Who holds the leash?
Who holds the leash that holds the head of the man?
Who holds the leash that drags the naked, beaten man?
Lynndie England. Lynndie England holds the leash. The news has told us that.
But there is another question, one that no one bothered to ask:
Who is the man on the leash?
This is the man on the leash.
He was beaten, drenched in urine, sodomized with a broom,
He is an Iraqi, he is innocent of all crimes, and now he is something else. He is a witness. In 2005 in an Istanbul hotel room, he told his story.
An American artist was also in that room. He captured the man’s likeness and the stream of his words, much as he had with other ill-fated souls of Abu Ghraib.
The artist’s name is Daniel Heyman. His involvement here began with the most infamous photograph from that Baghdad prison: the hooded prisoner.
That stark image became a global symbol of the abuse
Heyman used the figure himself in silkscreens and etchings to comment on torture. But eventually he found the anonymity of the image troubling. It seemed to continue the process that the torturer had started – to strip the victim of his humanity,
He wondered: Who are these people?
Heyman soon found out. He met an attorney involved in a reparations lawsuit on behalf of detainees held unjustly in the notorious Baghdad prison.
It turns out that many of the inmates tortured in Abu Ghraib
They were utterly innocent and they were tortured.
The result is his Abu Ghraib Detainee Interview Project.
Each story is a catastrophe. They began with events of confusion and tragedy. Houses stormed. People beaten. Explosions. Bewilderment. A man taken away moments after holding his dead children in his arms.
Brutality. Deprivation. Rape.
And shame. The father forced to dig a grave for his son. The brother forced
These events left them traumatized long after they were released.
So it is startling to see the victim’s tale offered in his own words, and rendered visually by the expressive hand of a single artist intently observing.
There is an intimacy here that cameras and other mechanical devices cannot
[Several places on the Web provide more images from this project, including extended accounts of these prisoners’ tales, as well as descriptions of Daniel Heyman’s techniques and mediums. Check out Heyman’s website here which provides links to articles, reviews and his own journals. Good articles can be found here and here with an audio piece here.]
It’s insane to go anywhere these days
without a reliable weapon.
But with so many awkward and ungainly choices,
how does one find something suitably chic?
Taser International has the answer.
Its team of top artists and designers have created
stylish tasers for the discerning eye.
Check out this sporty pink number, ladies.
Taser International made it just for you.
Sleek, stylish and, best yet…
…a little squeeze sends 50,000 volts of electric shock
to confound any villain.
Simply ideal for the fashion-forward crowd.
The taser design, with its svelte yet sensuous contours,
has also begun to integrate more organic motifs.
A powerful reminder of man’s unity with all living things.
With such a high level of aesthetics, the taser is becoming an
objet d’art. What else in your collection can reduce
someone to a writhing bowl of jelly?
Could the taser designers display their work at MOMA or the Louvre?
Of course they could.
But these artists are dedicated to the transformation of everyday culture.
They toil so that we may live full lives of creative imagination.
And now they’ve dreamt up something truly new and marvelous.
Behold the Taser Music Player Holster, which holds
your favorite taser and an MP3 player.
Everyone knows it’s most unpleasant when you tase a man
and he starts screaming like a little child.
Now you can remain blissfully oblivious to his blood-curdling cries
as you groove to the musical stylings of Phil Collins.
It’s a Taser International motto: “Mixing Music with Security.”
Want to subdue an unruly questioner at a political event?
Just set the volume high for your fave tunes
to drown out any silly “Don’t Touch me Bro!”
or “Please, God, no, no!!”
and then tase, tase, tase away!
We admit it.
Our harsh denunciation last year of tasers was wildly flawed.
We displayed evidence showing that tasers were dangerous
and frequently misused by poorly trained police and security guards.
As if that really mattered.
We ignored the beauty of it all and in so doing, failed in our role as artists:
Serving those who depend on us.