Friday, June 1, 2007

Torture Awareness Month

You may have read about the latest Guantánamo suicide. In memoriam, and also in observance of June which is Torture Awareness Month, I offer

Litany of the Tortured Detainee

I was betrayed for 4,000 pieces of silver
the price on my head, a fortune in dollars

Be my voice.

Bound I was dragged away
herded with others onto the back of a truck

Be my voice.

Bounty hunters, Peshawar police
called me a terrorist, Al-Qaeda

Be my voice.

I am a tradesman, a shopkeeper,
a farmer, a teacher

Be my voice.

I am a son, a husband,
a brother, a father

Be my voice.

I was a boy, a stray
men thrust a rifle in my hand

Be my voice.

In a cramped cell I turned 18
my rite of passage, the trip to Guantánamo

Be my voice.

I heard men screaming at Bagram
dogs barking at Abu Ghraib

Be my voice.

In an orange suit, a bag over my head
I was forced to kneel for hours

Be my voice.

They interrupted my prayer
roused me from sleep

Be my voice.

Blasted music into my ears
bright lights into my eyes

Be my voice.

Stood me naked in the cold
naked before a woman

Be my voice.

They attached electrodes to my genitals
raped me with a stick

Be my voice.

Until I said what they wanted
and signed their documents

Be my voice.

For 5 years I have not seen
my family, my children

Be my voice.

Imprisoned without term
condemned without proof

Be my voice.

Wasted and sick
depressed and despairing

Be my voice.

No advocate, no defender
no rights, no hope

Be my voice.


Brothers and sisters, let us pray:

O Lord, in their desperation prisoners deprived of human and legal rights call to you. Subjected to humiliation and torture they cry out: Why have you forgotten me? Infuse us with your Spirit, make us instruments of your compassion, that we may work tirelessly for their deliverance. Lord, like the widow whose dead son you restored to life, we too long to rejoice when prisoners are restored to freedom and reunited with their loved ones. Only then will we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

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