[gha] 10 Oct: UN Day against Capital Punishment..

  • From: Wadlowz@xxxxxxx
  • To: gha@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, ghausa@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 2 Oct 2013 09:14:20 -0400 (EDT)

Dear Colleagues,
    Although more and more countries are  abolishing capital punishment, 
there are still some holdouts. As we near the UN  Day devoted to the 
abolishment of Capital Punishment, I thought you might like  to share my text 
friends. With best wishes, Rene Wadlow
10 October: Abolition of the Death  Penalty 
Rene  Wadlow 

“I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death.  I am not on his 
pay-roll.  I will not tell him the whereabouts of  my friends nor of my 
enemies either.” Edna St Vincent  Millay 
10 October is the International Day Against the Death Penalty, set by the  
United Nations General Assembly.  Since the end of World War II, there has 
been a gradual abolition of the  death penalty with the rather obvious 
recognition that death is not  justice.  In some countries,  executions have 
suspended in practice but laws allowing executions remain;  in other cases 
there has been a legal  abolition. 
The clear words of the American poet Kenneth Patchen (1911-1972) have  been 
a credo for those of us who have opposed executions on moral  grounds: 
This is a man 
He is a poor  creature 
You are not to kill  him 
This is a man 
He has a hard  time 
Upon the earth 
You are not to kill  him. 
There are  also those who oppose the death penalty on the practical grounds 
that it has  little impact on the rate of killing in  society. 
10 October can also be a day to oppose all organized killings. In  addition 
to State-sponsored official executions, often carried out publicly or  at 
least with official observers, a good number of countries have  
state-sponsored “death squads” — persons affiliated to the police or  
agencies who kill “in the dark of the night” — unofficially.  These deaths 
a trial which might  attract attention or even a “not guilty” decision.  A 
shot in the back of the head is  faster. The number of “targeted killings” 
has grown.  In many cases, the bodies of those  killed are destroyed and so 
death is supposed but not proved. This is what the  United Nations called “
enforced or involuntary disappearances.”  Attacks by drones are also a form 
of  State-organized executions without trial or the possibility of  appeal. 
There is also a growth in non-governmental targeted killings. Attention  
has focused recently on the drug-trade-related death of Mexico’s “drug lords”
.  These groups of organized crime have  many of the negative attributes of 
States.  Their opponents are designated for killing and executed by those on 
the  pay-roll of death.  These groups are  not limited to Mexico.  In 
addition, there are a good number of  countries where non-governmental 
groups exist and carry out  executions. 
Thus our efforts against executions need to be addressed both to  
governments and to those State-like non-governmental armed groups.  The 
abolition of 
executions and the  corresponding valuation of human life are necessary 
steps to building a just  society. As the late Robert Muller, former Assistant 
Secretary-General of the  United Nations wrote in his essay The Right Not to 
Kill “In every epoch  of history there are a few exceptional human beings 
who are blessed with a  correct vision of the place of the human person on 
earth. This vision is always  basically the same: 
It recognizes the oneness and supremacy of the human family, irrespective  
of color, sex, creed, nation or any other distinctive  characteristics; 
It recognizes each individual human being as a unique miracle of divine  
origin, a cosmos of his own, never to be repeated again in all  eternity; 
It rejects all violence as being contrary to the sanctity and the  
uniqueness of life, and advocates love, tolerance, truth, cooperation and  
for life as the only civilized means of achieving a peaceful and happy  
It preaches love and care for our beautiful and so diverse planet in the  
fathomless universe; 
It sees each human life and society as part of an eternal stream of time  
and ever ascending evolution; 
It recognizes that the ultimate mysteries of life, time and the universe  
will forever escape the human mind and therefore bends in awe and humility  
before these mysteries and God; 
It advocates gratitude and joy for the privilege of being admitted to the  
banquet of life; 
It preaches hope, faith, optimism and a deep commitment to the moral and  
ethical virtues of peace and justice distilled over eons of time as the  
foundations for further human ascent.” 
Muller went on to add “We must restore optimism and continue to sharpen  
our inborn instincts for life, for the positive, foe self-preservation, for  
survival and human fulfilment at ever higher levels of consciousness.  We 
must conquer the duality, the  negative, the suicidal.  These all  contain 
dangerous self-finding processes of destruction.  We must turn instead to the 
mysterious  self-generation powers of hope, creative thinking, love, life 
affirmation and  faith.” 
Thus, as we mark on 10 October our opposition to the death penalty, let  us 
stress the dignity of all persons and the strength of the affirmation of  
Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World  Citizens 

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