Saturday, May 14, 2011

Or you could try being actual humans

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/13/iran-blind-criminal-acid

I absolutely condemn the ingrained contempt for women that led to this and many other attacks.  And I condemn just as much the self-satisfied way some people equate justice with punishment.

Not the same thing. Justice is a strange idea, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t served by people choosing punishments for the people who hurt them.  In fact, isn’t that exactly the sort of thing the nebulous idea of justice was entirely supposed to prevent?

We should try to prevent this punishment because it is barbaric in itself. But we should also try to prevent it because it’s barbaric in principle. If the idea of harming someone because you think they deserve it doesn’t horrify you, then you’re probably a victim of exactly the sort of thing I’ve been complaining about all these years.  Don’t let  your victimhood harm other people. Let sentences be about protecting the vulnerable.  Let’s cling to the probable fiction of redemption if it means fewer people get harmed.

And Saeed Kamali Dehghan, writing this article for the Guardian: if you insist on putting the word ‘inhumane’ in scare quotes, be aware of what you’re doing. You’re suggesting that there might be some humanity in blinding a blinder, raping a rapist, killing a killer.  If that’s truly a position you wish to defend, by all means bring it on.

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