UNESCO has published a list of killed journalists. This year there were 60 of them. Sixty killed journalists! That’s a lot of dead journalists. Many were killed in 2013, too. And not only in Syria! Just take a look at UNESCO’s list:
Being dead may, however, be better than being tortured in a prison. I can’t tell you, because I’ve never been tortured, but I don’t think I could bear it. What I do know is that for every dead journalist there are probably many more rotting in sinister jails. It’s a marvel that there are any of them left.
I depend on those people! So do you. So do we all. Without intrepidly investigative journalists, we would still be back in the middle ages, ignorant, rebellious perhaps, but impotent. We would sign infinite petitions to our kings and the Virgin Mary, asking for their protection against barons that would, without a doubt, exploit us till we could take no more and wouuld lie down in some corner to wait for the next life. That’s the way things still are in much of Central America, where they’ve been killing judges and journalists for decades.
Thinking about the perpetrators – the moron killers we hear of from the Middle East and Mexico, for instance – I find myself wishing that somebody would go and whip them out of their beds and hang them up in the nearest tree. If there is no tree or lamp post at hand, at least they should be given public whippings.
But what can I do? I am opposed to capital punishment, opposed to torture. So I have to rethink, to calm down and try to examine the consequences of hanging hundreds of depraved morons from trees and lamp posts.
To begin with, we know from morally primitive societies (I shall refrain from giving examples of what I consider morally primitive societies), that if you kill one of them, there will be hell to pay, collective retribution against your entire tribe. You and a lot people you care for will be wiped out, one way or another. They can take your water, or your electricity or your hospitals or your livelihood or they can simply shoot you.
What if, you might say, we wipe them out first? Well, I admit that reading about the journalists this morning, that was approximately what I thought. The problem is that they have access to as many and as lethal firearms as we do. Maybe not the same firearms, maybe not as “superior”, as it were, but somehow, we keep seeing again and again that the outcome of wars is not as foreseeable as the weather. Thanks, not least, to journalists, this should now have become eminently clear.
Moreover, as a colleague of mine pointed out today, people in Mexico, Guatemala or IS are not likely to be genetically more prone to depravity than the rest of us. To every story there is, implicitly if not explicitly, a prologue.
For reasons I need not go into, I have seen a lot of newborn babies in my life. I have seen many small children, many adolescents, and many adults. Need I add that when something went seriously wrong somewhere along that line, what happened was almost always preceded by a series of unfortunate circumstances. An unhealthy society is countless series of unfortunate circumstances.
So my Christmas proposition is to capture them (and having done so, to resist at all costs the temptation to spit at them, bruise them, or tell them to fuck their mothers, and of course, to refrain from any of the infamous methods applied by the US authorities at Guantanamo), feed them, and proceed to question them. They will be incarcerated in conditions that satisfy the terms of international law. Next, they will be educated, brainwashed, if you will. They will be subjected to education in accordance with their respective religions. If they are Catholic, they will be taught by Catholics, if they are Moslems, they will be taught by Moslems, if they are atheist, they will be taught by atheists. The consequences of their past acts will be made clear to them – consequences for their families, their communities, their countries and, finally, the world. They will be taught by social scientists and psychologists. Modern educational principles will be applied, i.e. student participation will be stimulated. They will be recalcitrant, sullen, nasty, deceitful etc., even more so than high school students, but they will be adults who take pride in being able to justify themselves, so something will penetrate in spite of their emotional resistance.
Some, many, will have been so brutalised that nothing will move them. Many will be so traumatised that reintegration will be unlikely. If released, many will return where they came from, hardened. At any rate, they will all have to serve long sentences for war crimes, or in the case of the Mexican butchers, for gang murders.
On the other hand, many others will come around, will regret their acts, will want to help put a stop to continued violence and the devastation of their respective regions. They in turn will educate others.
I put it to you, that such an approach would cause bewilderment and chaoes in the “enemy camp”. It should be clear now, that perpetual shoot-outs will not permanently solve any of the underlying long-term issues that caused the current debacles.