Friday, June 12, 2009

DARIUS REJALI: How do democracies change torture? When does torture change them? TASSC Events & More

Although occupied, when I ran across the following three sets of items today - I couldn't ignore juxtaposing these and getting the word out during this crucial time when so much is coming to a head - some events and hidden dynamics seem to be letting up - yet - the impetus for many related areas looks like things are getting worse before there's any semblance of hope for something better.

FIRST: Iranian-American political scientist Darius Rejali is one of the world's leading experts on torture, and in particular on how democracies change torture and are changed by it. Krista Tippett will interview and look at "The Long Shadow of Torture" with Professor Rejali soon. She says, "We'll explore how his knowledge might deepen public discourse about practices in U.S. military prisons in recent years — and inform our collective reckoning with consequences yet to unfold." SPEAKING OF FAITH New Episode: here Check out and be sure to put the time for the radio program on your calendar. Look at this Professor's personal background - worthy of a biographical film on his story alone:

"Being an Iranian aristocrat — American Southerner, a Shiite Muslim — Calvinist with a keen sense of history, presents unique intellectual and moral challenges. If you had told me early in childhood that I would write a book on Iranian torture — as I did — I would not have believed you. And I am just as surprised, I think, that this new book is also on torture.

'But it seems my family’s tales of the dark side of human life have put me in a good position to understand where we find ourselves today. Exactly a hundred years ago, my Iranian great-grandfather fought to defend his autocratic way of life. He did not hesitate to turn cannons on crowds or torture people he considered terrorists and anarchists. His opponents said, there you see, his way of life is a sham, and these people disguise barbaric force behind high-minded talk of honorable values. And who was to say they were wrong? For if honorable men cannot fight fairly and win, who on earth are they, and what do they represent? In the end no one, except a handful of sycophants, mourned the passing of his way of life.

'A hundred years later, believers in democracy seem to be ready to make the same mistake as my autocratic ancestor, and I am here to urge them not to. I hope I have written a story that makes us take a second look at ourselves as we enter a new century primed to treat our enemies inhumanely."

And take a look at Prof. Rejali's Student Syllabus: here

And more on his academic role: here

Go here for some unique articles and links & a long/thorough compilation of public opinion regarding torture here

The Official Webpage of Darius Rejali's book: Torture and Democracy
ALSO SEE the following related items:

June 2009 Events for Torture Awareness Month: June Events

From TASSC For the past 12 years, the Torture Abolition and Survivor Support Coalition (TASSC) has played a crucial role in organizing survivors and their friends here
T 202.529.2991 | F 202.529.8334

Dear TASSC members, friends, and supporters,

In observance of Torture Awareness Month, TASSC International has organized a series of events in the last week of June. We have many interesting events planned and we hope you can join us. Please spread the word and help us move closer to our goal of abolishing the practice of torture forever. "Torture Never Again."

Survivor's Week Schedule of Events:

Thursday, June 25th:
3:00-4:30 PM: Congressional Human Rights Commission to Sponsor a Panel of Survivors

This year TASSC is asking Representative James McGovern and the Congressional Human Rights Commission to sponsor a hearing on June 25th with torture survivors from around the world who will be gathered in Washington DC. Panelists include:

Sr. Dianna Ortiz, Ursuline missionary, survivor of torture in Guatemala in 1989; and founder and director of the Torture Abolition and Survivor Support Coalition (TASSC International) from 1998 - 2008.

Patrick Rice, Irish missionary priest, survivor of torture in Argentina in 1976; former secretary of the Federation of Families of the Disappeared in Latin America; member of TASSC.

Demissie Abebe, survivor of torture from Ethiopia; director of Torture Abolition and Survivor Support Coalition (TASSC International).

Aileen Bacalso, survivor whose husband was disappeared in the Philippines; director of the Asian Federation against Disappearances.

Dilkwaz Ahmed, survivor of torture from Iraq; member of TASSC.

Bill Quigley, human rights lawyer, Center for Constitutional Rights, New York, NY.

7:00 PM: "A World Without War and Torture":
Catholic University of America: 108 Hannan Hall
Thursday evening will feature a keynote speaker to critique the framework of the war on terror as undermining international human rights, and address the urgent need for the international community to reassert core values and principles of international law.

Friday, June 26th, 9:00 AM: Conference: "Torture Never Again!"
Catholic University of America Law School: Moot Court
9:15 AM: Morning Panel I: "Torture in Our Backyard"
11:15 AM: Morning Panel II: "Torture Never Again"
2:30 PM: Afternoon Panel I: "Truth, Justice and Accountability"
4:00 PM: Afternoon Panel II: "Torture, Women and Children of Survivors

Saturday, June 27, 7:00 AM: 24-Hour Vigil "Torture Never Again!"
Lafayette Park, Across from the White House
For its 12th consecutive year, TASSC will hold a 24-Hour Vigil in Washington, DC, on Saturday, June 27, across from the White House. The Vigil will be attended by survivors of torture from around the world and supported by our many friends and colleagues. We invite and welcome delegations from participating communities everywhere. Let us know if you are able to travel to DC or send a delegation. If not, please try to organize a vigil in your home community and let us know about it. Let this be the strongest TASSC vigil yet. We will all take great strength from knowing that our efforts are ongoing in all parts of the world and that untold numbers are joining with us.

Sunday, June 28, 6:00 AM: "Light One Candle of Hope"
Lafayette Park, Across from the White House
TASSC will close the 24-Hour Vigil and invite interfaith communities to light a candle as a symbol of the light of truth and justice in a torture-free world. Candles will be lit at the end of the 24-Hour vigil on Sunday as a sign of hope for a torture-free world and for truth, justice and reconciliation in our world.
THIRD and finally - many items have been POURING in to bring into light the terrible shadow of the Tortured Silences that have been unaddressed all these many years. Here are just a few items from the last few days alone:

US Admin's silence on Miranda Rights article - article highlights Aafia's case - while assuming guilt. here Notice this does not add "alleged" to the word crime for Aafia...

Scope of the SSCI Investigation and Where it Leads/ Firedoglake dot com

All this fury based on false information and fear! Notice how often the term "suspects" is used interchangeably with "guilty" when there hasn't even been evidence and in cases where the prisoners have been completely cleared by court/judge! here

Behind the scenes of released detainees (check-out the interesting Comments)here
here and finally, last yet not least on the released and more see always:here

Also see other important items on these two sites above - including some important questions about the latest GTMO "suicide".

Use of Secret Evidence UK Andy Worthington: here

Use of Secret Evidence US San Francisco Gatehere

Washington Post: US Urges New Look at State-Secrets Case 2009-06-13 here

Watch for more announcements and items on this blog as things are "hoppin'" Why not leave a Comment below this post and/or discuss some of these issues on any number of sites. Also consider Comments on Krista Tippet's Speaking of Faith site where there is quite an active blog right now on related issues?

1 comment:

Connie L. Nash said...

John Schwartz, NYTimes Blog Bush Lawyer ordered to testify June 12, 2009