Normalization of Torture and the Oubliette

Over the last decade, and during the Virus Outrage in particular, the countries we still nostagically call democracies have seen the return of medieval practices of oppression. The oubliette – the hidden cell, where people can be slammed and forgotten, as the French expression has it – is with us again.

And to go with it we now find systematic and bestial torture being practiced as routine by the US and many other countries under the glib justifications that have been used by evil since the departure from Eden.

Most of us are, I am sad to say, walking past this every day, such is the scale of the assault of Mr Global on our societies:

  • Guantanamo Bay instead of being closed by Obama, as he promised, in his first betrayal of the American Constitution has continued to this day, despite widespread knowledge of the disgusting practices so movingly portrayed in The Mauritanian, one of the few truthful media searchlights on this hellish place.
  • Many of the people arrested after the Capitol excitements of Jan 6th last year are still in solitary confinement suffering inhuman treatment and with no sign of the trials which the aged gangster in the White House would prefer to avoid.
  • In the UK the government has binned every moral and legal principal to keep Assange in their oubliette in the east end of London without trial and with clear evidence of an original allegation in Sweden that was total fabrication.

You do not have to believe in the guilt or innocence of people to be horrified at all this. And you do not have to be a genius to divine that the fact that those who have so betrayed the trust placed in them to uphold laws and constitutions without so far any consequences for them feel emboldened to more of the same.

There is much more than public health and cod flu at stake here. We must reshape the world we live in, no less. It is heartening to see how many of us already have the strongest sense of that, and of our real power to do that.