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For me, personally, the final evidence of the guilt of British criminal Hanratty, of anarchist Nicola Sacco. and of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg - however different the circumstances - have been a personal shock. They are the undeniable proof that people can lie even in the face of death and eternity, that claims of innocence from the scaffold are no more reliable than from any other point. The case of Sacco's fellow-accused Bartolomeo Vanzetti seems even darker: he was probably himself innocent, but he knew that Sacco was guilty as Hell, and he deliberately died with a lie on his lips, for the sake of his imagined revolution. (And to add a further taste of futility to his false sacrifice, the historical fact is that the only party who benefited from his and Sacco's executions were the Communists, who had organized all the protests against their executions, and who were sworn enemies of Vanzetti's Anarchists and would have murdered him a good deal more nastily if he had ever fallen into their hands.) But perhaps the most significant of these is the lie of Hanratty, because that had nothing of the ideological justifications of Vanzetti and the Rosenbergs. Hanratty was not fighting for any "cause", however bad: he was a rapist and murderer with no ulterior motives. And he declared his innocence right to the point of death with a passionate intensity that deceived generations of activists including myself.
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I haven't been this disgusted at my country since 1982, when we betrayed Britain over the Falklands. (The British won, too, which means that Italy got nothing for its betrayal of an ally except shame and disgrace. But then Italians are like that: they are always at their most stupid when they think they are being crafty.) The Meredith Kercher murder was one of the most squalid and cruel events in recent memory, and the guilt of Knox and Sollecito was obvious to anyone who could read. So that is how you get off with murder: be pretty, have a shameless and prosperous family who sets up a media circus on your behalf among gullible American hacks, and manage to look pathetic every time you are on screen. Then evidence be damned. Well, the need for wide structural reform of Italian justice has been cryingly obvious for decades, but this proves once and for all that a moral reformation is even more desperately needed. Nobody who took their oath to justice seriously for two minutes could ever have released such a sentence. When the Supreme Court hears the inevitable prosecution appeal and finds Knox guilty as they have to, she and her accomplices will be mocking at us from her bolthole across the ocean. And her victim can rest in her grave - abused, forgotten and unavenged.
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IN the last few weeks, there have been gang murders in at least three parts where I have lived, and knew well, and felt fairly safe in - Walthamstow, Ilford and Leyton. And a few months ago, an innocent Polish woman was shot down as she found herself in the middle of a shoot-out between gangs, a couple of miles down the road from here. Last Monday, hundreds of kids charged at the police at the end of the Notting Hill, apparently bent on breaking and smashing everything in their path. There seems to be no end to it.
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A few days ago I wrote an entry about the problems that my tendency to rage caused in my relationships with others. I have no doubt that a lot of people will have read the last entry - about the abomination that is Dutch law, especially on euthanasia, and about the atrocious behaviour of the Dutch government in the matter of Ayaan Hirsi Ali - and thought of that. Except that in this case, this does not apply.

Everything is right in proportion. It is wrong and silly to burst into fury over some fandom quarrel - such as the Blaise Zabini affair a while back - even though I may feel that I am in the right, or at least that I have a good argument that other people insist on refusing to understand. But when you are dealing with mass murder under the most obscene conditions and for the most obscene reasons, then exactly the opposite is the case. Then what is wrong is to yeld to the temptation of politeness; and speak and act as though mass murder were a reasonable, sensible, civilized alternative to be discussed in courteous tones - instead of a foul abomination whose very mention ought to make us shudder with disgust and wonder at a world where such things do not bring down fire from the sky.

A few days ago we celebrated Mother's Day. I have been particularly lucky in my mother - as beautiful as she is intelligent, as brave as she is unselfish, and so full of good things that it took me some time to realize that, like all other human beings, she had her flaws. To be sure, not everyone has my good luck - I could mention my mother's own sister, but I won't. There are indifferent or bad mothers. But having said that, everyone knows this: that only the greatest saints perform, in their lives, as many unselfish and helpful and loving things as a quite ordinary mother does in the ordinary course of her work. She is alwyas the one who takes the bad part of the chicken, who stays up late if the baby cannot sleep, who carves out time in her scarce timetable to take her child to school or to play - who is there a million times, too often to mention, until you realize that you have relied on her all your life and taken it quite for granted. After all, what is the one thing that no man will let pass, what is the one thing that nobody will ever allow to be said in his presence? We all know it: "Don't you dare touch my mother. You can say what you want about me, but, by God, don't you dare touch my mother." Thugs and criminals revere one thing in their filthy lives - their mother - when they revere nothing else. Sane men and women know it instinctively. It is for this reason, for this background of unselfish love that lies like a mountain wall all around the beginnings of our lives, the towering protection and help that has made us born and fed us and kept and helped us grow, that we Christians have come to see in the Blessed Virgin the highest of all saints: if that is what is our mother means to us, how much more - of the same, but how much more - must have been in the mother of the Saviour, in the mother of God in man? It is for this reason, just as any self-respecting man will fight for his mother's good name, that Christians going to war to save their nations and their people from oppression, have many, many times seen above the terror of the battlefield, warm and loving and peaceful in her blue mantle, Our Lady of Victories; and charged in Her name, through terror and pain and death, to victory and salvation.

This is what I, what any person, owes to his or her mother. The intensity of the love of the average person for his or her mother is not commonly realized, for the same reason why we do not stop to think that we look on the world from a walking six-foot tower; that it is fundamental to us. And as for our mother, so for our father. Our father is different - he is the person who comes in from outside, the voice of a strange stern world of work and fatigue and contact with little-known and unsympathetic beings, bosses, colleagues, clients. But he is the one who feeds us and looks after us; the one we go to in trouble or fear; the last bulwark in our need; and, on occasion, the extravagantly generous source of largesse - if mother is the one who will always give us a candy bar or a banana, father is the one who from time to time will slip us, from the apparently infinite resources of his labour and of his sometimes saturnine kindness, the unimagined wonder of a twenty-pound note or of a new bicycle or of a TV. As a rule, it will come as a surprise, and when you least expected it - and you realize that he has heard you talk about god knows how far back, and kept it in his mind. The average human's love for his/her father may not be as intense, as flesh-warm, as passionate, as that for the mother; but it is not less deep. He is the standard of value, the authority whose views are deferred to and whose statements are quoted. He is the first hero we look up to, and the first person in whom we have absolute confidence, even - strange mystery of the human soul - when we rebel against him.

Yes, there are men and women who fall short of this - even very far short. But this is what being a father, being a mother, means. And even those among fathers and mothers who fall far short of the ideal, still can call on us for a debt that cannot be repaid: they made us. Their will is the reason we are here. And in so far as they were father and mother at all, however little that may have been, to that extent they were those great and beloved figures. There is no other fatherhood or motherhood. And there is no human being who does not deserve one, or wish they had when they had not.

And in the course of normal, sane human life, the time comes when we can, if not repay them for what they have done for us - which is quite literally impossible - at least make manifest to them our gratitude and our love. It is when they are old; when they are weak; when they perhaps have regressed, and need - for the first time - our help. This is a privilege that life gives us: that in a forest of unpaid and unpayable obligations, of random events and people we meet once and never again, there are two people in the world to whom we can do something to repay what they have done for us. As a rule, we do not do enough. By the standards of what the average mother has done throughout her life, it would not be too much, when she is old and weak, to carry her around on your back, or, like Solon's two young men, pull her chariot like oxen. Luckily such shifts are rarely needed; but it certainly is our function, once our parents can no longer look after themselves, to look after them. What decent human being would think otherwise?

A Dutchman. A Dutchman would think otherwise. A Dutchman would think that the proper reward for the life his parents gave him is a bullet through the head, or rather, since that is what we are talking about, a lethal injection. A Dutchman would think that the proper reward is not to look after your father after his fourth heart attack, or your mother under advanced Parkinson's, but to let them die. Die with dignity, they call it.

Let us not even speak the base and disgusting reason behind ninety per cent of these displays of love - money; let us leave unmentioned the expense and time that it takes to look after a fragile old person who is never going to get better, because, truly, the only problem with him or her is old age - the weariness of years many of which were spent in your service. Let us assume that the Dutch really mean it, and do not lie like Dutchmen, when they say that what they really dread is the loss of dignity. Do you know what that means? Moral cowardice. It means not to be able to look at the horror of human life in the eye - the horror of illness, the horror of helplessness, the horror of dependency and exhaustion and pain and loss of control. It means taking death as an escape from these facts of life; and taking it, not for oneself, but for others - removing the object of horror from your sight, so that you do not have to be reminded that one day you, too, will be like this - trembling, helpless, weak, dribbling, blind, cold. It means killing people rather than be reminded that people must die. This is the noble, the elevated, the lofty principle of choice - that choice which begins when the doctor marks an old person down for the exit lounge, and ends when the old person, pestered and prodded by eager relatives and heartless medics, weary and sick and tired of life, or perhaps too far gone to understand, gives an extorted consent - and "dies with dignity."

As a Dutch citizen, [personal profile] dreamer_marie will, if her parents live long enough, be eventually asked to consent to their murder; this is certain. I hope that she has enough human left in her - to quote Hagrid - to tell the first, second and third person who make such a suggestion to go jump out the window; but what if she is so stuffed with the fraud of euthanasia to see what it is that she is consenting to? What if I am speaking with a person who, one day, will have her parents killed - because that is the way things are done where she comes from? Should I have been polite about it? Does anyone have such a vile idea of me as to expect me, for a minute, to be polite about it? Now that would be an insult.

And as for the horrendous cowardice of many Dutchmen in the matter of Hirsi Ali, I think it is directly connected. This nation has sold its soul. It has collectively signed its own death warrant, person by person. Each Dutchman or Dutchwoman who lives long enough will be eventually a candidate for the lethal injection. And it has done so on one promise, for one reason: for the promise of having, until the day it runs out, a "high quality of life" - life without stress, without chronic illness, without fear or trouble or hate. And just as those nations in which the relationship between parents and children is still sane will in fact fight for principles and justice and to defend the country, so, conversely, the intrusion of the violence and hatred of the outside world must seem, to the Dutch, the ultimate violation of their pact with the Devil. What, they have signed their own lives away - they have handed themselves body and soul to the State to decide how long they will live - and they cannot even be preserved from the intrusion of Islamic violence and the need to resist terrorism? No, no, no! Too horrible to contemplate. Drive out the cause of contention; drive out the person who draws the hatred with her; and let us hide away from other people's anger, and cradle the only thing that our Devil's pact has given us - that precious, all too precious quality of life.

This is what [personal profile] dreamer_marie defriended me rather than have to defend. Can you blame her? And do you see a pattern there?
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You can if your bishop's name is Lynch, obviously. Read how the Catholic Church rewarded a murderer.

Read more... )

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