Salah Hassan shares ethical lessons learned in Abu Ghraib


“…Al Jazeera journalist Salah Hassan about his torture by U.S. forces inside the facility. To date, no high-ranking U.S. official has been held accountable for the torture at Abu Ghraib, but Hassan and other former prisoners are attempting to sue one of the private companies, CACI International, that helped run the prison. ‘Throughout my detainment in the solitary cells, there was an interrogation every two or three days,’ Hassan says. ‘During these interrogations, we were subjected to many psychological and physical torture methods.’ –-Democracy Now

torture1Salah Hassan shares ethical lessons learned in Abu Ghraib. This is not a picture of Salah Hassan. You should know that.

*There is no God but the one, true God.

*Every master is a slave, to something greater than both master and slave. This he cannot see. It is like the constellation Americans call the Big Dipper, which ancient Egyptians saw differently, as a bull, into whose ass the head of a man is inserted, that man’s feet being held by a hippopotamus wearing a crocodile.

*Each man is wormscum, compared to every other man.

*A violent man is weakened by every blow he deals, while his target is strengthened. This he cannot see, but that’s ok, since it doesn’t matter anyway.

*Horrific events are not actually much worth discussing, once those perpetrating them are stopped. But until that time there is nothing else to do with life, except seek justice. And nor should there be: this is the mission evil gives us, and no matter what happens, this mission does not fail, only last too long.


This is also not a picture of Salah Hassan, which you should also know.

*A man can appear to make a decision when in fact he has not. True forgiveness, it turns out, is found in infinite pain. I pray God noone ever learns this ever again.

*Although we might not think so, safety is a concern few of us have in everyday life. The dictates it issues are unlike any other desire, or need. They resolve all other questions, instantly and permanently. When safety is a concern, there is no need for arguments, or consideration, or confusion–which one can learn to be very grateful for. In this way the search for safety is like a directional beam, a laser, etched into our physical selves by pain. It points always to whatever path will stop the pain, permanently.

*Every injury at the hand of another man is an opportunity to strengthen one’s ability not to hate. This does not require sympathy. Right and wrong are not feelings. The world has given us a nice line called “insanity”: we need only place those who would use a human being as a weapon against himself on the other side of it. We need look no closer, no further, than that. If we wanted to, we might see that those abusing us were supremely ignorant. What good is that, though? Since we can also put ourselves in their shoes, and see that we would have behaved much differently. Did we not ourselves tell them that they were wrong, many times?

*The true essence of a man is his survival. All else can be taken from him. His knowledge of his own existence, his morals, his will to his best effort even–all this can be taken from him, and still he will go on, himself somehow. In such situations, ‘giving up’ has no meaning.

*It is hard to comprehend the destructive power of lying until it has been used to destroy your mental reality. (Afterwards it is easy.)

*Every little drip of life–every soda pop, every walk down the sidewalk, every set of clean clothes–is a priceless treasure I hope no one else understands the amazing value of. This is hard to make anyone understand–that they shouldn’t. Meanwhile they think they understand already. Perhaps it is clearer to say that to stand in a crowd and stretch one’s arms above one’s head, alone in this gesture, and yawning: there can be no joy greater than this. All of God’s love and power is in it.


PS: Almost everything you’ve ever worried about is meaningless, or close to it. Sorry.



PS: Dear Mr. Hassan, obviously I’m not a journalist and never spoke with you. I don’t expect you are probably even half as religious as my version. Good luck with your trial!




now I get to have pudding!