"Children of Adam are Limbs of a Single Body"
Lessons from Sa'di of
By FATEMEH KESHAVARZ
Sa'di, the thirteen century Iranian poet, was a man for all seasons.
Distinct among his peers for a rare poetic talent and a sharp humor, he was a traveler, teacher, and master ghazal writer all in one.
But, above all, he loved to
tease and to question. In a most serious love poem, he warned the beloved: I
was ruined by your love. I will not go to others to get well. And lest the
beloved gets all the credit for uniqueness, he added: bro
Let me elaborate.
The Physicians for Human
Rights (PHR) who earned the 1997 Nobel for Peace, due
to their efforts to ban Landmines, have just published an important 120 page
report. Prepared by tens of physicians and other health professionals, the
report looks into systematic use of torture by the
The report is fraught with gory details pointing to physical violence, psychological abuse, and sexual humiliation. However, as you move forward, if you have the stomach to read the details, something rather unexpected happens. You start to feel sorry not just for those subjected to these "enhanced" interrogation techniques but also for those who implemented them. This is not because it is easy to overlook the responsibility of the torturers.
It is because you know deep down that no one can injure someone else to this degree without injuring himself or herself in the process.
And you don't have to struggle to explain the reasoning behind your feeling. Sa'di has. If one limb is injured, the whole body suffers.
Interrogation techniques may have been "enhanced" so the inflicted pain leaves minimal trace in the tortured body. But nothing can protect the torturer from knowing what he, or she, has done. The global human connection, which Sa'di refers to, is written into our beings.
Almost at the same time that
the PHR report was released,
Even Sa'di refrained from taking the metaphor that far. Perhaps he hoped we would be wiser.
is Chair of the Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literature