Thursday, 9 September 2010

My death penalty is more morally defensible than yours!

This colyoom’s heart goes out to Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the Iranian woman who has been sentenced to death by stoning.

However I find bile rising in my throat as I read more and more stories of outraged American politicians joining the international campaign to reduce her sentence and save her life. 

Countries that don’t just aspire but truly belong to the civilised world have long outlawed public execution. Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt echoed their attitudes perfectly when he said

“We are against the death penalty in all cases, but stoning is a specifically vile form of the death penalty.”

That it is, but what on earth constitutes a less vile and more just form of death penalty? 

According to, a total of 59 people were killed in American State executions last year. 

Only 1% of the Chief District Attorneys in death penalty states are black, while separate studies in North Carolina and California found that those who killed whites were over 3 times more likely to be sentenced to death than those who killed blacks and over 4 times more likely than those who killed Latinos.

Over 75% of the murder victims in cases resulting in an execution were white, even though nationally only 50% of murder victims generally are white.

Now really, does that sound like a just, free and civilised society?

Of course it is morally indefensible to stone to death a woman for adultery, or for appearing bare-haired in a photograph, or for any reason at all. But while we in the democratic world still allow our ‘allies’ to run barefacedly prejudiced and immoral legal systems, we have no right to shout ‘Bigot’ or point our fingers and yell ‘Murderer!’ at others. 

Once we rid our own Western houses of hypocrisy we might be justified in attacking somebody else’s. 

Ooooh, plain makes my blood boil, missis, so it does. Still, at least this presents me with a good opportunity to reproduce one of my favourite quotations.

When asked what he thought of Western Civilisation, Mahatma Gandhi replied
“What do I think of Western civilisation? I think it would be a very good idea.”


Paz said...

great article

Charlie Adley said...

Thanks Paz.

whispering blue said...

Great article and a timely reminder that 10/10/10 is 'World Day against the Death Penalty'.The focus for this year's event is the US of A coincidentially!

Charlie Adley said...

Thanks whispering blue, and I didn't know that!

I did, however, feel the anger rising again yesterday, as I watched the relatives of 9/11's victims reading out their names at Ground Zero. Yes it was a terrible and awful tragedy, but I somehow suspect that Fox news will not be covering any Iraqis reading out a list of 100,000 names of their innocent dead.

The sobbing Americans say that those who died at 9/11 died in the name of Islam. Those Iraqis died in the name of American revenge. (oh, and oil, of course.)

To coin Senator Fulbright's words, 'The arrogance of power' has a lot to answer for.