Torture is a virus of the mind and the cure is absolute prohibition

electron microscope image of the polio virus

Torture is an organism that lives in the dark, it's done in secret and seems to be successful in staying as such. It's more successful in hiding when it's inexplicable. The fewer the (logical) reasons behind torture, the more your testimony will be difficult to believe and the more questions will be raised around your absence. Even from people who know you best.

This organism evolved the ability to live in the dark. From being part of the law in the middle ages to a rejected practice. So to survive, torture denies its own existence (read: torturers deny the existence of their actions) which is the best way to keep a secret and stay in the dark and avoid rejection (read: persecution/justice).

The ticking time bomb scenario is an idea that torture has spread to make itself less objectionable and thus nourishes it. Other more primitive ideas include deterrence.

Logically, asking 'why did they torture someone' implies that there can be an acceptable reasons for it to happen. Thus devoting part of our mental capacity to come up with excuses to make it less bewildering and thus less objectionable (like the ticking time bomb scenario). It's our nature, it's how our brain works. It tries to make sense out of things. This creates, unknowingly, a crack in our morality for torture to inhabit.

Do people ask why someone was infected with Polio? There is how, but the answer for why Polio isn't really an answer; it's either God or bad luck. People ask why HIV and got mixed up with how and created the stigma. Well you can ask Polio for why it picked someone to infect and the honest answer will be to self-propagate. The same thing with torture, any reason given is for self-preservation. I know this sounds absurd, but torture tries to propagate itself.


Blindfolding is commonly used by security forces that physically torture people. It works by making the victim disoriented and fearful. A person will lose his orientation to place and the sense of direction first. Then, if applied long enough for more than a day, it can make some experience visual hallucinations. It makes a blow, a kick or an electric shock unpredictable and thus far more distressful.

These were some of the effects on the victim and they were quite straightforward. But what about the effects on the perpetrator?

Here is what a former Israeli military commander said in an interview to the BBC:

''Maybe [the kid is] blindfolded for him not to see the base and how we're working... But I believe maybe we put the blindfold because we don't want to see his eyes. You don't want him to look at us - you know, beg us to stop, or cry in front of us. It's a lot easier if we don't see his eyes.

''When the kid is sitting there in the base, I didn't do it, but nobody is thinking of him as a kid, you know - if there is someone blindfolded and handcuffed, he's probably done something really bad. It's OK to slap him, it's OK to spit on him, it's OK to kick him sometimes. It doesn't really matter.''

Why was the death of Mervat Abdel Fattah not as spectacular?

140 characters of trauma

These are concise formulations of 8 different cases I have seen. All are in 140 characters or less. All people mentioned are refugees.

This is just an experiment with this format.

Best astroturfing fart in the northern hemisphere

Not all humans are capable of producing flammable flatus. Flatus is flammable because it contains Methane.

A clique of NDP politicians created this on their own:

From the DailyNewsEgypt:

CAIRO: An NGO was recently launched to repair relations between Egypt’s citizens and its police force, it was announced Thursday.

Named “Police and People” and created by former Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher, the organization aims to bridge the ever widening gap between the police and citizens, as well as foster awareness about the proper role for each.

Which one is wrong? HIV or Homosexuality?

      ``Habitual passive sodomite takes knee-chest position without shame during examination." —From Principles of Forensic Medicine by staff members of the Forensic & Clinical Toxicology Department. Ain Shams University Faculty of Medicine.

Forensic examinations to prove habitual non-violent anal penetration are inherited from the textbooks of Victorian era medicine[1].

There are no peer-reviewed research that provides sound evidence in that area[2]. Because sodomy was decriminalized in western Europe by the beginning of the 20th century[1]. While countries that still considers such acts criminal are not publishers of sound peer-reviewed research.

Today, most of the descriptions inherited from old text books are easily discounted.

My friends' attitudes towards torture

I wanted to test the hypothesis that people would think torture is more justifiable for convicts/felons, i.e. people who did commit crimes in the past.

I decided to throw a question to my Facebook friends. Just for the fun of it and to see if this would result in anything interesting.

The questions were sent to 248 Facebook friends. My friends were randomly split in to two groups, each were presented with a slightly different question.