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Bastinado

From Academic Kids

Bastinado is a form of torture or corporal punishment which consists of beating the soles of the victims' bare feet with a hard object, like a cane or rod, a club, or a piece of wood, or a whip. This torture is effective owing to the clustering of nerve endings in the feet, and the structure of the foot, with numerous small bones and tendons. The feet were often tied together or to a wooden plank, and the victim would be made to walk around on his or her damaged feet afterwards, sometimes carrying weights. The wounds inflicted are particularly painful and take a long time to heal, rendering it a redoubtable deterrent but impractical as punishment for useful surbordinates.

This punishment has, at various times, been commonly used in China, as well the Middle East, where it is known by the Arabic word falaqa and especially its Turkish form falaka, as it was spread troughout the Ottoman Empire (including the Balkans).

Bastinado in popular culture

This torture became well known to the Western public because of the 1978 movie, Midnight Express. Uday Hussein, a leader of Iraq's now-fallen Ba'ath Party regime and son of Saddam Hussein, is alleged to have used this method of torture on Olympic athletes who did not perform according to standards.

The word 'bastinado' can also refer to the device used to inflict the torture.Template:Torture-stubde:Bastonade

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