About the team
Our team is comprised of high school students; five seniors, four juniors, and one sophomore. Our diverse backgrounds and skill sets – ranging from technological gurus to artistic savants – make our team truly well rounded. We have an undeniable team chemistry that has brought us great fun and outstanding progress!
Why we chose to focus on torture
As our team went through the process of Raid Cross and a lecture series, we were fascinated by the concept of why torture has become such a prevalent means of attaining information. We also were perplexed as to why it is often considered an acceptable action.
It wasn’t until we watched the Last Week Tonight with John Oliver clip regarding the US Senate Torture Report that our team truly realized why torture can often be considered an acceptable action: the action has become a staple of modern media and entertainment. Movies. Television shows. Video games. Torture is portrayed through these means – along with many more – and is depicted as an effective method in retrieving information. Since the topic is so prevalent in current times, the team wanted to highlight people’s awareness of torture.
We don’t just want to teach. We want to inspire change. Along with educating young people about the brutality and ineffectiveness of torture, our main mission is to gauge various perspectives on how we can combat the use of torture and devise alternative means to retrieving information. None of us have the expert knowledge to know how to create world peace, let alone determine the solution to eliminate torture. However, in today’s highly collaborative world we know that our community can help think of alternatives that may not be perfect, but novel.
Where we are at
Our largest challenge so far has been devising activities that are engaging for students, yet still maintaining the gravity of torture. Lectures are the obvious answer, but there needs to be more; especially to provide context for why people should care. After multiple brainstorming sessions and Google hangouts, our team was able to put together initiatives that we hope will encourage students to think deeply about what they would do, or more specifically, do differently, in a given situation involving torture.
Along with planning, our team reached out to Arizona Senator John McCain to come speak at our Campaign. As a prisoner of war in Vietnam, the Senator’s experiences and longstanding views about torture’s damaging effects on national security, international reputation, and ability to retrieve imperative information would supplement our message. Though we did not receive a response from the Senator’s office, we have been able to incorporate his viewpoints in our team discussions and planning sessions.
The team currently has two dates planned for our Campaign. And while we don’t want to give everything away, our Campaign will include surveys, lectures, interactive discussions, and exciting mini group competitions. Come back for our next blog post to see how our Campaign goes!
Authors: BASIS Chandler IHL Action Campaign Team, Greater Phoenix Chapter
*The purpose of the IHL Action Campaign is for young people to teach their peers about the importance of IHL, as well as issues related to healthcare in danger, torture, and humanitarianism.