[Liberal International, U.K.]



Le Nouvel Observateur, France

Americans and Execution: A Nation United By Vengeance


"From prosecutors to state judges and sheriffs, there is a singular motive: electoral victory at the expense of all else, including a truth that no one worries about - not even the public. Ö There is very little difference between Iran, which uses capital punishment as the ultimate tool of terror, and the U.S., which exploits it for political purposes: the lies may be different, but the result is identical."


By Sandrine Ageorges-Skinner*

†††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††


Translated By Elizabeth Burfield


September 27, 2011


France - Le Nouvel Observateur - Original Article (French)

Patricia Watkins, who has a son in a Georgia prison, protests the execution of Troy Davis in front of the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification prison, where Davis was executed by lethal injection, Sept. 21.


BBC NEW VIDEO: E-petitions urge MPs to debate return of death penalty, Aug. 4, 00:02:01 RealVideo

Sandrine Ageorges-Skinner, an anti-death penalty activist and member of the board of directors of Together Against the Death Penalty, explains why no human being deserves this kind of punishment.


From the deliberately ignored lives of culprits who, in the free world, have drifted anchorless, swinging back and forth between violence and abandonment, overwhelmed by mental illnesses passed down from generation to generation, caught up in a spiral of drugs and alcohol; to the experiences of those who are innocent and behind bars, crushed within a Kafkaesque vice, gagged by the unjust power of the supreme law of the "land of the free." These are the two facets of justice for women and men that American society considers garbage - less than nothing, and that it rids itself of at all costs and without the slightest scruple.


The two facets of the justice system


The first group is of concern to no one. They are in fact treated worse than wild animals, which are granted even greater protection and respect. Until their last breath, their right to life is denied and trampled beneath a general indifference, and they pass away in the infernal labyrinth of complete abandonment. Among the latter group, some will make front-page news when the hidden side of their surreal experiences finally arouses a journalist's curiosity, or if their lawyers fight harder than they've been paid to do. But for many, the reality of their nightmare never sees the light of day and they die, desperately alone, with rage in their bellies. It is a rage at never having been listened to, understood, or even considered by their peers.


In the land of every kind of bulimia, where over-consumption is the standard of an illusory happiness, the law doesn't busy itself looking for the real culprits. It finds candidates in the closest proximity and manufactures suspects when a solution is too long in coming. If justice can be bought, it is because what counts above all else in this bloody competition are the voices of the voters. From prosecutors to state judges and sheriffs, there is a singular motive: electoral victory at the expense of all else, including a truth that no one worries about - not even the public.


And what about those governors, whatever their political stripe, who cravenly endorse (when they donít actively encourage) the waste of several hundred million dollars a year that permits the killing of individuals in order to prove that one shouldn't kill. And this while at the same time in the U.S., around 40 million children go hungry; where one child in 28 has at least one parent behind bars; where a large part of the population has no access to medical care; and education levels in the southern states are similar to those of the third world?


In this country, that imagines itself a model of democracy and human rights, justice has never been so hollow. It is a system of justice that endlessly reproduces a cycle of endemic violence and is proud of doing so. It is a violence that it claims to abhor, but which it fuels with disturbing fascination. The youth of this nation could to some extent excuse such medieval and barbaric abuses, yet at the dawn of the 21st century it is no longer possible to give it the benefit of the doubt.


An instrument of politics


There is very little difference between Iran, which uses capital punishment as the ultimate tool of terror, and the U.S., which exploits it for political purposes: the lies may be different but the result is identical. What can one say to those who have worked so hard to ensure that treaties and international conventions are signed and ratified, about the strident silence that diminishes the influence of such accords, weakening and making a mockery of the force of their fundamental principles, even when they should definitively govern the civilized world?




Le Nouvel Observateur, France: Davis Execution 'Stains' Obama and Nobel Prize

El Tiempo, Colombia: U.S. Should 'Murder' Death Penalty and Join Civilized World

Le Monde, France: The Odyssey of a Condemned Texas Man's French Wife

French Info, France: French Rally to Side of Texas Man Facing Execution

Sotal Iraq, Iraq Muslim Clerics Must 'Render Unto Caesar What is Caesar's'

FAZ, Germany: Ahmadinejad's Chief-of-Staff Calls WikiLeaks Cables 'Lies'

Liberation, France Execution in Texas a 'Perversion of Politics'

El Mundo, Spain: Number 401: The Texas Killing Machine Rolls Mercilessly On Ö


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The true face of the death penalty is not hard to recognise, because it is the face of every single one of us. In an eternity or in a second, each of us can choose to confront our demons, tame them, rise above them and improve ourselves, in order to make a positive contribution to humanity. The alternative is to let ourselves be numbed by fear, the emotion that reduces human beings to their most basic and ugly instincts.


In an era that many governments have chosen to find the means to let the voice of human rights ring loud and clear by relegating apartheid to the pages of a shameful past, why not now apply the same principle to eliminating the global social genocide that is capital punishment?


No half-measures


Opposition to the death penalty does not permit half-measures: there is no person on this earth that deserves the death penalty. No human being should hold in his hands the power of life or death over one of his fellows.†††



In our societies, where it is fashionable to encourage us to believe or to hope that life is a zero risk proposition, we have to realise that there are no fundamentally good or fundamentally bad individuals. The capacity toward violence and the commission of an irreversible act is within each of us. It is therefore up to our species to accept itself, with all the risk of its frailties, weaknesses and sufferings that are part of its attributes, and with the respect due every human being.


There is no longer any doubt about the fact that political cowardice and indifference both kill with complete impunity, and that in the sidereal void of collective hypocrisy, passivity and ignorance make of us all the worst executioners of modern times.


*Sandrine Ageorges-Skinner is a board member of Together Against the Death Penalty, a French abolitionist NGO



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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US, Oct. 7, 6:23pm]


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