has proved to be useful to the torturers, fear and warmongers. From steep mountains of Uzbekistan to frigid Russian Siberia, from Chinese one-party thugs to highly lauded "democracy" of the so-called West, Middle-East's enraging inferno, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Burmese and Sri Lankan unchecked "rapid forces", everywhere you can see, torture is used in open or in disguise.

Ariel Dorfman writes, "it is not only the victim and the perpetrator who are corrupted, not only the "intelligence" that is contaminated, but also everyone who looked away and said they did not know, everyone who consented tacitly to that outrage so they could sleep a little safer at night, all the citizens who did not march in the streets by the millions to demand the resignation of whoever suggested, even whispered, that torture is inevitable in our day and age, that we must embrace its darkness?"

Ariel Dorfman pleads, "Are we so morally sick, so deaf and dumb and blind, that we do not understand this? Are we so fearful, so in love with our own security and steeped in our own pain, that we are really willing to let people be tortured in the name of America?"

In the name of a nation, God, political leader, fabricated crisis of various sorts, human beings had and have justified their inhumane treatments of fellow beings from time immemorial. Our open lynch pins, public displays of executions and merciless whippings of "undesirables" may have been put into darkest corner of world "civility", but the facts remain that these "instruments" are on their way to reestablishing themselves in the broad daylight.

We are so fearful!

Regards,
Sohel



Are We Really So Fearful?

By Ariel Dorfman
Sunday, September 24, 2006; B01

DURHAM, N.C.

It still haunts me, the first time -- it was in Chile, in October of 1973 -- that I met someone who had been tortured. To save my life, I had sought refuge in the Argentine Embassy some weeks after the coup that had toppled the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende, a government for which I had worked. And then, suddenly, one afternoon, there he was. A large-boned man, gaunt and yet strangely flabby, with eyes like a child, eyes that could not stop blinking and a body that could not stop shivering.

That is what stays with me -- that he was cold under the balmy afternoon sun of Santiago de Chile, trembling as though he would never be warm again, as though the electric current was still coursing through him. Still possessed, somehow still inhabited by his captors, still imprisoned in that cell in the National Stadium, his hands disobeying the orders from his brain to quell the shuddering, his body unable to forget what had been done to it just as, nearly 33 years later, I, too, cannot banish that devastated life from my memory.

Read Full Article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/22/AR2006092201303.html

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The View From Guantánamo

Innocent man like Mr. Qassim is kept prisoner in cages of Guantanamo. Years after years. Mr. Qasim is from Uighur in China where he and his kinsmen are oppressed brutally by the Chinese government apparatus. Economically suppressed Uighur's citizens travel far, working menial and labor intensive jobs so that their family can survive. Here is an excerpt from Mr. Qassim's New York Time's Op-Ed: "Amnesty International reports that East Turkistan is the only province in China where people may face the death penalty for political offenses. Chinese leaders brag about the number of Uighur political prisoners shot in the head. I was punished for speaking against China’s unjust policies, and I left because of the threat to my life. My search for work and refuge took me from Kyrgyzstan to Afghanistan and Pakistan."


Once upon a time America was the place that dissenters like Mr. Qasim look forward to gain moral support in their endless struggles against unjust domination and forced subjugation by the powerfuls around the world. Guantanamo and numerous other hidden places like that have changed that view for many. Despite the growing agitations America still has many friends, deeply wounded, but friends indeed. It would surely be interesting to see whether America regain back its lost reputation, its high regard in the humanitarian world.

Regards,

Sohel


The View From Guantánamo

Tirana, Albania

I HAVE been greatly saddened to hear that the Congress of the United States, a country I deeply admire, is considering new laws that would deny prisoners at Guantánamo Bay the right to challenge their detentions in federal court.

I learned my respect for American institutions the hard way. When I was growing up as a Uighur in China, there were no independent courts to review the imprisonment and oppression of people who, like me, peacefully opposed the Communists. But I learned my hardest lesson from the United States: I spent four long years behind the razor wire of its prison in Cuba.

I was locked up and mistreated for being in the wrong place at the wrong time during America’s war in Afghanistan. Like hundreds of Guantánamo detainees, I was never a terrorist or a soldier. I was never even on a battlefield. Pakistani bounty hunters sold me and 17 other Uighurs to the United States military like animals for $5,000 a head. The Americans made a terrible mistake.

It was only the country’s centuries-old commitment to allowing habeas corpus challenges that put that mistake right — or began to. In May, on the eve of a court hearing in my case, the military relented, and I was sent to Albania along with four other Uighurs. But 12 of my Uighur brothers remain in Guantánamo today. Will they be stranded there forever?

Read the Full Article: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/17/opinion/17qassim.html

Friday, September 15, 2006

Bush’s Useful Idiots

There is no doubt that Mr. Tony Judt is a prolific writer. Two long but moving articles he wrote for London Review of Books and The New York Review of Books this week. Both of these are must read in my humble opinion. I may write more on these two articles in the coming days if and when I have any spare time. Till then, happy reading!


Regards,

Sohel

Bush’s Useful Idiots

Tony Judt on the Strange Death of Liberal America

Why have American liberals acquiesced in President Bush’s catastrophic foreign policy? Why have they so little to say about Iraq, about Lebanon, or about reports of a planned attack on Iran? Why has the administration’s sustained attack on civil liberties and international law aroused so little opposition or anger from those who used to care most about these things? Why, in short, has the liberal intelligentsia of the United States in recent years kept its head safely below the parapet?

It wasn’t always so. On 26 October 1988, the New York Times carried a full-page advertisement for liberalism. Headed ‘A Reaffirmation of Principle’, it openly rebuked Ronald Reagan for deriding ‘the dreaded L-word’ and treating ‘liberals’ and ‘liberalism’ as terms of opprobrium. Liberal principles, the text affirmed, are ‘timeless. Extremists of the right and of the left have long attacked liberalism as their greatest enemy. In our own time liberal democracies have been crushed by such extremists. Against any encouragement of this tendency in our own country, intentional or not, we feel obliged to speak out.’

Read the Full Article: http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n18/judt01_.html
Also read Tony Judt's The New York Review of Books Article from the following link: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/19302