Stop Torturing Me!

Note: This is an archived site. All articles and sections were written for specific audiences, for particular purposes. Without the proper context, a given piece can be puzzling or off-putting. Ditto for the various sections. Please only read what is directly recommended to you. This is a first draft, Unedited…. Thursday Update Question added January 27th: Both Egypt and Israel have tortured countless souls for a very long time with U.S. cooperation/support. I trust that the reason I haven’t heard back yet from NRCAT Headquarters has nothing to do with my belief in the thrust of the recent Laura Flanders article or Robert Fisk article, the fact that they resonate with me deeply. Friday (Jan. 28th) Update Concern: Still no contact. Amazing… with the no biz weekend looming. What’s going on? Now I’m wondering whether or not the sweet people at NRCAT understand all the different forms of torture. Like, say, what’s delineated in the 3rd paragraph from the bottom of Paul Street’s ZNet article of today ns-before-and-after-obama-s-state-of-the-union-address-by-paul-street. I sure hope so. ‘Cause I’m sure that lots of them are using Foxconn Iphones these torturous days.

Stop Torturing Me!
by Ricardo Bueyhombre of Catalunya and Richard Oxman of California
Written for Sala Beckett of Barcelona, Spain, Sherwood Ross and all the faith-based communities participating in NRCAT’s agenda.

“I remember when Tipper Gore spoke out against what she considered hardcore rock lyrics. Why can’t Michelle Obama speak out against Kongregate’s games of torture for children?” — the author’s neighbor

“I felt his gaze, I heard his moan…”
– Edna St. Vincent Millay, Renascence

“Est-ce que j’ai dormi, pendant que les autres souffraient?” — Samuel Beckett

In the late 1950s Jerome Lindon attracted notoriety by publishing La Question, a book about the French military’s use of torture in Algeria. Immediately fined for inciting military disobedience, Lindon remained faithful to the fight against torture in Algeria in spite of the severe personal consequences he suffered. “I am Samuel Beckett’s publisher,” he explained. “When one has this chance, the least one can do is defend the conditions of freedom where they are threatened, fight barbarity.” [The one time I met Beckett for a very short encounter, he somehow managed to cite the example of Lindon's supreme social consciousness as a twenty-six-year-old.]

The least that we can do is to call a spade a spade when it comes to the increasing torture perpetrated by the U.S. When Lindon began his protest against the use of torture there was some question as to whether or not there was (sufficient) definitive documentation to demand change in France. Today, the scorecard is absolutely in with regard to both official U.S. policy and off-the-record military implementation of torture. Anyone who thinks otherwise is suffering from Ostrich Syndrome. And anyone who thinks that they can live their lives oblivious to these facts is not very smart, to put it mildly. For the torture will torture us all in the end, has already begun to do so. Beyond repair.

Yet there is a window of opportunity.

We must say, “Stop Torturing Me!”

Counterpunch has announced that in its latest newsletter,

“Joann Wypijewski reports on the growth of the U.S. torture archipelago and on the church-led campaign led by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) which is striking a spark amid the darkness.”

I talked to one of the Board of Directors for NRCAT today (1/26/11). Very sweet person, well-meaning. Deeply involved in making a difference, planting seeds for attitudinal change.

That Board of Director — let’s call the person Leslie, so we don’t know gender here — mentioned that one of the things that NRCAT was working on was applying pressure to jpoliticians for the creation of a Congressional Investigating Committee. Fine, as far as it goes, but as I pointed out to Leslie following such obsolete models for changing the status quo won’t go very far. Proof? They NEVER have in all of U.S. history. They — by nature — are designed to whitewash.

I do have an alternative action that I proposed to Leslie… for her to possibly pass on to her faith-based collegues nationwide for their kind consideration. A proposal which follows a fresh
paradigm. I trust that the decision-makers at NRCAT will get back to me shortly. For I made it
very clear that I’m not attached to my idea, that I’m quite open to discussing options. A lot can be done right away, as long as the NRCAT people can get to the point of acknowledging that the powers that be are playing with them, tolerating all their obsolete paradigms for action easily. _and_former
and s provide other angles worthy of consideration immediately. Just check out the opening words of Rocky Anderson in the former; they’re mild but germane. In the latter Democracy Now! interview with Harry Belafonte, my hero Harry disappoints me. He speaks out against Obama’s policies, but not strongly enough. He doesn’t call him a torturer. A torturer who knows very well what he’s doing, violating international law, making our collective scene infinitely more dangerous overall than it was when he took office. In short, Harry doesn’t call a spade a spade. (Neither does Democracy Now!, by the way.)

Rather, he emphasizes the need for the public to put pressure on Obama, so that he can do the right thing. He draws an analogy between what FDR told A. Phillip Randolph back in the 40s, and what Obama told Harry, and has been telling U.S. citizens since becoming President: The onus is on you! The burden of action is on you! You have to push the Obamas to take a stand against Kongregate. The obligation is yours to create critical mass sassing torture games for children. [Pause.] Uh, uh.

I don’t know if Harry gets a bit blind by bathing in the Radiance of Close Proximity to the President, by being invited here and there, being made to feel that he’s got an ear at times, even if it’s on the fly. I simply don’t know what the real reason is that neither Belafonte nor Danny Glover nor any high profile (mainstream) black or white celebrity, icon… anyone isn’t calling Obama Barack the Terrible, Barack the Torturer.

But I say, “Stop Torturing Me!”

And I beg everyone — even if it’s only out of enlightened self-interest — to join hands in solidarity with me. So that when Leslie responds to my recent email, I can say I have this one and that one on board with us… to try something new together. So that when Sala Beckett Theatre says, “Okay, we’ll produce that play that you say will create a watershed in history, accomplishing what Brecht couldn’t in the theatre, forcing institutional change,” I can reply that I’m their guy.

It’ll be fun playing Senor Bodhisattva of the Theatre in Catalonia with my piece, “Stop Torturing Me!” Because — although most people I meet don’t seem to know — I do know why Michelle Obama doesn’t speak out against torture games.

Contact Ricardo at Or telephone him in California at 831-688-8038. For what it’s worth, I offered to work (free) 24×7 on behalf of NRCAT’s agenda several days ago. I’ve heard nothing back from their East Coast Headquarters, but as the article indicates I did receive a response from one Board of Director today. I love the fact that their priorities include addressing the torture which takes place routinely in our domestic prisons. That said, it’s not encouraging… that I wasn’t contacted earlier by others. Such an organization needs to be operating ’round the clock expeditiously conducting dialogue with all interested grassroots parties. For the “opposition” is running their torturous game at all hours, totally prepared to deal with part-time protesters. I make no apologies for being so firm on this fundamental point.

I remember Flannery O’Connor telling me, “The title of the story was ‘The Life You Save May Be Your Own’, but it could have been, of course, ‘The Life You Save Is Your Own.’