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Foreign Policy In Focus » Article / Commentary

What Do They Do?

March 21, 2013 ·

Would you recognize a torturer if you saw one?

ethelbert-miller-tortureWhat do torturers do when they return home?
Do they make love to their wives and play with their kids?
What hobbies do they have?
Do they wash the car and take out the trash?
Do they change their underwear?
What do torturers see when they look in the refrigerator?
When shopping do they go to the front of the line?
Do they get discounts on meat?
Do torturers remember their anniversaries?
Do they place candles on birthday cakes and blow them out?
When torturers go to church who do they pray for?
When they get caught in traffic jams do they curse the cars in front of them?
Do they worry when they get dirt and blood under their fingernails?
What type of deodorant do they use?
When torturers leave a room do they turn out the lights?
Are they superstitious?
Do they avoid stepping on sidewalk cracks?
Do they read their horoscopes before going to work?
How many torturers have two jobs?
When lost do they ask strangers for directions?
Are they left-handed or right-handed?
Do torturers sit in outdoor cafes and talk about torture?
Do they suffer memory loss?
Do they call in sick and say they can't report for work?
How safe is a torturer's workplace?
When they fall to sleep do they snore?
Do torturers keep everyone awake at night?

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E. Ethelbert Miller
Professor, Howard University, award-winning poet