Music and Torture: Why Stone Flowers Exists

In 2011, musician and Music Action International facilitator Aidan Jolly read in Musicians Union magazine about the shocking use of music as a tool of torture in Guantanamo Bay and other military internment camps.

High-profile musicians such as Elbow, Massive Attack, Matthew Herbert and Rage Against the Machine launched a campaign and spoke out against this inhumane practice.

“You feel like you’re going mad. It doesn’t sound like music at all. It just sounds like metal crashing against metal.” Ruhal Ahmed, Music Torture Survivor

Combined with physical and violent torture, music was played at an incredibly high volume to psychologically break prisoners in US detention centres like Guantanamo Bay. Many individuals released from detention centres using this abhorrent practice still feel traumatised today.

Music Action International and Freedom from Torture NW created a unique partnership as a positive response to these inhumane acts,  using music as a powerful way to overcome trauma with people who have been tortured.

Photo Credit: Zac Sargeant

Expertise of working in post-conflict countries with after effects of trauma, combined with a therapeutic approach, results in an effective and specialist approach, with torture survivors and refugees playing a key role in managing, developing and delivering the programme.

The physical, mental and emotional impact of torture is long-lasting.

Stone Flowers gives survivors a coping strategy and a way to overcome the effects of trauma and other horrific after-effects of torture.

You can hear great music and support torture survivors in Stone Flowers by buying the album here.

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