The end of June but not the end of attempts by a number individuals and grassroots organizations, including this humblest of humble blogs, to raise, in some degree, public awareness of torture in the world today – but why do we do it?
Why? The despots of the world would only snicker even if they heard our cry. Mister Cheney would sneer, Mr. Bush would snarl and Mr. Yoo would come with yet another report on twenty-four pages of crisp white paper explaining why torture isn’t torture.
Why? One might as well accept slavery or cannibalism or treating women as chattel or war and violence as the accepted way to resolve conflicts between our petty tribes as accept torture.
Why? All that we do as individuals, groups and nations define what we are as human beings. Torture is something that defines our common humanity in a way we cannot, must not accept.
If we accept that our common humanity is defined by inhumanity, our species is doomed to the perdition of extinction and it will come sooner than later.
The religious master whose teachings are at the core of the culture in which I was born and formed as a human being taught that in the final analysis, when all had gone down to dust, many would come and claim salvation in his name. He said that his reply would be, no, these things you did and preached, the miracles you did in my name are nothing – departed from me, I never knew you. In continuation he also taught that many would be brought into his presence and enfolded into the Realm of Spirit. Surprised, these would ask, but when did we serve you? The reply will be, when you attended the sick, when you visited those in prison, when you gave succor to the wounded in body, mind and spirit – what you did for the least of these, you did for me.
Is it really that hard to understand?
Writing about torture these past thirty days, I came to realize that accepting torture being done in our name destroys something of that in us which makes us human.
I conclude June with a repetition of my thesis:
When the humanity of a single human being is destroyed, something in our common humanity is destroyed.