Although many people hear the word torture and immediately think of waterboarding, there are many other techniques. If the Congressional Democrats continue to fight and get waterboarding banned – while by all means a great effort – nothing will really change. It has come out that the CIA has used waterboarding three times since 9/11 on terror suspects out of whom they believed they could get information regarding upcoming attacks in the United States. If anyone thinks that – out of all the prisoners being held at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, the secret prisons throughout Eastern Europe, and wherever else the US is holding people – these three incidents are the only three incidents of torture simply because they are the only time we have heard the word waterboarding, they are sorely mistaken. Not just waterboarding, but all torture, in all situations, to all people needs to be banned in order for the United States to truly be a leader in the world.
I was imagining a situation in which a bunch of black suit clad CIA operatives kidnap some US citizen simply because he or she has dark skin, practices a strange religion or speaks in a different language. I imagine these CIA zombies bringing this person to some cell in some country far away, and torturing him or her a few times a day without telling the person why he or she is even there in the first place. I ask myself the question, whom do I feel more sympathy for; is it the voiceless person who walks around in fear that he or she might do or say the wrong thing and end up being strapped to a chair somewhere thousands of miles from their friends and family? Or is it the person getting paid a high amount of money to follow orders, no matter what those orders may be? I came to the conclusion that I relate more with the oppressed – be the person from New Jersey or Islamabad – than I do with the oppressor, even if the oppressor speaks the same language and/or enjoys the same sports as me. Those questions lead me to another question; what am I doing to help? Well, I pay my taxes, take part in the economy, and do not dedicate every waking second to helping these people escape torture, so I am actually supporting the oppressor more than the oppressed.
The death toll in Kenya has passed the 1,000 mark while the number of displaced has gone over 300,000 according to reports. While there have not been riots and protests every single day, there are still random acts of violence; both by the opposition party and the police of the administration. There is a planned meeting in Kenya involving the seven members of IGAD, which is a bloc of East African representatives; Raila Odinga – head of the opposition – says that this will validate the presidency of Mwai Kibaki, who was earlier reelected in what some claim was a rigged process. Odinga is threatening nonviolent street protests if this meeting takes place, while Kofi Annan is warning that no protests should take place.
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