Torturing and Genocides

N. Lygeros

Translated from the Greek by Evi Charitidou

Every system which has committed a genocide has used tortures both as a tool and as a weapon. Genocide does not by itself secure the intended result. For, each time there are survivors. In this case torturing functions as a safety valve. It is based on the mental schema of incriminating victim. And here everything is allowed, if there is a result. The system may make victims supervise other victims; nail victims; play music so that the victims’ screams are not heard; in general, it can make victims compete with one another for each one’s own survival; eat victims. All the above forms of torturing took place in the genocide of the Armenians, Jews, Ukrainians and Greek of Pontus. In any case, the victim feels guilty. Thus, even if a victim survives after the elimination of its own, it won’t find it easy to reveal and blame the system. By this artificial cooperation framework the system disarms its future enemies. And it is in this way that every victim, which has survived, contributes to genocide of memory. Victims themselves don’t dare to make any mention, because they consider that some accusations might turn against them. They have been victims of a psychological war and they cannot discharge themselves from their guilt. Therefore, it is important and necessary, when we still are at the beginning of reparation process, namely in the recognition phase, to explain to victims what they have suffered from. This cognitive therapy allows victims to conceive the role they have to play in the process of proving system’s culpability. They are not any longer victims deceived by the system and not daring to talk. They have now realized what the system had invented and they prove it with their testimony. This phenomenon also explains the normal delay in accusing a system of genocide. It’s not only the system that delays in various skillful ways the recognition process. It is the victims also who need time to evolve and turn themselves into fighters for recognition. In this phase the whole set of victims is vulnerable and should be effectively strengthened by the Just people, to overcome the obstacle of guilt created by the system. A genocide-framed form of torturing does not pursue the same result as other forms of torturing do. This is what we have to conceive to essentially help victims.

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