Friday, February 22, 2013

Torture: Entertainment vs Reality

It is confusing to think that torture has always been a part of our pop culture and has been enjoyed for its entertainment value by so many, yet at the same time, it’s a subject that is looked down upon by the same group of people. Entertainment and reality are different, but in this article, the documentary-like movie, Zero Dark Thirty, does enough to blur the boundaries between these two mind-sets.
“Torture is not only about inflicting acute pain, but is a calculated and systematic dismantling of a person’s identity and humanity,” as the article states. If a person chooses to take away someone else’s freedom, he/she knowingly loses some or all of his/her freedom. That’s the way it has always been. There was an interesting article I read once about a doctor that believed in the death penalty. This doctor believed that life imprisonment was worse because this sentence had the prisoner suffer for the duration of a lifetime, whereas the death penalty was fast and “humane,” as he put it. Who is to say that his opinion is at fault? Who is to say that torture experienced through life imprisonment is worse than the torture of terrorist, which have in fact led to results – results that have securred physical and mental safety of people all around the world? Every question has a gray area and should be taken case by case.
Interestingly, in the case of the events that took place in Zero Dark Thirty, these so-called “terrorists” weren’t doing this as a “crime,” but believed, or was fooled to believe, that their actions were backed by religious motives. They believe violence is a viable means of protecting their religion and, therefore, freedom. Their culture is vastly different from the culture of Americans. So how do Americans qualify to make these decision? As a follow up question, “How do we quantify these facts.”
No decision will be unanimous with such a controversial topic as torture. But in terms of this article, I believe that films like Zero Dark Thirty should be praised for bringing us the other side of the story. This movie keeps reality “real” and allows for the ignorant to confront their ignorance.

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