Thursday, December 08, 2005

Torture: Our Collective Sin

This morning, I am overwhelmed by my revulsion at our political leaders' embrace of torture as a legitimate means of interrogation. How can they?

You know all the arguments for and against torture, so I'm not enumerating them, here (if you don't, then see Andrew Sullivan's essay in The New Republic, which you can find online.) All I can say is that I am ashamed of myself for not doing anything to stop it; that I probably CAN'T do anything to stop it is beside the point. In the world's eyes, I--as an American--am as guilty as Rumsfeld or Bush. No matter how vociferously I beg the world to acknowledge that I am not one of THOSE Americans--one of the supporters of torture--I remain guilty.

The sins of my political leaders remain mine.

I'd like to see more theater that questions our acceptance and propagation of torture. Martin McDonagh and John Patrick Shanley are two playwrights who's work comes close to addressing our shared responsibility for torture. Is there more work out there? Who are the writers? Which writers in the canon of theatrical literature need to be restaged? You tell me.


p.s. As it happens, I've chosen Caliban's first speach as my monologue to work on at Shakespeare & Company. Caliban is very much the victim, and would-be perpetrator, of torture.

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