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30 November 2005

not much time ... take a few moments to do the only thing you can: object

(Agence France-Presse)

The third paragraph of this article about the impending hanging of 25-year-old Australian Nguyen Tuong Van by Singapore's government asks:

Send us your thoughts.

There isn't much else to do. But it's not nothing. Religious people often call it Witness -- the obligation not to close our eyes when a horror or atrocity takes place. Perhaps, if cyberspace is generous, our children and grandchildren who want to learn about the world of the past whose governments executed people can read the opinions we wrote here today.


patfromch writes:

Now there is Dante and his vision, the genius of Bach and Shakespeare, Platon and the ideal state, Morus and Utopia, Kant and Free Will, Rousseau and Pure Reason, Martin Luther King and Human Dignity. Hobbes and Locke and CG Jung.

And then there is this

As I write this the execution is less than half an hour away and if there is a God (which I doubt) I hope he has pity on us and Mr Van because we are still a bunch of stupid ignorant retard bastrds. We ALL are

and to this australian website I wrote:

The nations of the world are choosing -- either through their autocrats or their voters -- between states that rule by terror and intimidation, and states which have chosen to step away from state murder and state barbarity.

A belief in God the Creator should deeply forbid the government taking of human life, for such a belief rests on Life as a gift from God, and thus the decision to end Life rests just as exclusively with God. Government officials -- judges, prosecutors, those agencies who carry out death sentences -- are clearly usurping a right that belongs exclusively with God.

And yet those whose views about the death penalty do not rest on a belief in God seem so often also to recoil at and oppose the death penalty. Here, perhaps, it is a "face in the mirror" thing, because when we condone or support the death penalty, we allow our names to be used in assenting to the cold-blooded, premeditated taking of a human life. (From verdict to execution often takes years.) Such a "law-abiding" citizen may not be a bestial, savage, violent murderer. But "soft and sanitary" murder is murder nonetheless; murder certified by official government paperwork is still murder.

Including a stint in the military during wartime, I have reached age sixty very purposefully never taking another human life. I profoundly resent my government turning me into a murderer when it takes a human life "in the name of the people."

If our government takes a human life, how does it and how do we truly distinguish ourselves from "common" murderers? What's the difference between the man who stabs another to death, and the government that marches a shackled human being up the steps to the gallows?

This is a very bad thing. We may not all see that now. But the direction of human history is clear. This thing will surely come back to haunt us. Our children will hear of it, and wonder what kinds of human beings their parents were to allow this to happen.


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