according to the disclaimer this has nothing to do with the bbc

bloedrodewereld  asked:

Damn I didn't finish my question. Anyways How do you guys know so much about torture and stuff? It's really interesting to see you (guys/people?) applying this knowledge to help people with writing!

There’s actually only one of me. :)


As to how- Well I suppose I’ve been reading about it for a very very long time. 


I like history and I try to keep up with the news (all of it not just the one country) and I have a decent memory. I followed the Nigerian election and the last Indian one and the fiasco in Kenya. I’ve got over a hundred books in my line of sight right now (and that’s not even the main bookcases) over half of them are history. 


That knowledge….adds up. Don’t get me wrong I do have a couple of books specifically on torture and some on specific scientific studies that are relevant to the area but most of this came from the news and history books. 


If the question is also why I’ve spent so long reading about all this stuff, why I need to know what’s going on in Kashmir or Sri Lanka or Syria-


I feel like the short answer is ‘I grew up in Saudi Arabia’.

We were robbed once and I remember my mother saying (rather instinctively) to my father that we should call the police. ‘They’d just arrest the driver.’ He said and I knew that was true. And after a couple of hours may be days in jail he’d have ‘confessed’.

I’ve been living in the UK for 18 years. I still haven’t quite gotten over the idea that the police exist to make people disappear.

I’ve never been tortured. I’ve never seen anyone tortured and as far as I know no one I know has been tortured. But I knew growing up that it was something that could happen. To me and the people around me. And there was really nothing anyone could do about it.

I won’t say it’s been a conscious effort to understand torture but over the years I have learnt a lot. It is, in a very real way, part of my family history. My great-grandparents were on opposite sides during the days of the British Empire. I’ve wondered occasionally whether they shot at or tortured each other.

I’ve read an awful lot on the subject; from newspaper articles to books to academic studies. Torture shows up in everything. It’s a regular feature in children’s movies. According to Amnesty International around 44% of people think they would be tortured if they were arrested.

I guess I just think as writers, as creators, we should be doing better by that 44%.

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