Entry into a Necessary Debate
By Kristian Williams
Microcosm Publishing, $6.95, 64 pages
The slim and portable Hurt: Notes on Torture in a Modern Democracy by Kristian Williams feels buoyant in the hand, in contrast to the mind-piercing subject matter. One will not be able to help but react in accord or discord or at least question along with the arguments raised. The material is accessible not just because of brevity but because every part was intended to speak without jargon: the inclusions in Hurt range across interviews, essays, speeches, and reviews previously produced by the author with citizen audiences in mind. While they are organized in five sections that address both domestic and international aspects of torture–“Personal Reflections,” “Media Silence and Public Opinion,” “Torture, Democracy, and Inequality,” “Prison Abolition,” and “Conclusions and Synopses”–this book can be opened and read from anywhere and provide material for meditation. It isn’t all doom and damnation, as the book’s conversation showcases people speaking and acting for change to the status quo. Hurt is a good publication that not only introduces but invites the reader to a debate on torture and to imagine alternatives.
Reviewed by Sarah Alibabaie