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Voices That Cannot Be Silenced
Jim Kirwan
Here's part of a plea that came from a torture victim, a nun who was tortured in Guatemala; but her words reveal far more about the real reasons behind why so many have chosen 'not-to-know' than many of us ever expected that we would ever see. Here's an excerpt.
"On November 2, 1989, I was burned with cigarettes more than 111 times. I was raped over and over again--and this was only the beginning.
"Anyone who has been tortured remains tortured." "Anyone who has suffered torture never again will be at ease in the world...faith in humanity, already cracked by the first slap in the face, then demolished by torture, is never acquired again."
From anonymous graves, voices still cry out. From clandestine prisons, in the midst of indescribable pain, we, my sisters and brothers, beg you to hear. Will you listen to what we alone know of this crime against humanity--what we know from the inside out?
Please hear us! Torture does not end with the release from some clandestine prison. It is not something we "get over." Simply, "looking forward" is not an option for us. Torture is a permanent invasion of our minds and our souls. Surviving is far worse that the actual physical torture itself. Those wounds heal in time--but the memories cling to us. Psychological torture is time without end. No one fully recovers from torture. The damage can never be undone.
And what an irony it is that today in the United States, the tortured so often are told that what they experienced was not even cruel and unusual, let alone torture. What an irony that those who oppose torture, oppose the violation of U.S law by acts of non-violent civil resistance can be sent to prison while those who ordered this brutality walk free, receiving the de facto impunity implied in your call to "look forward" and only forward.
Mr. President, there is ample reason to believe that important members of the previous administration may well have violated the law. Is it not your responsibility and that of the Attorney General to investigate that possibility? And if the law was violated, is it not your responsibility to hold perpetrators accountable, no matter how exalted their previous positions?
We who have paid the dreadful price of torture beseech you to determine just what happened to law and morality during the past eight years and to make those findings public. It is only by an independent investigation that we will learn the truth, and, if that investigation warrants, it will be by prosecution that we may hold to account those who violated the law and despoiled our national honor. Getting things right in the future depends on knowing what went wrong in the past."
What does she say about who we are and what we have become, that reveals so much about the dark side of American life today? Just think about this.
Are our lives not supposed to contain real values that supersede money or personal power, are we not obligated to not only have empathy for other human-beings, but to act to keep others as well-off as we ourselves would like to be:? Have we not already lost whatever it means to be alive if we can routinely allow the torture of our fellow-beings because we are too busy to notice those events which might call into question the very core of our own values or lack thereof, in this fear-filled world of nearly total corruption?
Many have wondered why so many Americans refuse to be awakened. This Nun casts light on that problem in a whole new way. IF we allow ourselves to see her plight, and the plight of millions of the others that we've been instrumental in torturing, that are everywhere around the world, then what ultimately does this say about our lives and our non-existent values?
What makes us so special that we get to determine who lives and who dies or who is tortured and who is spared? That's basic to all of life, and yet for the last nine years we have behaved as if we are above the laws of nature and the universe - could it be that some of us really think that we have become 'gods'!
Another voice that will not be stilled: This one comes from the mists of tortured-time, where the inhabitants of the Middle-East have been forced to live according to the artificiality of the time-table for the Greater State of Zionism.
"There is no subject more restricted, nor more controlled in the United States than a critical discussion of Israel. Balanced argument is ignored while each word is parsed -- and condemned. It's strange that we are free to rant and rave and point out the war crimes of our own administration -- of all other administrations throughout the world -- but not those of Israel. The few who dare to question the damage Israel has wrought throughout the Middle East for decades are immediately labeled "anti-Semitic," and are in danger of losing their friends, jobs, their reputations and, if they persist, their country -- for America has zero tolerance for those who recognize Israel's brutality.
Why is this? Are not crimes against humanity just that, regardless of who is committing them? For example, when one-and-a-half million human beings are imprisoned like caged animals, with no food, electricity, medical care, clean water, and then are exterminated like so many insects -- cut to pieces, burned to a crisp with illegal weapons banned by the Geneva Conventions -- is that not a crime against humanity? Are the men, women and children trapped behind the walls of Gaza with nowhere to run -- nowhere to hide -- not human?
Kill Them All
If you've been listening to the Israeli leadership for the past 60 years, the last 10 years -- the last year -- you know very well that Palestinians are many things, but not human. In 1982, former Likud leader and prime minister Menahim Begin said Palestinians "are beasts walking on two legs." The next year, Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces Raphael Eitan gloated, "When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle." And, in 1988, Yitzhak Shamir, a Likudnik elected Prime Minister twice, told the settlers taking over the Palestinian land, "The Palestinians will be crushed like grasshoppers...heads smashed against the boulders and walls."
"Despite the layers upon layers of justification Israel cites, there is only one reason it continues its heinous extermination of the Palestinian people -- because it can. Because the United States supports such atrocity. Because the United States finances, arms and equips Israel, and -- more important -- protects it from having to account for any of its crimes. So, who's to blame here? From whose hands does the blood of Palestinian men, women and children run? Israel or the United States? Who are the monsters?"
Nor is this article one-sided by any means: It continues:
"When I look to the Middle East and see human beings abused, without food or adequate health care, their infrastructure destroyed, their children slaughtered for sport, it is difficult for me to believe such barbaric savagery is being committed, or even condoned, by Jews who are aware of what is happening. American Jews, Jews in Israel, Jews around the world are vigorously opposed to such treatment. Far more Jews than non-Jews in this country speak out about Israel's relentless execution of Palestinians. They protest, engage in "die-ins," hold 24-hour vigils with signs heralding their dissent. They scream to heaven -- but their voices are silenced and the media steadfastly refuses to cover their views.
There was no mention in the US media of the rally in New York City in support of Gaza on the same day as the Schumer Screamer; no mention of IDF soldiers who refused to serve because of the violence against innocent Palestinians; no mention of the 700 Israeli citizens arrested in the first two weeks for protesting the assault; and no mention of a Jan 8 meeting of prominent Canadians who spoke out against the war on Gaza.
Toronto psychotherapist Judith Weisman, a Jew who is a member of Independent Jewish Voices, Jews for a Just Peace, the Jewish Women's Committee to End the Occupation of Palestine, and a founding member of Not In Our Name, said, "Zionism is the scourge of the Jewish people. It is Zionism that has created all of this."" (2)
Given the hellish nature of the way we have allowed so many to treat others on this tiny blue planet; isn't it time that we began to look much more deeply into what and who we have become ­ so that real change can and will occur inside us, which is the only place where any such change can ever really even begin to happen? This is the change that is coming and it will be unstoppable. The "Voices That Cannot Be Silenced" will insure that this will happen, because just as the voices of the dead natives are coming back and bringing with them so much of what we have forgotten that we did to them-so too must we finally recognize and punish all those that have colluded in order to turn this world upon its' head. Like this native Ghost-Dancer, we must begin to look around and begin to differentiate between that which lives and that which is nothing more than a living­death, that no one really wants to live? It helps if you read the footnotes.
1) Nun Torture Victim informs President & Us
2) Fading into the Mist
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