Tuesday, December 19, 2006

What Torture Has Taught the Former Head of Amnesty International

(Originally posted on NOM, Nov. 17, 2006)


This article really got me thinking about the difference we can make by treating people with dignity and worth. I think there are some institutional changes that can help, for example the way we treat prisoners and the welfare system, but I think the real change can only be accomplished one on one by having people go out of their way to care for those who have not been treated kindly by their parents or by their communities and have a lot of anger and depression that they redirect on to less threatening targets. A large part of our feeling of worth does come from the feedback we get from others. We also get a feeling of worth from doing things that we can be proud of, but I don't think either can fully compensate for the lack of the other.

Often, as a psychotherapist, I wish that I had someone on the outside that could treat my clients with dignity and respect to help them get that feeling of worth from others. But, as it is they have to settle for the kind treatment I give them. What we need is more people to go and love the unloved.

Switching gears a bit, but more on the topic of the article, we must do what we can to encourage our legislatures to put an end to torture. (Hopefully, that is not too political of a statement for this board). It is not a reliable source of information because people will say anything to stop the pain and it makes more enemies.

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