Stop the audio torture – or why no human should have to listen to Eminem for sixteen hours a day

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At this time of year it seems impossible to avoid the constant assault on your eardrums. From the awful Christmas songs playing in the shops, to the on going competition for the number 1 Christmas single. It ‘s beginning to feel a lot like torture.

Unfortunately for some people this feeling is not just in their imagination. In some prisons it has been realized that playing the same songs over and over again at full volume, is quite an effective method of torture. Unlike those musicians who are happy to harass the masses with their quest for number one, a growing group of musicians is joining up with the British law group Reprieve, to urge governments to stop the use of music in torture. This includes music heavy weights such as Massive Attack and Tom Morello, from Rage Against The Machine. Basically these artists aren’t too impressed that their music is being used to ‘break’ people.

Reprieve is reporting on their site that audio torture has become a common tactic in the U.S. war on terror, with detainees in Guantanamo, Iraq and Afghanistan, subjected to songs by Nine Inch Nails, Metallica, AC/DC, Eminem and Bruce Springsteen for up to 16 hours a day. This, not surprisingly, leaves detainees disorientated and afraid. Binyam Mohammed, a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, said that some of the men held with him unable to endure the music any longer ended up screaming and smashing their heads against walls. “There was loud music, (Eminem’s) ‘Slim Shady’ and Dr. Dre for 20 days. I heard this nonstop over and over,” he told his lawyer. “The CIA worked on people, including me, day and night for the months before I left. Plenty lost their minds.”

An online petition appeared last week with a number of artists “standing in silence” to emphasize the right to quiet; now if only Simon Cowell and the Xfactor contestants would join in…

Laura Scott

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