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all lives matter

December 18, 2014

Suffice it to say that I find torture to be beyond the pale, and I don’t think we should be doing things like rectally feeding anyone as “a means of behavior control.” But what concerns me more than the torture itself is the lack of outrage at such glaring inhumanity and injustice, even after the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report describing some of the techniques used, including the aforementioned form of sexual assault, and the fact that 1/5 of the detainees were “wrongfully held.”

It’s especially frightening to me that a recent PEW poll shows a majority of those polled believe the CIA’s methods were justified, and that the information gleaned helped prevent terror attacks despite the fact that the report suggests the exact opposite (assuming that’s even a viable justification in the first place). This should engender as much public outrage, in my opinion, as the events in Ferguson, New York, etc. The more so, I think, because each is an concrete example of abuse of state power characterized by a lack of accountability. The two are intertwined—they’re multiple heads of the same political-economic hydra.

Unfortunately, many people feel they deserve to be put into cages and tortured, even though many were despite being innocent (or at least not proven guilt of any crime). And many doubt the validity of the report, even though people ‘in the know’ like Dick Cheney are going around defending some of the previously unknown torture techniques like rectal feeding described in the report. Worst of all, many are indifferent to such acts of cruelty.

What complicates matters is that it’s part of a broader, systematic problem that’s beyond any one individual, making it difficult to face in the first place. I know when I often ignore the news, for example, it’s because it’s usually overwhelming and I feel helpless to do anything about it except express my impotent outrage on social media. But seeing the responses from the growing #blacklivesmatter movement and others like it, I think people can collectively make a difference and force changes to be made, especially if they’re able to connect the dots and realize that these issues are just symptoms of a bigger, systematic problem.

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