Pain’s pathways

“Drunk Father.”
Lithograph by George Bellows (1845-1922).
In the public domain.

By Kathie MM

I bit my tongue yesterday.  Really, not metaphorically.  It hurt like the devil.

Why do I tell you this trivial story?

Because every time I bite my tongue, which I do more often as I age, I find myself agonizing about torture.

I think how infinitesimal my pain is compared to the pain that all too many people deliberately inflict on others while proclaiming their own superiority and the justifiability of their acts.

Almost everyone knows how hurtful, how uncomfortable, how agonizing, how disrupting, how destructive life’s ordinary injuries–bad toothache, broken bone, burned hand–can be. Yet right now, around the world, there are countless people torturing other living beings in a variety of ways.

You have to ask why.

I know there are lots of reasons why some people behave cruelly towards others, particularly others who are not just different but also weaker, more defenseless than they.  I also know that a penchant to hurt, punish, maim, harm others often stems from the experience of childhood maltreatment and the observation of domestic violence.

International, national, and state laws against domestic violence and child abuse have been promulgated and efforts undertaken to address these issues. Why has the United States government failed to ratify the International Convention on the Rights of the Child ?  Why has there been such resistance to legislation protecting women from violence ? And for how long will international conventions against torture and cruel and inhuman treatment be flouted by U.S. government agencies ?

The record of the U.S. government in regard to torture is a sorry one indeed, as indicated in the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on CIA torture. In my view, torture–like terrorism–is a tool of tyranny and the anathema of democracy.

Please stay tuned for my upcoming series on Tyranny, Torture, and Terrorizing.


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2 Responses to Pain’s pathways

  1. Barbara says:

    I am astonished and outraged to learn that my country does not respect international law regarding torture. I thought America was supposed to be the most civilized nation in the world, spreading democracy and fighting for human rights. How naive could I be?
    Let’s hope there are enough of my fellow citizens to join forces in a campaign to pressure the government to eliminate this abhorrent practice. Anyone who administers torture and tries to justify it is a savage and should be called by that name. Savages!

  2. Pingback: The Power of Tyranny, the Tyranny of Power | Engaging Peace

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