Tuesday, May 03, 2011


For my flight home today I bought a New York Times for $.99 on my Kindle. And read the entire thing.

The article "Tugging at Threads to Unspool Stories of Torture" broke my heart and made me want to hold every one of these people and heal their forever-broken hearts. It also made me feel physically sick, and at times I found it hard to continue reading. I do not think I was reading for sensationalism. I know torture exists. I hate that it happens. We cannot live in denial of it. Hence, I think it appropriate to write, and read, an essay like this one.

Here is one of many so very sad and evil stories.

Another client at the center, a 37-year-old man who asked to be identified only as R., said that in 2009 he was kidnapped from a street in Mosul — blindfolded, handcuffed and thrown into the trunk of a car by assailants he thought were members of Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Speaking through a translator, he said he was taken because his sister’s husband worked as an interpreter for the American forces; the husband had already been given asylum in the United States. A sign had been posted on their home: “This is the house of the interpreter.”

Neatly dressed in an ironed, long-sleeved shirt, light-colored pants and leather shoes, R. said he had worked in his family’s meat and poultry business. He spoke in a soft, expressionless voice, sometimes rubbing his fingers together or plucking at the fabric of his pants. His face was the picture of sadness.

He was held in a small room jammed full of prisoners, including a woman, Mariam, whose husband was an interpreter for the Americans. She was tortured in front of the other prisoners. The captors beat her, threw water and salt on her and tied her to metal bars that were attached to the wall and electrified via a generator.

“They raped her more than once in front of us,” R. said, looking down as he spoke. “We wanted to help her. We gave her water. But we could not help her, because they were there. I gave her water. She was probably Christian.

“And then she died, two or three days after she was raped. There were four guys who raped four of us."

I put down my Kindle and pick up a magazine. I open to a page advertising $3000 watches. We live in a sick world.