I’ve been thinking for quite a while about the effect of the consent and the toleration of torture that happened in this country after 9/11. This has also been true at other times but I want to talk about now.
I was pointed at these images of Abu Ghraib recently and was really powerfully affected by them.
Wired says: Flickr user Legofesto (who prefers to remain anonymous) was fed up with news outlets refusing to publish images depicting torture due to their graphic nature. So he recreated the images and first-hand accounts using Legos to protest what he saw as irresponsible censorship.
I’m clearly not the only one so affected and it made me realized just how powerfully internalized the torture images from Abu Ghraib have become. You don’t need to have internalized the photos to be moved by Botero’s paintings but these are yellow legos with painted faces.
I’ve felt from the beginning that acceptance of torture makes your relationship with your own body more tenuous. And I’ve been trying to understand why.
I’m thinking that it’s about who owns your body. Most of us believe that we own our bodies and our body’s integrity is an integral part of who we are. Women in the US have only owned their bodies for 36 years (Roe v Wade), and in some places are not secure in that right. But I do think that we believe we own our bodies. Torture is an extremely direct attack on that idea. It is a demonstration of ownership with the intent to degrade and destroy the body. It’s about confirming the torturers’ beliefs, not about the truth.
I think that one of the effects of this acceptance of torture in the last eight years is that, however unconsciously, we have internalized some sense of the lack of ownership of our bodies. This is obviously complicated in the way it ties it to all the other ways we feel about our bodies, and I’m not sure where that leaves us.
And I’m still thinking about all of this.