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What constitute torture - Research Paper Example

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Torture is an act which is deliberately inflicted on a person with intent to creates severe pain and suffering; physically or mentally. The very common purposes of inflicting torture are to elicit information or a secret, to punish or as an act of intimidation or coercion. While the physical impact of torture ranges from death to fractures, neurological disorders and musculoskeletal problems, the psychological problems associated with torture are depression, fear, shame and the feeling of worthlessness. The only parallel that can be drawn in all the cases of torture is the presence of elements like vengeance and the need to demonstrate power; and most importantly, there is no considerable decline in the savagery of the methods used till now. A comparison of the past and present Let us look into a description of the nature of torture inflicted on a captive by the Aztecs in Mexico. In the words of Scott, “the captive was stretched on his back at full length upon the sacrificial stone. The executioner, using a sharp-edged instrument, slit open the breast of the victim, inserted his hand through the wound, and tore out the warm and palpitating heart” (Scott, 35-36). Before reprimanding the old-age relics for the savageries, one should pause for a moment to look into this modern day incident. In China, several Falun Gong practitioners were tortured in Jinzhou Prison. The prisoners were beaten using electronic batons and were made to hold stools even up to eleven days. There were even reports of sexual abuse, forced-feeding, stress positions and even there are allegations of organ harvesting. Now, is it easy to reach a conclusion? One has to admit, though reluctantly, that modern man, in no way, has gone down in the severity of torture inflicted on fellow-beings. Though torture was more of physical nature among the ancient civilizations, in the modern days, the concept is to use methods that are devised to have both mental and physical impacts. In the ancient and Classical Antiquity, torture took place as a part of rituals and even for fun while in the modern times, torture is mainly used as a means of applying disciplinary power and its main purposes are to cure the ill elements and to eliminate those incurable ones, and there is always state supervision. Torture among the ancient civilizations As already said, there is scarcely any primitive civilization that did not use torture either as a part of their religious rites or as a part of social discipline. It was even visible in their theosophic and initiatory rites. In most societies, it was not only the captives who were tortured, but even the members had to undergo such torturous activities very often. Scott (37) writes about the practice of mutilation of genitals seen among the Australian Blacks which was done on both males and females on attaining puberty. In addition, the ones to be eliminated from the society were exiled, who, in the wilderness of jungle without any help, were sure to meet imminent death. However, the captives in such civilizations used to meet the most dreaded death. Some such tortures included removing body parts including eyes, hands and legs and eating them in front of the victim, frying the victim alive and even taking internal organs out when the person is alive. In total, the ancient civilizations are well known for their stoic attitude, apathetic reaction to death and lack of regard for suffering. As time progressed, the nature of torture became more sophisticated and even a way of entertainment for the powerful as is evident from the Classical Antiquity. Torture in Classical Antiquity If somebody is ready to believe that the ancient savages were more barbarous and cruel than the civilizations followed a glimpse into the Roman and Greek empires would stop them instantly. While for the primitive torture was a part of their cultural and religious life and something they even inflicted on themselves, for the Greek and ...Show more
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Torture is an act which is deliberately inflicted on a person with intent to creates severe pain and suffering; physically or mentally. The very common purposes of inflicting torture are to elicit information or a secret, to punish or as an act of intimidation or coercion…
What constitute torture
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