“I saw it on a TV show called 24. And they were able to save lives!“
Yesterday’s report on the CIA’s use of torture was not a surprise, but it was still shocking…“interrogations that lasted for days on end. Detainees forced to stand on broken legs, or go 180 hours in a row without sleep. A prison so cold, one suspect essentially froze to death…the Senate Intelligence Committee is finally releasing it’s review of the CIA’s detention and interrogation programs and it is brutual.” (the Daily Beast)
State power using torture has been justified as a method of extracting information from potential psychopaths. What if those administering the torture are themselves psychopathic? And what happens when we look in the mirror and see we’re the same because we allow it?
The aim of torture is to manipulate the human body. There are infinite ways torture of the bodies of this world exists: one is the withholding of food from those who, just because they lack money, are unable to get it.
Writing about the Nazi system of torture in The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt wrote, “This new mechanized system [the Nazi prison system] eased the feeling of responsibility as much as was humanly possible. When, for instance, the order came to kill every day several hundred Russian prisoners, the slaughter was performed by shooting through a hole without seeing the victim.”
Allowing torture of any kind, especially the torture of children who do not have enough food, [nearly 37 percent of residents in the South Bronx of New York said they lacked money to buy food at some point in the past 12 months (1)], makes us all complicit in “shooting through a hole without seeing the victim.”
The belief that one person cannot create a solution is perhaps the link to how we have come to accept a world in which torture is allowed. It’s OK as long as we don’t see it.
The Living Income Guaranteed can be a refuge – our commitment to humanity – and a way to rebuild our relationship with and for one another; for how can anyone say it is not torture to be hungry?