The End Of Torure: Why The Guantanamo Bay Should Be Closed

There is always somebody with more information, money, and power. Usually it is the government, for various reasons, that will not give out information regarding torture. Therefore, whatever we see on TV, read in books, hear from other and sometimes experience ourselves will be the only base of our knowledge on this subject. There is not much we can do to change the current situation, because the government will make the final decision anyway. Even though America is known by its democracy. I strongly believe that torture is a horrible thing to do to anyone. I don’t think that torture should exist in any form, because it’s a physical and mental abuse that can even lead to death. Only in extreme situations should torture be acceptable.

According to Longman Dictionary of American English, torture is the act of torturing someone, mental or physical suffering. To torture is to deliberately hurt someone, in order to force one to tell you something, to punish and to be cruel to one. The general routine of torturing includes: “simulated drowning, extended sleep deprivation, and forced temperature exposure (heat and cold)…”. After reading this, I couldn’t help but picture people being tortured, regardless of their nationality, age, gender, religion, sexual preference, etc. It is scary sometimes how technology gives us new methods and machines for torturing. They are created by people and for people. Isn’t that interesting? Some people cannot take physical abuse for a long time as everything has its limit. Physical abuse directly affects the mental state of a person. Not everyone is created to be strong. Strength is only developed through our problems, experience, step mistakes, and correcting them.

I am sure that the idea of closing Guantanamo Bay Prison will be widely supported by all of us, who understands that making torture legal is not only bad, but also a dangerous idea. Once torture is authorized, the practice of it will spread unwisely. And I am not just talking about global level, but also of domestic examples of violence. We can already give many examples of torture: a husband abusing his wife, a parent beating up his child, etc. Wouldn’t that be considered torture as well? I believe that torture can also be mental without any physical harm. I would also define torture as an act of violence that includes mental or physical abuse, and in most cases has a purpose of obtaining some information.

Recently, I have watched the movie Rendition. Suspected of being a terrorist, Egyptian-born Anwar El-Ibrahim was taken to a secret prison where he was going to be tortured. That was a first movie of this kind for me. I knew torture existed, but never saw these forms: water pouring (on a face), power shocks, and simulated drowning. As I mentioned earlier, all the information we get on this subject from media sources is being censored first. Even the wife – Isabella didn’t know what was happening to her husband. Like one character stated: “The US doesn’t torture, but only gets information”. This could be used as a great excuse, but it still doesn’t help the fact that millions of people every day in the world are being tortured under different circumstances. They don’t consider that just the way of getting the information. They actually suffer from cruel acts of violence and some of them die. And what if the person is not guilty, but he tells you what you want to hear just to stop the pain. That’s what El-Ibrahim did. Will the mission of torture be accomplished in the end? I don’t think so. The story about El-Ibrahim had a good ending; the guy was alive at the end. How many stories though don’t have happy endings? I think if we decide to count, the list would be endless.

Torture doesn’t just solely exist in the US, in Guantanamo Bay, but in many other countries. Most of my life I have lived in Russia where laws don’t work as well as they should. It is a mandatory for all the boys to go to the Army, once you turn 18. There are only few reasons, mostly due to health conditions, that will allow you to skip 2 years of being there. Serving your country has always been considered an act of patriotism. Not everybody knows that once you are in the Russian Army, your life is in danger. Danger in this case doesn’t mean to be killed while fighting, but to be tortured by you peers. Whoever came to Army first, supposively has more rights over new enrollees. Not everybody gets back home the same as they left. Mothers look for any possibility not to let their sons join the Army as they want them alive. This is torture that also involves physical violence. Some guys can’t take it for a long time and commit suicides. Why does it have to be this way? Why torture without a necessity?

On the other hand, there are also extreme situations. This is the only exception from the general rule where I woldn’t mind torture. For instance, you have 10,000 people taken hostages somewhere by few terrorists. If you catch at least one of them you will make sure to find out anything you can just to prevent the deaths of innocent people. Time in this situation will be limited and you will not be able just to have an intelligent conversation with a terrorist: “So, what are you further intensions, Sir?” That even sounds inappropriate. Therefore, in this case I wouldn’t mind torture against this person at all. It is not always wise to risk so many lives of people versus one life of a terrorist. How can we let those suspects be out there and perform a potential danger for peaceful citizens? This is what I call an extreme situation. Toture is evil, but the only way to fight “Evil” is to use the same methods against it. I am only talking about terrorists here.

According to Phillip B. Heymann, any form of torture is dangerous. It doesn’t always reach the main purpose of it – to find out the necessary information. In most cases, torture leads to anything from physical abuse to mental breakdown and to death. Overall, torture is a violation of civil rights. And is a useless tool to government interrogation. Just like I stated earlier, the only exception can be the extreme situations, which fortunately don’t happen every day. I understand that we live in a dangerous time right now, but we also need to remember that violence is not always the best way to solve the problems. We are thoughtful homosapiens. That’s exactly what makes us different from animals. We forget about our human nature sometimes. Treat someone else the way you wish to be treated. Torture is evil. Evil can’t be just fought locally. We need to start with ourselves in order to make the world a better place.

Works Cited

  • Dictionary of American English. 3d ed. United States of America: Longman, 2004. 966
  • Heymann, Philip. “Torture should not be authorized.” The Little Brown Reader. Barnet Sylvan, William E Cain and Marcia Stubbs. 11th ed. New York: Pearson Longman, 2009. 551-53.
  • “Fighting Terrorism Fairly and Effectively.” Recommendations for President-Elect Barack Obama. 16 November 2008. Human Rights Watch. 19 February 2009.
  • Rendition. Dir. Gavin Hood. New Line. 2007    
16 December 2021
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