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Bitter sweet

December 30, 2006

If we believe that murder is wrong and not admissible in our society, then it has to be wrong for everyone, not just individuals but governments as well.

HELEN PREJEAN, Dead Man Walking

I have long felt a physical revulsion at capital punishment. I just about remember its abolition in Britain in 1965. Sydney Silverman was a hero of my youth for his campaign on the issue. I wrote to him in 1964 at the age of 10 when I was about to fight a campaign as Labour Party Candidate in my Primary School’s Mock Election. His reply and the material he sent me to use had a profound effect on my future political evolution.

My belief then, as now is that the ritualisation of destroying a life is something that reduces a State to the same level as its criminals. To see pictures of this nature on the BBC, and doubtless in the not to distant future to see the full execution on the web (now that will be a test for U-Tube) is obscene. Saddam Hussein was without a doubt a criminal and a murderer. The invasion of Iraq can I think be justified on human rights grounds even it could not by the presence of WMD, but despite all of that his execution is wrong. I see from this morning’s RSS feeds that Euan is also concerned and it will be interesting to see how this is picked up over the next few days. I did debate not posting at all, but decided that would be cowardly, a way of avoiding the necessary acknowledgment that, although I am pleased that he is dead, I am disturbed by the manner of the death; the title of this post reflects that feeling.

I am not a pacifist, I work with the military and I would fight in a war. That however is a very different from cold blooded execution.

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