There is something so awful in the way the news is portraying Gadhafi. The man was evil, but the macabre nature of the news, such as showing bloody pictures of him, gloating on his last words begging for his life, showing autopsy photos and the like – is just bizarre, not to mention cruel and sickening.
I’m not a fan of the Hammurabi Code (an eye for an eye, etc), mostly because I believe that it perpetuates an ever increasing cycle of violence. Our world doesn’t become a better or safer place by torturing evildoers – instead, I think it opens the door for even more evil.
A few days ago, I was reading a piece from the American Journalism Review about the sexual assault of journalists. Personally, I think it’s unlikely that there is an increase in sexual assaults, just an increase in brave people willing to talk about it (in their efforts to help others to not have to go through what they have). I think that the examples that people like Mr. Cheema, and Ms. Bedoya, as well as the many other brave survivors that have come forth, is the right way to handle evil. Shine a spotlight on it, show it’s ugliness to as many people as possible without preaching. Get people to start asking important questions of good and evil, right and wrong, and how to keep as many people safe as possible.
I rarely talk about the cruel things that happened to me growing up, for a lot of reasons. I want to be liked for who I am, and not as a survivor of cruelty. I have worked hard to stand on my own two feet, and not be ‘that poor girl,’ even though part of me will always have to carry the brunt of others cruelty. I’ve worked hard to be smart and strong and capable – and to be the kind of person that can quickly figure out the best plans, and the easiest escape routes. And, I’ve worked incredibly hard not to be a circus side-show for the macabre curiosity of people that just want to be voyeurs into private pain.
All of that aside, I don’t think that the cruel things that were done to me as a child made me a better person. I don’t think the cigarette burns on my back and chest make me compassionate, or that the fear I will always have in the presence of others will ever completely go away. When I found some of my childhood ‘punishments’ on a page about torture, I didn’t think, “I want to get them back for this.” There is no getting someone back for these things, do you understand? If I had one understanding that I could share with the world, beyond those of empathy and compassion, it is that there is nothing good that comes from evil, but more evil.
I realize I’m speaking idealistically. Without thinking of money, I think keeping someone in prison for life is a harsher punishment than anything else we can dream up. And I think that gloating over the torture and death of a human, no matter who they are, or what they’ve done, is sickening, and shows the very, very worst of humankind.
I want better for us….
Speaking from the heart,