|Re: The Gulag and Private Manning|
- Thursday, March 17 2011, 5:44:03 (UTC)|
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I remember a day in 1985 when I brought home a book on Marx from my high school library and how my father fipped-out that we were going to put on a list. I explained that my teacher (not a Marxist) was explaining communism and suggested we do our own research by reading Marx. But my father reminded me of a lazy afternoon in the mid 70s when I was around 4 or 5 years old when the SAVAK (the Shah's secret police) came over and forced my father into handcuffs, dark goggles around his eyes, shoved him into a car, drove around town to disorient him, and pushed him into a dark, wet, urine-stenched cell, from which he could hear the unstoppable, screeching, vomitting, screams of young men, beaten and shocked, with electrodes strapped to their balls.
It happened that a neighbor, with police and military connections, was tapping the phones, and in an unsophisticated manner - all the neighbors knew and self-censored their brief phone conversations. My father, on the other hand, being the great prankster that he was (sometimes with dire consequences) decided to talk in codes with his friends who also were in on the suppossed joke and would say things like "if the horses are ready, the milk is on the way". Fortunately, my grandmother knew a neighbor who knew a judge, and, having only found a few hand guns and some opium (which was legally sold if one had a permit - like medical marijuana), they let him go three days later.
I'll never forget the picture my father forever painted in my imagination of his experience those three nights in some dark cell, listening to the young men scream and writhe in their piss and shit... for allegedly being "Marxists". Perhaps, the soundtrack of their torment is what really made this memory stick in the tombs of my ears - especially when one cold October night in '78, during the Shah's military curfew, I was frozen and trembling next to my mother, as we all heard the violent, tortured, screams of men echoing through the petrified streets, blasting out of loud speakers in the back of a ford pick-up truck driving around our neighborhood, with sinister warnings of what may happen if we dissent.
If the precedent that the pupils of the School of Americas set in so many Latin American, Middle Eastern, Asian, African countries - and in Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, all the torcher chambers of the world, including Manning's - then we are all truly fucked, mi amigo!
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