Endless Time
June 28 2021

Time is a confusing question, not in its literal sense of minutes and seconds, but rather in the sense of realizing the current moment: Is it dawn? Or afternoon? Or evening? What day of the week is it? What date of the month? 

Poster by Palestinian artist Kamel Al-Mughni 1977, Palestine Poster Project 

When you are tied to a small chair or to a pole, your head covered with a stinking bag, you lose sense of time and smell, and even taste. You are overwhelmed with fatigue as a result of being deprived of sleep for hours and days, up to 10 days sometimes. What you endure in the interrogation cellars exceeds the natural endurance of the human body. The more exhausted you are, the greater the loss of sense of time. 

The sound of the dawn call to prayer, or the bell of a church from a nearby village or an Arab neighborhood near the prison, may help you differentiate between day and night. These sounds may help you recognize time for a while. Or they may help in your attempts to count the days and hours. Likewise, a tree near your place of imprisonment or interrogation center may help you determine the coming of a new day, when the sparrows visit this tree in the morning.

A dirty mirror, distorting dimensions in an intentional way, may also help. You can estimate time based on the amount of fatigue on your tired face and the amount of stubble that has invaded your face. Despite the distortion of dimensions and image, it reminds you of the place in which you are, and of the war that is being fought against you by an imperialist colonial system that has no equal in the world. 

You remember that you have always dreamed of getting rid of this system. Your faith in your just cause and how it will not let you down may also help you stay aware of time. 

Thank you, Serwan Baran: you reminded us of crimes of torture that were inflicted upon us and continue to be inflicted.

This article is part of a series for the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on June 26. Inspired by Iraqi artist Serwan Baran’s bronze sculpture depicting prisoners of opinion, Palestinian prisoners wrote about their experiences with the Israeli occupation prisons.



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