Torture Essay, Research Paper
Throughout chapter twelve of the book Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People it concentrates on the whole notion of victims and how torture can affect ones self. In this chapter, the author John Conroy takes us through a series of events that happen from the cause of torture. To understand the notion of torture one must first understand what torture is, torture is when a person or group of persons inflict physical or mental pain and agony on another person or persons as a means of punishment or coercion. The infliction s can range from being blindfolded and starved to being beat and killed. The worst thing for these victims is that they have zero control of what is happening to them and the fact that their lives are in the hands of the torturer. These surviving victims are not always fine after their experience; in fact there are many that became ill. To prove this statement to be true there are a few good examples in this chapter.
In this chapter Conroy talks about a survey done by Dr. Ole Vedel Rasmussen, this survey basically studied two hundred torture survivors who had been tortured by the African National Congress. Within his study, Dr. Rasmussen wanted to know at point were the victims most frighten. It seemed as though it were in between torture sessions, for the victims, there is often no break, the mental anguish filling the void between sessions . This shows how the victim becomes hopeless because things that are happening to him/her is out of their control and Conroy mentions the sense of unpredictability further undermines psychological stability (pg.170) basically meaning that the victim is becoming mentally disturbed. The Irena Martinez case was similar to the previous case to where as she felt she had no control over what was happening to her. She had been stripped and beat to the point to which she had just gave up hope and wanted to die. I believe everyone has a breaking point and once that is reached the mind can make you do things you probably would not have did in your normal state. Martinez said you don t have any rights, you don t have any voice, you are neither alive or dead, you are desaparecido (pg.171) this relates back to having zero control. This turns the victim to take their hate and anger and turn it into positive compassion because they start to feel a dependency on their torturer. This also in our terms is called brown nosing or sucking up so that the torturer will have some sympathy for them.
One of the things I find very peculiar, was the fact that when some of the victims encountered their torturers they pretended as though nothing had happen and were rather nice to them. I know it that had been me personally in any of these situations I know for a fact that I would have probably kill them. Some torturers tried to make it seem as though they really did not enjoy what they were doing it was just part of the job. I think these guys just felt a little guilty for their actions and they tried to convince their own selves that it was just part of the job. For example there was a French torturer who knew of Algerians that had been tortured and after being released returned to establish friendships with their old torturers. I found this absurd, that you would even want to willingly see them again, these people were obviously brainwashed. The Mnangagwa case was a little bizarre as well, why in the world would you promote two guys that use to abuse you? I do not believe in that statement kill them with love or kindness, especially in these terms. You can kind of relate this to women who get abused by their men and after a few beatings start to believe it was her fault and she deserved everything she got. Mnangagwa became the man that zapped his manhood from him, he became powerful and he too became that demon that he always feared. In Conroy s book he explains his logic behind this way of thinking. He said throughout history prisoners have survived by collaboration and conversion sometimes prisoners, facing torture take on the values and behavior of their captors and become torturers themselves (pg.174).
Being tortured does not only effect you physically but psychologically as well. Let look at World War 2 and the Holocaust for instance there was studies done on some of the people who survived being a POW or the concentration camps. These studies showed that those people had illnesses that stemmed from headaches to impaired concentration to fear and anxiety to depression. Can abuse affect you mentally? Of course you do not have to be a rocket scientist to know that, anytime you have stress in general you increase your chance of having some kind of psychological dysfunction. I know personally people who have been physically and mentally abuse and they crack. These are just normal everyday people in our today s society, so I can imagine what those people were going through.
In conclusion I feel that this chapter was good but it never taught me anything that I did not already know. Conroy explained how he thought torture was senseless, I don t condone torture but lets face it the tactic works people eventually talk if not they will die. I would have to say in some cases those victims did control their own fate. If it comes down to me being killed or giving up information I m going to spill my guts.