Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People

Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People: The Dynamics of Torture
An Examination of the Practice of Torture in Three Democracies by John Conroy
Weight: 6.4 lbs
Method of Disposal: Donating or giving away. If I were you I would take this book from me.

I am currently reading Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism with rapt attention. I feel like I cannot put it down, though it is taking me forever to finish it. It is so difficult to read, but it is impossible to ignore. It makes me feel overwhelmed and powerless, but it also inspires me to resist. I will write about it again when I am done with it, but if you have not read it you should and if you have you should talk to me about it, even if you disagree with it-- particularly if you disagree with it. I am about 100 pages away from the end.
In the mean time, I am getting rid of a different book. Unspeakable Acts was handed down to me with several other books that were equally grim. I did not read it right away, but the day I picked it up I did not want to put it down. Or I did, but again felt like I shouldn’t. If torture is something we, as a nation, will be taking part in we should have at least a vague understanding of it. Conroy examines torture that took place in the United States (Chicago) and in Northern Ireland (by the British). He also describes Palestinians being tortured by the Israeli Army. He explores who tortures and how they rationalize what they are doing, the effects on those being tortured, and the faultiness of the information gained through torture.

Conroy writes that “ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process." This is so scary and yet so obvious to me now. There was a time in the past where I would have doubted it, but now I feel like I have seen people become numb to so many things first hand. I can envision the people I am surrounded with doing what they feel like they have to do for the greater good. I can see how the greater good becomes convoluted. I have read about the psychological experiments, the deplorable histories of the oppressed, the news.

I think you should read this book and, right now, you have the chance to get your own copy, free. Take it. Maybe if we all read about torture we will be less likely to take part in torture. If nothing else, we will have a better understanding of ourselves and others.

No comments:

Post a Comment