KOCHI: News can be unsettling at times. A recent investigation by the BBC has left me disturbed, helpless and, in a way, guilty, all the way to my innards. “Global network of sadistic monkey torture exposed,” reads the report’s headline.
Reader discretion is advised here.
According to the report, an international ring employed and paid individuals in Indonesia and other Asian countries for “tailored videos showing the abuse, torture and sometimes killing of baby long-tailed macaque monkeys”.
These videos, apparently, had “hundreds” of customers across the globe. And the torture “went from baby bottle teasing to fingers being snipped off”.
One of the Indonesian torturers, Ajis Rasjana, tells an undercover reporter that he smashed the monkeys against the wall when he was “very, very angry”. He callously adds that he finds the sight of blood splashing “so cool”.
The report notes that the racket began on YouTube and later set up a ring on Telegram. Mike McCartney aka ‘The Torture King’, said to be a “video distributor” in the US, recalls his initiations into a ‘Telegram monkey torture group’: “They had a poll set up. Do you want a hammer involved? Do you want pliers involved? Do you want a screwdriver?”
And what followed was “the most grotesque thing I have ever seen”, he adds.
Torture King believes his trade is akin to narco racketing. “Drug money comes from dirty hands, this money comes from bloody hands,” he says
Another ring member exposed was Stacey Storey, a grandmother in her 40s from Alabama in the US. She had about 100 torture videos, and sleuths found “evidence that she had funded the creation of some of the most horrifying videos”. She was nicknamed ‘Sadist’.
The article is yet another reminder of how evil humans can be. Yet another addition to the list of startling reports on animal torture, sex slavery, child porn rackets, and all those inhuman rings of people seeking twisted delights.
Animal torture has, in fact, been a subject of study. Scientifically speaking, it is called ‘zoosadism’ — deriving pleasure from the suffering of animals. Zoosadistic behaviour is often characterised by infliction of severe pain on hapless creatures, for no reason other than to satisfy the sadistic desires of the abuser.
Zoosadism is considered deviant behaviour and is often associated with underlying psychological or psychiatric disorders. It is also linked with other forms of antisocial behaviour, such as violence against humans. The term is derived from the combination of ‘zoo’ (referring to animals) and ‘sadism’ (deriving pleasure from causing the suffering of others).
The term ‘sadism’ (pronounced say-datum, not sad-izum) is sort of a linguistic tribute to Marquis de Sade, a French aristocrat, philosopher, and writer who lived from 1740 to 1814. He was notorious for his libertine lifestyle and fascination with sexual and violent acts.
His writings – most notably “Justine” and ‘120 Days of Sodom’ – pushed the boundaries of acceptability, delving into themes of extreme violence and sexuality. Sade was both celebrated and reviled.
After his death, the term ‘sadism’ began to be associated with behaviour patterns and sexual preferences depicted in his works. The term was first used by German psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing in his book ‘Psychopathia Sexualis (1886).
Krafft-Ebing used the term to describe a sexual deviation characterised by the infliction of pain and humiliation on others for sexual pleasure. Over time, sadism transformed into a label for any inclination that revelled in the pleasure derived from the suffering or debasement of others.
Not that Sade invented deviance; sadistic tendencies permeated human history long before his existence. Power dynamics, the complexity of desires, and darker shades of pleasure have all intersected throughout the ages. And continue to do so.
Okay, time for me to try some yoga and meditation to exit this rabbit hole. Wish you a cruelty-free weekend ahead!
Perversion: “distortion or deviation from what is considered normal or acceptable behaviour, often involving deriving pleasure from causing pain or suffering”
Maleficence: “deliberate intent or desire to harm or cause evil to others”
Misanthropy: “general dislike, distrust, or contempt for humanity, often resulting in a pleasure derived from seeing others suffer”
Schadenfreude: “experience of pleasure or joy derived from the misfortunes or pain of others”
Torment: “act of inflicting severe physical or mental suffering on others, often for personal satisfaction”
Viciousness: “quality or state of being extremely cruel, brutal, or violent in one’s actions or behaviour”
Depravity: “state of being morally corrupt, wicked, or evil, often manifesting in acts of cruelty or sadistic behaviour”
Bloodlust: “intense craving or desire for violence, bloodshed, or harm inflicted on others”
Diabolism: “practice or inclination toward evil, often associated with malevolence, cruelty, or sadistic acts”
Torturer/ tormentor: “someone who inflicts physical or mental pain on others for pleasure or dominance, derives satisfaction from their anguish”
Malignant narcissist: “a person with an extreme sense of self-importance, who derives pleasure from manipulating and causing harm to others”
Brutalist: “one who exhibits a brutal or callous nature, finding enjoyment in causing harm or suffering”
Malefactor: “person who intentionally engages in harmful or malicious acts against others, deriving satisfaction from their pain”
Fiend: “someone who is wicked or cruel, delighting in causing harm or torment to others”