R e f l e c t i o n s

INTERNATIONAL TORTURE EXHIBITION

Torture is the natural history of infamy. And it is not unusual that those tortured yesterday become the torturers of today. This has in fact occurred since the ancient times, maybe with an accentuation during the Inquisition's sinister trials, when complex confessions were obtained by using extremely brutal actions and incredibly sophisticated torture methods.

Man, being composed of binary elements, contains both good and bad. When man's irrational side emerges, so does his wild nature. The history of humanity reveals a long story of tragedies in which torture unfortunately features on a world-wide scale. In reference to the International Torture Exhibition, in "Les Rencontres des Jours" Claude Roy points out that "this is a sector in which it is impossible to say that a lesson can't be learnt from others". And the exhibition certainly demonstrates this affirmation.

It is a description of man's bad side. It is the concrete form of wickedness. It is man expressed by means of his horrors. Man against man. The human condition made reptile.

Even though there are many blanks, this exhibition reveals that which "Power" of whatever type (religious, economic and political) does, favours or instigates as to maintain the place that it occupies. It is a long and terrible room of horrors where man's incredible ingenuity is expressed and displayed by these frightening, repugnant and tragic instruments.

Interrogation techniques elevated to an extremely ignoble level.
A brutal world exalted by man in the most barbaric of manners.
Despotism, tyranny and totalitarianism without bounds which often, for man's happiness, aim at his destruction.

This exhibition is above all intended to be a sign and a solemn warning. Something which jolts our memory so that these events are never repeated, in the hope that man will soon regain his humanity.

João Soares
Cultural Councillor for the town of Lisbon

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