Torture is haunting humanity like a persistent spectre

Torture is Haunting Humanity.

Suspects are being tortured in Turkey as you read this. Torture merely haunts us here in the safety of the Irish state, but it’s a grim reality for our fellow humans in Turkey. Amnesty International claims that detainees from the attempted coup in Turkey are being held against their will and tortured.[i] The rest of the world watched with bated breath as members of the military attempted a coup on the Turkish government not even a fortnight ago. Yet now I look on in horror as those same people, and possibly even ones that had no hand in the coup, are falsely imprisoned and tortured.

While I understand that the Turkish government must show strength to prevent any further coup attempts, I cannot condone torture. It has existed since the dawn of what we call ‘civilisation’ and while it’s widely known to be barbaric, it’s still being enacted by governments on a global scale each year. This is regardless of the United Nations considerations on the matter:

“Having regard to article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which provide that no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,”[ii]

Torture is considered inhumane by the United Nations, yet it continues to happen. Hundreds, possibly thousands of Turkish citizens, imprisoned for the right reasons or not, are being tortured. Some for information, some for punishment, some without the courtesy of knowing what they have been accused of. According to Amnesty’s report, the torture doesn’t stop at beatings, it also includes rape.[iii]

I’m saddened by the fact that we live in a time where these horrific acts still occur, and knowing that we are fundamentally capable of these acts weights heavy on my heart. We should not subject another human being to torture regardless of the wrong they are accused of. Especially when there is cross contamination of innocent people and those who could use their positions of authority to commit these disgusting acts. Torture has been found by scholars as ineffective as it often produces either false information or confessions because those being tortured just want the pain to stop.[iv] There is no reason for torture to be used by any governing body and it should not continue.

Humans experience time in a linear sequence, and clearly, we are still in a cruel stage of our civilisation, regardless of how advanced many of us claim to be. Although some believe we may reach a point in humanity in which horrible acts like this will no longer occur, my hope is wearing thin. Cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker believes that human history is becoming less violent and violent acts themselves are in decline.[v] Perhaps this true, and this idea was introduced to me during my undergraduate anthropology course. While this may be enough to feed our hope that those of us who consider these violent acts abhorrent may now outnumber those that are still capable of committing these atrocities, does it still justify those that have died by violence at the hand of another human?

I’ve used the word torture numerous times to allow the repugnance of this reality to sink in. Why we still tolerate it confounds my waking moments. I believe that it’s time we put this specter to rest for good, so we may only be haunted by the horrors of the past, rather than allow our fellow humans to suffer in the present.

Copyright © 2016 Thinkingmoon.com – All rights reserved

Did you like this post? Why not check out my last one?

https://thinkingaheadblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/18/please-it-has-to-stop/

One of the articles I have cited is Contanzo and Gerrity’s 2009 work entitled “The Effects and Effectiveness of Using Torture as an Interrogation Device: Using Research
 to Inform the Policy Debate.” It is worth your time reading it if you are as horrified as I am. Here is a link:

https://www.cgu.edu/pdffiles/sbos/costanzo_effects_of_interrogation.pdf

Endnotes:

[i] https://www.rt.com/news/353032-turkish-authorities-torture-detained/

 

[ii] http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CAT.aspx

 

[iii] https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/07/turkey-independent-monitors-must-be-allowed-to-access-detainees-amid-torture-allegations/

 

[iv] PDF Page 4. https://www.cgu.edu/pdffiles/sbos/costanzo_effects_of_interrogation.pdf

 

[v] https://www.ted.com/talks/steven_pinker_on_the_myth_of_violence?language=en

 

Please, it has to stop.

Please, it has to stop.

There’s a feud happening between Swift and Kardashian. Seems he said/she said rules are being enacted, snap chat has been utilised. In reality, this sort of feud is helping no one. The core issues of the feud are being ignored, and now Swift is suffering at the hands of the media. Kardashian’s influence only incites hatred towards Swift and it needs to stop. While I don’t have one Swift album in my possession and she is not someone I particularly like, it doesn’t stop the fact that she has worked hard for what she has. It was aptly described in this article from the Guardian that:

“Justin Bieber caused thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to his neighbour’s property by egging it, and allegedly spat on his fans. He repeatedly storms off stage in the middle of concerts and talks openly about his relationships – yet he still can be redeemed.

Swift writes catchy songs about some ex-boyfriends, appears surprised when she wins awards, complains about how she has been represented in a Kanye West song, and is never photographed with a hair out of place. Those are her crimes. And they are apparently unforgivable.”[i]

Consider this for a moment, this is a problem that arises when you are a strong woman. Hard work is how you accomplish your goals. Rare are the moments where success is born out of pure luck, most people work hard and have earned their achievements. If you are a man, this ‘grind’ is seen as a good quality, however, women still suffer in having this quality, and it has to stop. From all angles, from other women, from men. Honestly, it’s too much. Equality is only equality when successful stops being threatening when it’s from a woman.

Yes, it was probably easier for Swift in certain regards considering her demographics and background, I am not disputing that. However, Swift did still work hard to get where she is. Attacking her or her success is the wrong way to tackle these issues. It’s sending the wrong message to young girls, whom I honestly want growing up believe they have zero restrictions on who they can be and what they can do regardless of their background.

Whatever tags you assign to yourself, woman, man, black, white, gay, straight, jazz composer, finger painting artist, they’re all just tags when you lay yourself down to rest. What becomes problematic is the propensity of harm towards others based on these tags. Quandeel Baloch was strangled to death by her brother in what he described as an “Honor Killing.”[ii] Baloch was a successful media persona, and this success caused incitement and rage strong enough to see her death at the hands of her own brother. We need to keep feminism alive, and this should be in all parts of our lives, covering even our reactions to a feud on social media.

Before you start your cries of, “feminism is outdated we should all just be humanists,” think of Baloch. The death she suffered shows how much we still need feminism, among both women and men. Yes, I’m also a humanist. No, I don’t think anyone should be ever be terrorised, hurt or killed for how they define themselves. Unfortunately, we’re just not evolved enough yet to let feminism go. Aggression towards woman spans from the general hatred of Swift to the killing of Baloch and many things before, between and after. I’m just reiterating what millions have said before me. Please, it has to stop.

Copyright © 2016 Thinkingmoon.com – All rights reserved

Did you like this post? Why not check out my last one?

https://thinkingaheadblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/14/turn-off-the-light/

P.S If you are in any doubt regarding sexism, just visit this Twitter page. You’ll be frightened, saddened but hopefully inspired to enact change:

https://twitter.com/EverydaySexism

P.P.S For ladies that want to spread girl love check out this Twitter page while I thank the universe for ladies like Superwomen:

https://twitter.com/SpreadGirlLove

Endnotes:

[i] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jul/18/taylor-swift-kanye-west-kim-kardashian-west-famous-reaction

[ii] http://edition.cnn.com/2016/07/18/asia/pakistan-qandeel-baloch-brother-confession/index.html?sr=twcnni071816pakistan-qandeel-baloch-brother-confession0813AMVODtopLink&linkId=26658315

 

 

Turn off the Light

Do you recycle? Do you reuse? Would you turn the light off in a room if you weren’t in it? Or are you the kind of person that finds life too short for these trifling details? If you are the latter, I honestly think you are wrong. Our abuse of the environment has reached a very important moment in its history and there is no easy way to say this, it may already be too late.

We are experiencing the beginning of environmental issues scientists have been warning us of for decades. While most of us in our cosy positions in the ‘Western’ world can deny it, there are people in the world who cannot. A quality inherent of humanity is our inability to act on problems before they escalate. We have been doing this in regards to climate change for decades now.

According to CharityWater.org around 43% of the rural population of Kenya lack access to water.[i] Water. The most basic human necessity and these people do not have access to it. Kenya’s terrible drought is not a coincidence. It’s linked to the environment, and climate change.

There will come a day the world leaders will be hiding out on higher ground while those they are sworn to protect are washed away by rising sea levels. If you’d like some advice, become someone important. That’ll be the only way you’ll have a chance of surviving the rising sea levels and weather anomalies if this inaction continues.

If you’re thinking, ‘our illustrious leaders will never allow that to happen’, you can think again. If we’re allowing people to starve to death in Kenya because global governments will not commit to CO2 reduction levels, then when the time comes and it’s you that’s in peril, they will turn a blind eye.

While I understand this is a pessimistic view of the future, it’s also a logical one. If life has proven anything to humanity over and over, it can be horribly unfair. We are still at the stage where we can look away because our own families are not suffering, but if our leaders don’t agree to changes that are more permanent soon, we may be the ones starving to death.

I myself am not a perfect advocate of the environment, and the neoliberal market has made it difficult for the individual to make a difference. However, we cannot entirely blame the individual. Time and time again, UN summits have proposed frameworks for countries and when they fail to meet their targets, nothing is done. They just meet once again and to draft new frameworks. We are in a constant cycle of frameworks and failure.[ii]

Some hard choices will have to be made by global governments and while we may end up suffering small indignities in the short term, our long-term safety must be considered. Those in authority and positions of power cannot maintain acting like petulant children. Real change is needed, comfortable people need to be inconvenienced, we cannot continue forging this path or it will bury us all.

Ultimately if you are concerned about humanitarian issues and want to help outside of charity work and donations, consider your environmental impact. Those articles that tell you “10 easy steps to reduce your carbon footprint,” honestly, read what they are saying. Even a simple thing like having 1 – 2 meat-free days a week would have a huge impact if we all did it. Or turning off that light when you leave the room, because if you don’t, someday you might not have a room left of one’s own to do so.

Did you like this post? Why not check out my last one?

Copyright © 2016 Thinkingmoon.com – All rights reserved

https://thinkingaheadblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/06/we-should-keep-talking/

Reduce your carbon footprint:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rosie-osmun/how-to-reduce-your-family_b_8940860.html

[i]http://www.charitywater.org/projects/countries/kenya/?utm_medium=ppc&utm_source=adwords&utm_campaign=problemgeo&utm_content=kenyadrought1&gclid=CKDwq__W8s0CFdZAGwodsKcIqA

[ii] http://newsroom.unfccc.int/climate-action/global-climate-action-agenda/

 

We should keep talking

When I picture the Earth in my mind’s eye, I often get the geographical locations of countries muddled. Whereas I have other talents, remembering bordering countries has always eluded me. So I often go to Google Maps to remind myself. When I do that, I’m reminded how close Europe is to countries whose daily existences are torn apart by war and dissidence. This saddens me.

People are highlighting the lack of media coverage for the bombings in Bagdad and Istanbul and the fact that Ethiopia is suffering its worst drought in over 60 years.[i]  While it’s on people’s social media and we’re having conversations about it, deep down we know it’s not enough. It’s how we categorise our fellow human beings. We call them something else to distance ourselves. Like the word ‘refugee’ for example. When we read stories about the ‘refugee’ child that was found on a beach, it classifies that child differently in our brains. What we really should be saying is “a child was found dead on a beach,’ because that boy is so much more than a refugee. He didn’t apply that classification to himself, and if we could ask him, surely that wouldn’t be the word he would use to describe himself.

Certainly, I’m not the first person to say this and I won’t be the last, but it’s important for me to state my position. That ‘refugee’ was a human. A citizen of Earth, whose fellow citizens failed them, and we are still failing them. What are we doing? Why are we so quick to separate Europe from the Middle East or African nations?

If you’ve never done this. Go to Google Maps, and just see how close Iraq is to Europe. In an age where 1 in 4 Irish shoppers buy from China,[ii] which is a distance of about 8150 kilometers from Ireland, Iraq is closer at around 6010 kilometers. We’ve watched so much media filtered from the U.S.A that Iraq feels much further away. (Bearing in mind that New York is about 4900 kilometers away from us here in Ireland and Los Angeles is 8190 kilometers.

So the only way for me to understand is to read as much of the media coverage from Bagdad, Istanbul, and Ethiopia as possible, in order to picture myself there, and honestly, it’s terrifying. People in Bagdad are struggling to find their loved ones, and some will have to wait for the confirmation from DNA for conclusive identification. An article from CNN highlighted an important point[iii], death is death. The sadness and pain is felt the same way, and just as powerfully each time it happens. We cannot say death is less painful, or passively cross it off as business as usual because of where it has happened. People are losing their loved ones.

There’s a growing ISIS presence in Turkey and the Ataturk airport bombings are just one example of how scared people must feel living their daily lives. There are pictures and flowers in the airport remembering those who died in the attack, yet business resumes.

I wish I could help, comfort those who are in dire need right now, and I know that isn’t possible. All I can hope to accomplish is continuing to spread the already important message: all lives matter. The more we distance ourselves and protect our feelings, the more we perform a terrible disservice to our fellow human beings. People’s lives are being forcefully ended, we should keep talking.

Copyright © 2016 Thinkingmoon.com – All rights reserved

If you liked this post, why not check out my last one?

https://wordpress.com/view/thinkingaheadblog.wordpress.com

Sources:

[i] International Medical Corps: https://internationalmedicalcorps.org/ethiopia?gclid=CNXHmfLG3s0CFZEy0wodRJYBfw

[ii] The Irish Times:

http://www.irishtimes.com/business/retail-and-services/one-in-four-irish-online-shoppers-buy-from-china-1.2447920

[iii] CNN :

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/07/04/middleeast/iraq-baghdad-death-knocks/

 

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