Thursday, July 31, 2008

Live from PYM Annual Sessions

So here I am in the bustling university center at DeSales University --somewhere in the Lehigh Valley, PA-- waiting to facilitate my award-winning workshop on US-sponsored torture. (Just kidding about the award-winning part.)

There are Quakers milling around all over the place. Damn subversives, every one of them! Where's Ashcroft or Rumsfeld when you need them? I mean, the campus should be put on orange alert.*

OK, they claim that I'm going to have a live Internet connection in the classroom where I'll be facilitating the workshop. (Right now I'm sitting in a sort of common area, where there obviously is wireless access.) Joan is kindly letting me blog on her iBook, as my laptop is not yet unpacked.

I'm hoping to show a clip from the raspberry-winning TV show "24," a clip showing Superhero Bauer at the height of his interrogator's art. I'm told that some Young Friends might be coming, so I thought they'd appreciate the clip.

I've updated my workshop to include an excerpt from the report by Physicians for Human Rights, Broken Laws, Broken Lives. It's beyond me how anyone can read these testimonies by former detainees and not start to cry.

Well, better get set up...

*The opinions expressed in this blog are exclusively those of Liberata and do not necessarily reflect those of PYM. (Don't want to be forcibly ejected or anything!)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Break the chain of vengeance!

Received one of those sensational chain emails lately? You know, someone sends it to you, not even bothering to delete the string of former recipients who mindlessly just forwarded it on to the next person and the next person? Usually they come via (sorry to say it) AOL. I received one tonight. Black-and-white newsreel stills of concentration camp victims, emaciated bodies piled one on top of the other with the accompanying text in huge blue letters:

This week, the UK removed The Holocaust from its school curriculum because it 'offended' the Muslim population which claims it never occurred.

This is a frightening portent of the fear that is gripping the world and how easily each country is giving in to it.

Another edition of Gullible's Travels. You would think that just one of these purveyors of bad tidings would have taken the trouble to check Snopes and spare the rest of us this stupid hoax:

Pure Islamophobia.

This story, however, is no hoax. Do you suppose it will make the rounds of our email?

Omar Khadr: The interrogation

Guantanamo Bay video in full

"Kill me! Kill me!" he repeats...if you can bring yourself to watch the video in its entirety.

OK, I know about his father and his family. I don't care. Nothing justifies this. This is not interrogation. It is not juvenile detention. It is vengeance, pure and simple.

What really breaks my heart is that this interrogation took place in 2003. It's now 2008, and Khadr is still in Guantánamo. To me, this abuse and torture of a minor forced to fight in a battle not of his own making, seriously wounded, and then illegally incarcerated for 5 years instead of being released to the custody of his country's child services is a "frightening portent" of the inhumane creatures we have become.

Can't say exactly why, but I do still believe in a God who is more merciful than his creatures.