Torture Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 450 quotes )
The more we believe that God hurts only to heal, the less we can believe that there is any use in begging for tenderness. A cruel man might be bribed...But suppose that what you are up against is a surgeon whose intentions are wholly good. The kinder and more conscientious he is, the more inexorably he will go on cutting. If he yielded to your entreaties, if he stopped before the operation was complete, all the pain up to that point would have been useless. But is it credible that such extremities of torture should be necessary for us? Well, take your choice. The tortures occur. If they are unnecessary, then there is no God or a bad one. If there is a good God, then these tortures are necessary. For no even moderately good Being could possibly inflict or permit them if they weren't. Either way, we're for it.
It is a Bush administration official on the moment when torture breaks a victim: The job of the interrogator is to safely help the terrorist do his duty to Allah, so he then feels liberated to speak freely. From Neil Gaiman's account of a torturer in hell: We will hurt you. And we are not sorry. But we do not do it to punish you. We do it to redeem you. Because afterward, you'll be a better person ... and because we love you. One day you'll thank us for it. War is peace. Torture is freedom. In the end, you love Big Brother.
Where I grew up, death is a constant visitor. A virus, bacteria, a parasite; drought and famine; soldiers, and torturers; could bring it to anyone, any time. Death comes riding on raindrops that turned to floods. It catches the imagination of men in positions of authority who order their subordinates to hunt, torture, and kill people they imagine to be enemies. Death lures many others to take their own lives in order to escape a dismal reality. For many women, because of the perception of lost honor, death comes at the hands of a father, brother, or husband. Death comes to young women giving birth to new life, leaving the newborn orphaned in the hands of strangers. For those who live in anarchy and civil war, as in the country of my birth, Somalia, death is everywhere.
Even torture that is only verbal reinforce the power of the torturer: The prisoner's imagination leads him to dread the next round of interrogations. And when it happens, the feeling of inferiority becomes more acute; it bores into the brain, and the cultural and psychological defenses that surround the brain disintegrate and vanish. The ego is dissolved.
Under the trees several pheasants lay about, their rich plumage dabbled with blood; some were dead, some feebly twitching a wing, some staring up at the sky, some pulsating quickly, some contorted, some stretched out—all of them writhing in agony except the fortunate ones whose tortures had ended during the night by the inability of nature to bear more. With the impulse of a soul who could feel for kindred sufferers as much as for herself, Tess’s first thought was to put the still living birds out of their torture, and to this end with her own hands she broke the necks of as many as she could find, leaving them to lie where she had found them till the gamekeepers should come, as they probably would come, to look for them a second time. “Poor darlings—to suppose myself the most miserable being on earth in the sight o’ such misery as yours!” she exclaimed, her tears running down as she killed the birds tenderly.
The precept: “Judge not, that ye be not judged” . . . is an abdication of moral responsibility: it is a moral blank check one gives to others in exchange for a moral blank check one expects for oneself. There is no escape from the fact that men have to make choices; so long as men have to make choices, there is no escape from moral values; so long as moral values are at stake, no moral neutrality is possible. To abstain from condemning a torturer, is to become an accessory to the torture and murder of his victims. The moral principle to adopt in this issue, is: “Judge, and be prepared to be judged.
Once, when a religionist denounced me in unmeasured terms, I sent him a card saying, "I am sure you believe that I will go to hell when I die, and that once there I will suffer all the pains and tortures the sadistic ingenuity of your deity can devise and that this torture will continue forever. Isn't that enough for you? Do you have to call me bad names in addition?
Rebellion? I don't like hearing such a word from you," Ivan said with feeling. "One cannot live by rebellion, and I want to live. Tell me straight out, I call on you--answer me: imagine that you yourself are building the edifice of human destiny with the object of making people happy in the finale, of giving them peace and rest at last, but for that you must inevitably and unavoidably torture just one tiny creature, that same child who was beating her chest with her little fist, and raise your edifice on the foundation of her unrequited tears--would you agree to be the architect on such conditions? Tell me the truth."No, I would not agree," Alyosha said softly."And can you admit the idea that the people for whom you are building would agree to accept their happiness on the unjustified blood of a tortured child, and having accepted it, to remain forever happy?"No, I cannot admit it.
While in general I avoid the use of torture - torture locates the opponent and mobilizes resistance - the threat of torture is useful to induce in the subject the appropriate feeling of helplessness and gratitude to the interrogator for withholding it. And torture can be employed to advantage as a penalty when the subject is far enough along with the treatment to accept punishment as deserved. To this end I devised several forms of disciplinary procedure. One was known as the Switchboard. Electric drills that can be turned on at any time are clamped against the subject's teeth; and he is instructed to operate an arbitrary switchboard, to put certain connections in certain sockets in response to bells and lights. Every time he makes a mistake the drills are turned on for twenty seconds. The signals are gradually speeded up beyond his reaction time. Half an hour on the Switchboard and the subject breaks down like an overloaded thinking machine.
The love for equals is a human thing--of friend for friend, brother for brother. It is to love what is loving and lovely. The world smiles. The love for the less fortunate is a beautiful thing--the love for those who suffer, for those who are poor, the sick, the failures, the unlovely. This is compassion, and it touches the heart of the world. The love for the more fortunate is a rare thing--to love those who succeed where we fail, to rejoice without envy with those who rejoice, the love of the poor for the rich, of the black man for the white man. The world is always bewildered by its saints. And then there is the love for the enemy--love for the one who does not love you but mocks, threatens, and inflicts pain. The tortured's love for the torturer. This is God's love. It conquers the world.
I worship her, Alyosha, worship her. Only she doesn't see it. No, she still thinks I don't love her enough. And she tortures me, tortures me with her love. The past was nothing! In the past it was only that infernal body of hers that tortured me, but now I've taken all her soul into my soul and through her I've become a man. Will they marry us? If they don't I will die of jealousy. I imagine something every day...
Master Palaemon's hand, dry and wrinkled as a mummy's, groped until it found mine. "Among the initiates of religion it is said, 'You are an epopt always.' The reference is not only to knowledge but to their chrism, whose mark, being invisible, is ineradicable. You know our chrism."I nodded again."Less even than theirs can it be washed away. Should you leave now, men will only say, 'He was nurtured by the torturers.' But when you have been anointed they will say, 'He is a torturer.' You may follow the plow or the drum, but still you will hear, 'He is a torturer.' Do you understand that?
To call something an 'enhanced interrogation technique' doesn't alter the fact that we thought it was torture when the Japanese used it on American prisoners, we thought it was torture when the North Koreans used it, we thought it was torture when the Soviets used it. You know, it's almost the moral equivalent of saying that rape is an enhanced seduction technique.
Here's what I love: when a great writer turns me into a Jew from Chicago, a lesbian out of South Carolina, or a black woman moving into a subway entrance in Harlem. Turn me into something else, writers of the world. Make me Muslim, heretic, hermaphrodite. Put me into a crusader's armor, a cardinal's vestments. Let me feel the pygmy's heartbeat, the queen's breast, the torturer's pleasure, the Nile's taste, or the nomad's thirst. Tell me everything that I must know. Hold nothing back.
There is a law in the Archipelago that those who have been treated the most harshly and who have withstood the most bravely, who are the most honest, the most courageous, the most unbending, never again come out into the world. They are never again shown to the world because they will tell tales that the human mind can barely accept. Some of your returned POW's told you that they were tortured. This means that those who have remained were tortured ever more, but did not yield an inch. These are your best people. These are your foremost heroes, who, in a solitary combat, have stood the test. And today, unfortunately, they cannot take courage from our applause. They can't hear it from their solitary cells where they may either die or remain for thirty years like Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who was seized in 1945 in the Soviet Union. He has been imprisoned for thirty years and they will not give him up.