Torture — justified as a punishment?

down in the dungeon

Looking back through English history, it seems that torture was not just used to extract vital information needed to save lives but as a means of retribution incorporating  ‘entertainment’ for the delectation of the crowds. Of course, this has been so throughout the history of most ‘civilizations’ , England was not alone in inflicting pain and humiliation as a means of discouraging treachery, villainy, illegal acts, or mere misdeeds. One might add it still goes on in certain countries, but that I can only leave to the consciences of those concerned (and, in some cases, Amnesty International?)

Below is a black-humour, poetry-form limerick. I wonder when an effigy of Guy Fawkes is put on the bonfire and fireworks light up the sky, do we ever think beyond the thwarting of a plot to blow up Parliament (evidently, it would not have met its purpose anyway) to the regular use of torture to extract confessions and as a means of execution?

Remember, Remember, the 5th of November…

 
There once was a traitor called Fawkes

Who was good at pulling out corks

But the barrel he used

Had a whopping great fuse

And his team was made up of gorks

 

Thus caught in the act of high treason

Fawkes had to give a good reason

Playing football wouldn’t do

His team were too few

And it wasn’t the cheese-rolling season

 

The traitor now dragged to the tower

Was tortured hour after hour

No defence could enact

He’d been caught in the act

Gadzooks, his future looked sour

 

So Fawkes was sent for a  racking

And stretched until bones were cracking

A fire underneath

Was too hot to give ease

Guy screamed though courage not lacking

 

Hang, draw and quarter soon read

To the scaffold the traitor was led

But with noose round his neck

Fawkes jumped from the deck

And he hung on the rope stony dead

 

Spectators were not very pleased

Zooks, they wanted a gory striptease

Connivers of the plot

Had to die on the spot

Including that handsome Bob Keyes

 

Bob was hanged and stripped of his tackle

Blood spurting on those that did cackle

His entrails then spilled

On a fire to be grilled

But that’s not the end of his battle

 

Savoury smoke filled the grey sky

With Bob’s screams begging to die

Then off came his head

Nothing more to be dread

Quartering’s done in the wink of an eye

 

When fireworks light up the dark night

Remember that grizzly sight

Think of justice misused

When torture is used

And ponder… is this really right?
 

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2 Responses to “Torture — justified as a punishment?”

  1. Damyanti Says:

    Your poem is quite terrifying. I guess there is a part of human nature and intelligence that lends itself to torturing others…and that scares me too.

  2. Gladys Hobson Says:

    Yes, and we deny it at our peril. Thankfully ‘good’ is also there and, hopefully, has the upper hand with the majority of individuals and nations.

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