In this world, the private life is an illusion, Barbara. When a person is tortured, no one retains a private life. (tr. author)

 - Ariel Dorfman, Konfidenz  

The speech is not aimed at Chile….. My evaluation is that you are a victim of all left-wing groups around the world.

 - Henry Kissinger to Pinochet just before his address on human rights to the OAS  

I’m not going to address the torture word.

 - Donald Rumsfeld  


Soften them up.
They thought
that they had “private parts”,
places of yearnings sealed
in shadow that open to only
the invited touch. Their faces,
their eyes were in light to tell
who they were, they thought,
only adolescent boys
masturbating in toilet stalls
draw bodies without faces.
her face with a hood and remove
her clothes. Prod
her genitals. Show her the picture
you take.)
                            He thought
that he had private feelings,
that sealed in some chamber of the heart,
were loyalties that could never
be broken, whispered words
that would forever be
known to one person only.
                                                 (Give him
the gun:  Shoot
your family or die with them…
First, make him
reveal the most intimate details
of his life. The rest
will come easy.)

                                    We thought
that we had private vows,
that deep inside there was
at least one place - call it
the soul, call it
call it love – that could not
be touched. Were we all wrong?  

Now in the Buffalo night,
 when my hand caresses
your breast, I  always see
them coming and crushing that hand cut-
ting that breast. I hear them
making me repeat every
tender thing I ever said to you,
 or wished I’d said. I feel
them touching us, hurting us
wherever they like. I taste
the foul body fluids
that they force into my mouth. And I smell
the swooning ether of our
burning flesh. They break the hands of
Victor Jara again and again
on the stadium steps. Endlessly they machine gun
and burn the people in their church
in El Mozote, in Acteal, in their mosque
in Sarayavo, in al –Aqsa,  and  in their synagog
in Cologne, in  Warsaw.  

They do it with permission
of men we empower.
They do it in our name,  

unless we resist.


                                          ©      Bill Jungels

  published in Waging Words for Peace
ed., Chuck Culhane

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