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GOTT-October 24, 2006

An Hour – Plus a Few Minutes – of “Little Ease”

Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured.  –Hebrews 13:3 (NRSV)

In a couple of earlier posts (9/22, 9/24), I wondered what it would be like to be confined to a very small (4 feet high, 4 feet long and 20 inches wide) cell for an extended period of time, the way some prisoners were confined by U.S. special ops in Iraq.

The older of my sons, Zack, away at college, saw those posts, and decided to try constructing such a “cell,” and spend one hour in it.  I don’t think he did this primarily for the purpose of learning what it’s like to be subjected to such a cell for a prolonged period of time.  One hour’s confinement doesn’t yield secure information about that, anyway.  One hour is to the seven days that two of the Iraqi prisoners were confined to such a cell what a 275 yard run is to running a full (26.2 miles) marathon.  Running two and three-quarters lengths of football field and then imagining “just more of the same” is not a good way to get an idea of what it’s like to run a marathon.  Rather, this exercise was Zack’s own way of, to some extent, following Hebrews 13:3, which was at the top of both of those old posts, just as it is on this one.

Still, for what it’s worth, someone who has run 275 yards probably has some better idea of what it’s like to run a marathon than does someone who has never run a step.  Zack e-mailed me an account of his exercise, but it seemed a bit too personal to post on the world wide web.   But Zack’s report showed that his hour was a bit of an ordeal.  He didn’t allow himself to see a clock, but rather asked the friend who helped him construct his small “cell” to come to his dorm room to tell him when the hour was up.  When Zack thought about an hour had passed, he was listening intently to all the footsteps coming down the hall, hoping that they were those of his friend.   It was a huge relief when his friend finally came in and told him his hour was up and he could finally stand up and stretch out.  When Zack found out it had actually been a few minutes more than an hour that he had been in his cell, he had to restrain himself from lashing out in anger against the friend for being late to “free” him.  When he got up, he was shaking, and when called me a while later, he reported that he was still shaking a bit.

Posted by Keith DeRose | Permalink


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Tracked on October 26, 2006 at 12:03 AM


Taking into account the biblical examples as well as other historical examples of torturing Christian martyrs in order to break their spirits to make them renounce a spiritual allegiance, one can wonder about the effectiveness of using torture to collect intelligence data on a population radically opposed to US foreign policy.

Posted by: Vincent Larregle | October 25, 2006 at 05:28 AM

I respect Zack’s desire to empathize in some small way…

What do you think is the best way to break through to the humanity of fundamentalists, whether Christian or Muslim?

Posted by: Jemila Monroe | October 25, 2006 at 01:24 PM

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