Before the present talk about torture in our societies, torture existed. There were some 'rogue states' and regimes torturing their political prisoners to extract information or to break their will. People and media and leaders in the 'free world' used to protest loud and regularly about torture, sometimes exert sanctions against nations practising torture.
This is how institutional torture was perceived after the signing of the UN convention against torture in 1987, it was seen as a shame, a moral stain tarnishing and sullying nations and citizens.
Since the 'free world', the world that 'does not torture' neither 'condone torture', started his 'war on terror', torture talk changed. First it was a murmur. Then a multitude of facts started to make the murmur louder and louder. We, citizens of the 'free world' , learned that our governments are making transactions with states who torture. We also learned, that in 'remote' prisons, in 'remote' countries, hidden from the eyes of international organisations who used to watch and to report to us about torture in the 'other world', torutre was actually taking place and performed by people who belonged to us. We also realised that our governments were talking openly about torture, not trying to understand it and to eradicate it but to redefine it. We realised that high profile experts in the legal, medical and scientific spheres, were working day and night trying to provide expertise to our governments on how to make torture more efficient, more scientific, more knowledgeable, more invisible, going as far as to defend it in certain circumstances, to convince us that this is an evil we couldn't escape, for the sake of 'our freedoms'. So the open talk on torture is becoming all about its justification in our 'free world'.
Our governments continue to torture. And with the debate about its justification, it is no more secretive, shameful, brutal and forbidden. It is around us, it is between us, it is with us, it is intractable. It is something we are starting to talk about, like other things, organise an action day so we may feel good about it, like action day against mental illness or action day against tobacco or earth action day or mother's day or car free day and so on...
In this spirit and with the idea that torture is here to stay with us, bloggers and Human rights organisations are launching a 'Torture Awareness Month'*. I was asked to join, I find the idea awkward for all the reasons I listed above. I refused, then I accepted and now I really feel unconfortable with the whole idea.
*I agree with the bloggers initiative and I don't think that the initiative in itself is banalising torture but it is the result of the banalisation of torture by our 'democratic' and 'free' regimes. Should we accept this banalisation ? How should we act as to repel forcefully this banalisation ? I don't have right now the correct answer and this is why I joined the intitiative.