2.13.2005

shaken to my core

"Brutalization doesn't work. We know that. Besides, you lose your soul." -- Former FBI agent who has worked on successful counter-terrorism operations

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I am trying to read Jane Mayer's "Outsourcing Torture," the article in the New Yorker that I referred to a few days ago (here). It's so sickening, and shameful, that every so often I have to put it down to catch my breath and clear my eyes.

I am Jewish. I have often wondered what it would have been like had I lived in Europe in the 1930s. I think, for example, of the great film "The Garden of the Finzi-Continis". The family - prosperous, educated Italian Jews - accept one indignity after another. The special registration. The signs forbidding them to enter. All the hallmarks of second-class citizenship. But they don't, they can't possibly, add up the signs and imagine what is coming.

At the film's end, they are queuing up for trains.

We watched the movie about halfway through Bush's first term. I was deeply shaken. Not long afterwards, we started talking about leaving the country.

When I read about the United States government abducting and torturing people, behaving in these shockingly brutal and heinous ways, I can't find a substantive difference between this and the Holocaust. Fewer people, yes. Different philosophical underpinnings, of course. But the end result, on an individual basis...? People are seized, kidnapped, taken forcibly. They are told nothing, charged with nothing. They have no access whatsoever to the outside world. From there, a nightmare begins.

This is happening now.

4 comments:

L-girl said...

RobFromAlberta: You sent me a link to a CBC story about Maher Arar. This article actually starts with Arar's story, then goes into the background and other evidence. I knew the name sounded familiar.

Is the story well known there?

redsock said...

The US has concentration camps in Cuba -- there is really no other name for them. Unknown numbers of people there (easily thousands have been held) and an unknown number of executions.

There are also the stories of dozens of secret prisons run by the US military and CIA all over the world. We have no real idea how many people were disappeared and sent there.

And as the New Yorker article says, the US cannot bring these people to court because either (1) there is no evidence of any crime and/or (2) anything they confessed to would be inadmissble. So they simply keep them locked up month after month, year after year. In secret. For the duration of a war Cheney has said will last well beyond our lifetimes.

RobfromAlberta said...

Yes, the Maher Arar story has been front page news up here since day one. For those of us who like and respect America, this case has proven to be a hard pill to swallow. The injustice this family has been subjected is so extreme, most Canadians are bewildered it hasn't received more attention in the States.

L-girl said...

Rob, I can imagine, and I sympathize - because I once liked - no, loved - and respected America, too. The fact that this isn't even news in the US, that it's not even on the radar screen, speaks volumes.

Most people simply don't know about it, and if they do hear about it, it's linked to fear of terrorism, and has a very different slant.