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About Amit Varma

Amit Varma is a writer based in Mumbai. He worked in journalism for over a decade, and won the Bastiat Prize for Journalism in 2007. His bestselling novel, My Friend Sancho, was published in 2009. He is best known for his blog, India Uncut. His current project is a non-fiction book about the lack of personal and economic freedoms in post-Independence India.




Bastiat Prize 2007 Winner

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08 April, 2008

Abu Ghraib

Lewis Alsamari describes it well:

The notoriety of Abu Ghraib was enough to chill the fervor of even the most revolutionary citizens. It was said that thousands of men and women were crammed into tiny cells and that abuse, torture, and executions were daily occurrences. The regime tested chemicals and biological weapons on the inmates, and some prisoners were given nothing but scraps of shredded plastic to eat. Chunks of flesh were torn from the bodies of some prisoners and then force-fed to others. Gruesome tortures involving power tools and hungry dogs were routine, and thousands of people who entered the doors of that fearsome place were never heard from again. It was known that mass graves existed around the country, and it was known in general terms where they were situated; but of course nobody dared to hunt out the final resting places of those poor men and women who had become victims of the enthusiastic guards at Abu Ghraib, for fear of becoming one of their number.

The four AIDS-stricken women were dealt with in a fashion brutal even by the standards of the prison. Stripped of their clothes, they were placed, alive and screaming, into an incinerator so that they and their “vile disease” could be utterly destroyed. In this way Saddam “delivered” our country from the horrific infections of the West and from the inequities of the “evil Zionist state.”

This is part of an excerpt taken from Alsamari’s book, “Escape From Saddam.” It underscores something that many of us seem to have forgotten in our idealogical zeal: Iraq under Saddam was a hellish land. Yes, the Americans bungled their invasion, and with their arrogance created more enemies than the friends they expected. (I foolishly supported the invasion at the time.) But I’m not sure they made Iraq any worse off.

(Link via email from Shrek.)

Posted by Amit Varma in Arts and entertainment | Excerpts | Politics

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