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Falaka - bastinado


Bastinado was originally a Spanish word (bastonnade in French) for the act of caning, in the literal sense of beating with a stick or similar implement. It is specifically used to refer to a form of torture or corporal punishment which consists of beating the soles of the offender's bare feet with a hard object, like a cane or rod, a club, a piece of wood, or a whip. Also:[French bâton, from Old French baston, stick, from Vulgar Latin *basto, *baston-.A short stick carried by police; a billy club originally made from cane. Turkish: Walking stick, baston]

This punishment has, at various times, been used in China, as well as the Middle East where it is known by the Arabic word falaqa and its Turkish form, falaka, as it was used throughout the Ottoman Empire.The punishment is known as madda in Egypt

This torture is effective due to the clustering of nerve endings in the feet and the structure of the foot, with its numerous small bones and tendons. The feet were often tied together or to a wooden plank (called falaka in Persian, possibly the origin of the tradition in the Near East) 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 surbordinates. Some point out that the prominent display of the offender's bare feet contains an element of punitive humiliation as well. This is especially true in Arabic cultures, where it is considered humiliating to bare the soles of one's feet.