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« Cultural heritage: language, literature and politics | Main | Death of a Madman (Norman Costa) »

May 02, 2011

Comments

always interesting to be reading your ideas, cyrus. i do not think justice was served with this killing, either, for reasons different than yours. but i also do not think justice was the aim pursued, either. rather, the word that appears in public utterances about this execution. what the strategic value it holds, we have yet to see.


Cyrus,

This is an interesting essay because for any one sentence, in isolation, I might very well agree with you. Putting it all together and seeing where you are going, it is my personal opinion that it is bullshit.

Please do elaborate Norman.

I am going to be a little gentler than Norman. But in this case, I kinda agree with him.

Thanks Cyrus for a thoughtful and sober reflection on justice. You are right in suspecting that the hunt for Bin Laden was not about justice. This was at some level, exactly what it appears to be - revenge. But in this case, revenge may actually constitute a form of justice, however primitive the variety.

The issue of terrorism and the world after 9/11 has become a difficult one to handle even for those of us who would like to believe that we stand (or should stand) for justice and that no matter how heinous the crime, extra-judicial killings are to be condemned both at home and abroad. It has become a very difficult balancing act. How to hold the following thoughts in one's head at the same time: Bush was wrong on most things; Bin Laden was evil; Iraq was a colossal mistake; raiding Afghanistan to rid the world of the brutal Al Qaida and the medieval Taliban was justified in 2001 but staying there in 2011 is not; Pakistan has always played a dangerous double game even when we paid them to be our allies; killing and persecution of innocent Muslims is wrong whether by US forces or by Al Qaida / Taliban; terrorism always targets the innocent but our response to it must be thoughtful and precise, not ham-handed?

But may be .. just may be it is not wholly immoral to feel that Osama deserved this. There is no need to rejoice at his demise but it is not unnatural to feel a sense of relief. He met a better end than the thousands that burnt to a crisp on 9 / 11. Good and evil are rarely ever black and white and there never has been a greyer area than "justice" for Osama Bin Laden.


Cyrus,

Tortured logic does not command a critique that is expository.

Well, thanks Norm. I'm either too stupid or too self-brainwashed to understand why my logic is so tortured.

I didn't write this to offend anyone, and certainly not you. I was troubled by Abbas's last few sentences in his 3QD post from today calling for, ex post facto, what amounts to an extra-judicial killing in the name of justice. Another friend had mentioned that she was thinking a lot about what justice meant after the Osama's death. Maybe I should have sat on the piece longer and worked on firming it up, but I wanted to try and briefly explain just one of the problems I see with the American insistence that killing terrorists without a trial is right. I tried, but appear to have failed, to say that I certainly do understand that bin Laden's death will provide some level of closure for many.

Ruchira, I don't read anything I have written here as saying it is immoral to feel that Osama deserved death. I don't really believe that. Such feelings are perfectly natural, and more importantly, are feelings, not actions. In this case, millions of American's feelings have been fulfilled by government action, and there is a sense of relief. It's the actions I question, not the feelings or the sense of relief. Also, it is when justice is most gray that reasoned and careful consideration is needed, and rules most important.

In some primitive part of my brain, there was a sense of relief that the circle was now closed, the circle that started when I watched, horrified at the smoke pouring out of the WTC and the 2nd plane flying into it on live TV. My husband was due to attend a meeting at the WTC on Sept 14, 2001. It was no longer possible, naturally. The firm that he was going to visit was wiped out that day.
In the Bush years, I had always wondered about the conspiracy theories, whether OBL was just a convenient bogeyman, who was just trotted out via taped rants to scare the US public into a constant state of compliance and fear. But the primitive part of my brain still persists, even after all these years. Why else would I feel this sense of relief? What makes me trust this current government's actions when they state that yes, Osama bin Laden is finally brought to justice? I'm not completely sure, but I think that this photo has something to do with it, the expressions on the faces as they watch might be a weird mirror of the expressions on their faces as they watched the Twin Towers.

Hot thread, dude!

I tend to question the future good, the future utility, of any action, any time. It may be the American public needed ObL to die in a commando raid key in order to feel protected by the president, in order to feel that Americans are still the people who can implacably pursue an enemy and take him out, though a decade may pass. Well, that's the message--could it also have been the motivation? One hideous potential this action may have is to incite a fanatic to murder the president. How does that help?

In this case--the fiery execution of ObL--I am not as interested in justice for the dead and their survivorrs as I am in where we go from here. Unless we all live on Masada, there is no justice for the dead, no real help for the survivors of any disaster but to move through grief and trauma to some more endurable state. As for justice applying to ObL, I would
rather have seen a Nuremberg Trial. I do not care about fairness to ObL except on the conceptual level, where I care about it very much. THAT kind of fairness says something important about how we can handle ourseles as a people, about how we are in the world, the shrinking yet ever more divided world.

Finally, Cyrus, it is not necessary for me to agree with you for me to believe it is good you are thinking all this through for yourself. I am old enough to be thinking chiefly about what kind of world we are building for people who are about 10 years old in 2011, not about whether I am revenged. Oh, sure, I'm glad ObL is gone. But who will be helped, and for how long, by the manner of his death? Or even by the fact of it?

A mix of Cyrus and Elatia pretty well sums up my feelings about this. A cold-eyed view of history is unsatisfying, and justice is not an apt criterion for the examination of this particular historical blip. Let's move on. I am troubled by Norman's curt analysis. Any text, Norman, suffers from the condition you ascribe to Cyrus'. In that respect, any text is bullshit.

We are a people famished for a sense of self-worth. We invest in figureheads a tremendous power to exploit our hunger. I don't expect this circumstance to change during my lifetime.

I am much more worried about the tendency of the US to launch widespread warfare whenever it sees its "values" (or oil supply) threatened. Vietnam, the support of the Taliban against the USSR in Afghanistan and then recently Iraq, are all examples of immoral and disproportionate "extra-judicial" responses to mostly imaginary enemies which in turn, managed to multiply our real enemies. Repeated missteps in our foreign policy culminate in our having to resort to this kind of covert actions. We should put a rein on the overt aggression first.

Justice was not what the administration was seeking here, no matter what anyone says. If justice was served, it was some kind of a primitive retributive justice but not what is defined by the law. Yes, that is a dangerous message to citizens - "We will satisfy your craving for revenge and make you feel good when you have been feeling rotten." However, OBL is a strange case. He saw himself as a holy warrior commanding an army that is at war with the US and the west. He apparently had instructions for his acolytes that in the event that he was to be taken prisoner by enemy forces, they should kill him. So, he didn't want to be tried in the court of law either. But that didn't apparently happen. Cyrus, Elatia and Dean, what if the special ops hadn't pulled the trigger and given him the option to either give himself up or commit suicide and OBL had opted for the latter, would that be justice? I am not sure how to feel about this case. I would have preferred a trial myself, not because I ever doubted OBL's guilt but because his covert assassination and the burial at sea already have conspiracy theorists all heated up. Perhaps we have to think of it as an act of war on a smaller scale and it was not "unprovoked" as in the case of Saddam. One target got snuffed out and the other did not. Happens all the time. Unless we begin by questioning the morality of war itself, OBL's death is not that important. Moreover, I would go further and claim that in the case of Bin Laden and Al Qaida, it is not just "revenge" that is motivating the policies; the threat they pose in the future is. I would rather see this kind of small scale killing of dangerous individuals than the widespread death of innocents through full scale wars or indiscriminate aerial and drone attacks. There are very few pure options available against the likes of Bin Laden.

Your broader concern, Ruchira, is much more concrete than the question of justice as it pertains to this historical episode, one of a sort that "happens all the time." You ask, "What if the special ops hadn't pulled the trigger and given him the option to either give himself up or commit suicide and OBL had opted for the latter, would that be justice?" I've already answered that question. Justice is irrelevant to this event. The death of OBL relates as much to justice as it does to nutritional value. The measures are inapplicable. What if OBL had had a heart attack? Just? Of course not, unless the inevitability of mortality is a kind of justice. The death, as you say, is not that important.

Nor is it relevant that OBL avoided subjection to a formal system of justice. There's nothing strange at all about that sentiment. Lots of prospective defendants would love to skirt the system.

I'd like to apply Norman's analytic to this matter. The death of OBL, taken in isolation, seems salutary. But in the context of deceit and aggression wielded by the power that vanquished him, it's hard to get all that worked up about it.


@ Dean:

You raise an interesting point that brings me back to our second war with Iraq. Bush's war was launched on false pretext and excuse. 9/11 and AlQaida were the convenient pretexts, and WMD the excuse. Nothing new there. The problem, afterward, was that no one missed Saddam Husein. Early on, no one, but no one, wanted to correct a great wrong by restoring Iraq to its pre-invasion status and the departure of the US led coalition.

In 1956 (or was it 1957?) England, France, and Israel concocted and carried out a secret plan to invade and occupy Egypt, after Nassar nationalized the Suez Canal. Israel invaded Egypt first (almost nobody knows that today) so that England and France could land their invasion forces under the false pretext of separating the warring forces of Egpyt and Israel. The United Nations, led by the US, demanded the departure of English, French, and Israeli forces from Egypt. The moral force of President Eisenhower, himself, resulted in the restoration of the political situation to immediately before the double invasion of Egypt.

It is very possible that Qaddafi will be killed, and a regime will be installed that is much less antagonistic to the West. The deaths of more of his children will be insufficient to stir any kind of moral alarm or call for a restoration of his rule - even if he agrees to a lot of concessions. When he is gone, like Saddam, he will not be missed. For the time being, a moral examination of the matter is, and will be, an irrelevancy. History's view is anyone's guess.

Just prior to the second war with Iraq, NATO made it clear to Qaddafi that he would be killed if he did not agree to a complete dismantling of his nuclear weapons program. He was tossed the face saving bones of the repatriation of the imprisoned Lockerbie bomber, and naming Libya as the head of the UN Human Rights Commission. Lest anyone forget, nuclear war was averted in 1962 by pure chance and luck.

If another mad man, zealot, religious extremist, or misguided but sincere believer presents himself as a new spokesman for anti-West sentiment and is assassinated shortly thereafter, what should be our reaction? Do we denounce the trigger-happy, shoot-first-ask-questions-later factions in the West? Do we tell the family of the dead man that he was a fucking idiot to go public in this environment? Do we note fear and terror in our own country because we can be harmed by a near invisible enemy who would nuke us if they could? Do we chide ourselves with a taunt that the chickens may be coming home to roost?

I propose these questions, but I have no answer. I do not even know if we can articulate a coherent moral position that can deal with the geopolitics of today. It is my opinion that if people are killed, or property destroyed, in the name of our country (or any country), and nobody misses the people or property, the extent of a moral appraisal will be, "What is done, is done." Is this good? Is this bad? It could go either way.

Norman, I could probably answer some of the "moral" questions you have posed, not all. But there would be too many tortuous "on the one hand and on the other" type of arguments there. Some actions are more defensible or indefensible than others. I have listed some of the post WWII US foreign interventions which I consider clearly failed moral as well as diplomatic moves. And yes, Bush-Cheney's invasion of Iraq is one of them. Saddam Hussain's character does not enter my calculus. History papers over almost everything, good and bad. Just because some day people won't remember is not a good enough reason to engage in an action that amounts to a morally questionable/reprehensible choice.

I am okay with the fact that Osama Bin Laden has been eliminated. As I said, his guilt was never in doubt (he admitted it) except in the minds of conspiracists. But I also believe that it is quite irrelevant in the present scheme of things. Will Obama have the wisdom to use this symbolic victory that is a huge salve for the American psyche as a justified excuse to get out of Af-Pak? I hope so. The sad thing is that if all it took were a few helicopters and a handful of Special Ops guys to get this arch villain in the end, how will we ever explain Iraq and the hundreds of thousands of lives lost in pursuit of one cowardly jerk?

Dean, I don't entirely understand when you say justice is irrelevant, but I think I partially understand what you are saying. Bin Laden's death speaks more to the justice of American society than it does about Osama as a person, the acts he committed, or his attempt to avoid justice (he likely saw no injustice committed). In that sense, the rubric of justice is incorrect to discuss the death itself, but I would contend that it is the right framing to talk about how Osama should have been dealt with.

--

Norm, I have some possible answers to your questions. In the order asked: to deride the concept that the only options are to do nothing or to kill, capitulation or force, and speak out against the idea that mere threats compel us to abandon various parts of the liberal project; yes; no; we note the fear, and then we note its uselessness, particularly when compared to automobile deaths or pedestrian accidents; no, but we should analyze our actions for possible antecedents (hint, attempted domination of the middle east may be a contributing factor; the surgeon general recommends one or less invasions per decade, least radicalism continue to metastasize).

I find your next paragraph quite odious: "It is my opinion that if people are killed, or property destroyed, in the name of our country (or any country), and nobody misses the people or property, the extent of a moral appraisal will be, 'What is done, is done.' Is this good? Is this bad? It could go either way." Seriously? I suppose we should begin an immediate campaign of killing the homeless on our streets then; few will miss them. Shall we kill the inhabitants of the Amazon so Brazil can build the hydro-electric damns? No one will miss those primitive people.

Maybe you mean this to only apply to evil people and property. I want to know who gets to make the good/evil distinction, and what the rules are. My main proposition is that equality under well thought out and fair rules is a crucial part to making sure justice is done, even when the outcome is assumed by most. You statements seem to point in the opposite direction.

i remember almost twenty years ago whem timothy mcveigh was tried for bombing the murrah bldg in oklahoma city. there was no doubt of his guilt, but the best defense lawyer in the southwest was retained to represent him. mcveigh was for years "the most hated man in america" and would almost certainly get the death penalty. it was apparent that his defense needed to be a perfect thing of its kind. It was. And when he was put to death for his multiple murders, no one could say he he was railroaded.

where did that thinking go? maybe ive been watching too many Gary Cooper movies?


Cyrus,

You are unable to distinguish between characterization and advocacy. You mistake laying an idea bare with promotion and approval. Keep trying. You might get it right, eventually.

The Obama administration has now revealed that OBL was unarmed at the time of his death and was not using a woman as a shield as reported earlier. But they insist that he "resisted" capture. It is clearer now that this was indeed summary execution and was meant to be so all along.

I have a suspicion that had bin Laden been captured in the early days following the 9/11 attacks, there probably would have have an effort to take him in alive. He was at the time, a treasure trove of fresh information. He would have been subjected to "enhanced interrogation" like his lieutanants such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others and would probably have been languishing in Gitmo like them. But in 2011, OBL is considered mostly irrelevant to the operational side of Al Qaida but remained an inspirational symbol to his adherents. Without any strategic military value to us but wielding a huge emotional hold on our enemies, the US saw him as instantly disposable - better dead than alive.

Targeted killing is bad business, not matter who undertakes it. At least in the case of OBL, his guilt is not in doubt - he admitted it.

Cyrus,

Thank you for the interesting essay. You helped me clarify my thinking on the issue. I favor a more teleological perspective. What would a trial have accomplished? Even in whatever is deemed as the "most fair" venue this world has to offer, we already know the outcome - he would have been executed (I realize I'm kind of making an argument against judicial systems in general, here). The pageantry of displaying and arguing evidence would not affect the reality of his guilt. The trial would only serve to bring out and prolong those nastiest elements of human emotions en masse - anger, bloodlust, and so forth.

I agree with the first part of your piece, which I took to mean that "Justice" is not a moral absolute that can be achieved - rather a subjective sense that somehow a wrong has been righted. This suggests that the concept of Justice is almost bullshit by nature. So I don't quite understand your final point that Justice has not been served, only history. It's served as long as people feel it's been served. I for one think the bullet that killed him was well spent. It brought those nastiest of human emotions up to the surface quickly, where they can be made aware and maybe get the chance to be examined. Those feelings are now free to dissipate back into the ether of mass unconsciousness instead of festering through a protracted examination of all of his crimes... also... he was a dick.

I think people are getting too hung up on procedural justice here relative to "actual" guilt. As mirror to this case, there was some Supreme Court activity recently about someone on Death Row who'd exhausted all his appeals but whom DNA tests had since shown was actually innocent. The procedurally just but really nasty response (chosen by Thomas, was it?) is to say, 'we're following rules so you've got to die.' Here we've got someone actually guilty but for whom the procedures for establishing said fact are politically problematic. In dealing with exceptional cases like Osama (or the death row guy), the procedures are pretty much broken, so perhaps you do what you can despite them instead of slavishly following the rules.

My only concern at the manner of his death is prudential, pertaining to the incentives and precedents established; I can't be bothered to believe Osama himself actually was treated unjustly. I have some confidence the exceptional nature of the case makes slopes somewhat less slippery than they would otherwise be.

Prasad is right about the ambiguity of the idea of justice. On reflection, I think my inability to give any weight to justice as a parameter for evaluating the elimination of OBL has something to do with a difficulty viewing the event as entailing any sort of procedure whatsoever. It was a political and military enterprise. That's all. Legal and moral justifications may be more or less satisfying, but the satisfying ones fail to prove justice has been done. Justice, to my mind, has to do with states of affairs, not with the satisfaction of the personal desire for closure or revenge.

I'm not familiar with the horrible capital punishment case involving the exhaustion of appeals, but if Prasad's account is accurate, I find it absurd to refer to the result as "procedurally just." More like legalistic to a fault. Justice is not assured because we faithfully followed the rules.

I think so too, Prasad. We all know that the Navy SEALs did not go to the Abbottabad "compound" to arrest Osama. The killing may be procedurally troubling but in the case of OBL, probably the "neatest" outcome. Let me put it another way. What if a drone had dropped a bomb on the compound as an act of war, killing not just OBL and the "couriers" but also the wives and children who have been spared in the latest operation, would we be worrying about legal procedures? We wanted Osama dead because he killed Americans. This was different from targeting ideological "enemies" like Castro, Allende, Che Guevara...


Prasad, Dean, Ruchira:

Thanks for the direction of this discussion. I remember the case Prasad described, but I did not follow it. I have been around long enough (with a long avocational interest in law) to have read about a number of such cases. The law is an abstract calculus to which (we hope) a jurist will wed a sense of justice. The case mentioned is a perfect example of an abstract calculus, period.

We do not have a system of Justice, with a capital 'J.' We have a system of justice, with a small 'j,' that is defined by procedure, statute, common law, and case law. It functions as an adversarial process with mercenary gladiators as stand-ins for a trial by combat. I do not say this with a facetious intent. This is the origin of English and American law. Our system of justice does not guarantee big 'J' Justice. It only guarantees a fair process.

So if we approach the summary execution of OBL in terms of our system of small 'j' justice, there are some strong arguments for it to be sure, but another process might still give OBL what he deserves and offer his victims a measure of big 'J' Justice. There are numerous examples including Mussolini and Ceausescu. No one would call the trials given them as procedurally fair by any definition. Yet, I do not think anyone would deny that Justice was served.

Much is made in various circles of the fact that the US incarcerates more of its citizens than just about any other country. One reason for the disparity is that in some countries a vendetta form of justice prevails or is tolerated. Vendetta in this sense is not the term of great opprobrium as we understand it. If your son dies from a drug overdose, or your daughter is raped, or your parent is scammed by a greedy neighbor, it is not a violation of local morality to kill the drug pusher, castrate the rapist, or burn down the embezzler's house. The police will show up and do a cursory investigation and write a report. As long as 'justice' stayed within bounds of proportionality, no one gets too excited.

On principle, we do not accept this for ourselves, and we view it as barbaric and primitive. In some countries and societies, it is the only justice system that enables a community to function with some modicum of order. Countries beset by civil strife or civil war (Beirut in the 70s and 80s,) and countries where police, prosecutors, and judges are all corrupt give people no alternative to a vendetta system.

Getting back to procedural justice in the US, those charged with crimes are guaranteed a fair process called a jury trial. One of the themes you find in many courtroom dramas on TV and in the movies, is an innocent person convicted of a serious crime. Yet in the process to right a wrong, you will find a prosecutor declaring that the defendant was found guilty in a jury trial. It is not just a convenient cop-out. We have a near sacrosanct principle that we cannot impeach our own process of justice. That is exactly what Thomas was upholding on the Supreme Court. If a member of a jury panel says after a trial that she made a mistake to convict, and has a good reason, almost no prosecutor or judge will impeach the process.

Now let us get back to OBL. To what system of 'j'ustice or 'J'ustice should he be subjected or entitled? As many people as will answer that question, we will get as many different answers, many of them with good reasoning though reaching diametrically opposed positions. Adolph Eichmann, Obersturmbannf├╝hrer in the Nazi Schutzstaffel, and manager of exterminating Jews, communists, political enemies, homosexuals, and other undesirables was given a public trial in Israel after his capture in Argentina by the Mossad in 1960.

Question: Was Eichmann entitled to justice afforded by a procedurally appropriate system in Israel or any other country?

Answer: What was the point of giving him a trial?

Eichmann was not entitled to the slightest consideration, as judged by the survivors of the camps and their families and friends. The survivors and the others were entitled to an unimpeachable process that would document Nazi horrors for all the world to see, and for many generations that will follow. Eichmann was given a fair trial so that justice could be delivered to those who suffered and died. Justice was giving the victims, and those who spoke for them, a chance to tell their stories. No one was concerned about procedural justice for a mass murderer.

The number of people who were killed by OBL, many as they were, was only limited by circumstance, opportunity, and how big a bomb or weapon he could get his hands on. He stated that women, children, and otherwise non-combatants were legitimate targets for death by explosion and mutilating shrapnel. He took credit for mass murders. How the fuck does someone come out the other end of this talking about justice being the victim by executing OBL with two bullets in his fucking head. If his death was not just, it was because it was mercifully quick.

Norm, you forgot Jay. He pretty much said the same thing in his comment.


Ruchira, You are right. I forgot Jay.

JAY, Prasad, Dean, and Ruchira:

Thanks for the direction of this discussion. I remember the case....

I don't want to extend this discussion much further with my own so-so notions, but a couple items prompt me to do so. First, Norman's comment didn't forget Jay. It subsumed him, by posing the problem as grammatical, big 'J' or little 'j,' which applies? The global discussion generally conflates the two, turning a debate about ideals and principles (J) into a fairly trivial one about procedural propriety and fairness (j). Norman, there are no systems of Justice. There are only systems of justice that some permit to serve as a proxy for the other. Those who devotedly do so hear dissonance when you ask whether Eichmann was entitled to a fair trial. For them, the entitlement resides not with the defendant, who is merely one component of the proxy system, but with all who are served by such a system. For justice to approximate Justice, the argument goes, we have to maintain procedural rigor and play by the rules of the game. Your Eichmann account suggests as much, but then it veers off the road. Justice, a chance to tell stories? A merciful dispatch? This reminds me of the famous Dukakis political hiccup, when the presidential candidate during a debate failed, according to some, to exhibit sufficient anger toward a hypothetical rapist of his wife. The anger would have been best directed at the question, of course, as it stupidly presumed that interested parties should adjudicate legal outcomes.

Second, beneath the surface of much of this discussion is the matter of judicial economy. Jeffrey Toobin gets to it right away in this brief New Yorker comment. "If [OBL] had been taken into custody, what followed would have been the most complex and wrenching legal proceeding in American history. The difficulties would have been endless..." Justice requires a tallying of costs and benefits. I have no sympathy for this sentiment, and I wonder whether even Toobin does, as he goes on to proclaim that OBL didn't deserve a trial, anyway. That's the Eichmann question once more.


"...[T]here are no systems of Justice. There are only systems of justice that some permit to serve as a proxy for the other."

And therein lies that with which we struggle.


"Justice, a chance to tell stories?"

Dean, I am not sure what to make of your reaction to story telling, so let me be clear on my meaning. Telling your story is a fundamental element in treatment of those who have experienced severe personal trauma. It is part of a therapeutic schedule for treating PTSD. It is necessary for victims to tell their stories to others who have experienced the same, and then to listen to the stories of others. At the same time that they recall the events of the trauma, they have to recall the attending affect as well, if healing, recovery, and integration are to follow. See "Trauma and Recovery" by Judith Herman MD. Also, story telling is what depositions and testimony are all about. It becomes the record for all the world to read, see, and hear.

Norman, I can't accept that telling one's story, regardless of its therapeutic value, is adequate to achieve justice. There's always an opportunity to tell a story. We don't need a legal regime crowding the forum. Depositions and testimony? Very well, then, give victims a chance to tell their story, but require they present it in terza rima.


Dean,

You wrote, "I can't accept that telling one's story, regardless of its therapeutic value, is adequate to achieve justice." I do not know who thought story telling was ADEQUATE to achieve justice, but I cannot accept that either.

However, story telling is fundamental to law and justice. A victim of a crime tells her story to investigating police. A police report tells a victim's story to a prosecuting attorney. A prosecutor puts together a case that tells a victims story to a jury.

Getting back to the Eichmann case, there is no such thing as 'mass murder,' or 'crimes against humanity' without evidence that stories could be told about individual human beings, if only to tell their names and the story of how their ashes were disposed.

Most victims of great personal trauma like rape, torture, and other forms of abuse cannot find justice because they are unable or unwilling to tell their stories. Most survivors of the holocaust DID NOT TELL THEIR STORIES - to anyone. The Eichmann trial allowed a few to come forward in a safe place where they could feel protected and tell their story to the world, and encourage a few others to tell theirs. Had there been no trial, many stories would not have been told. Not until the Shoah Project was there a concerted program to solicit and record those stories. Ninety percent of rape victims do not tell their stories to the police.

Story telling by victims enables them begin a process that MIGHT lead to Justice. It will always be important to their healing. Sometimes a forensic pathologist must tell the story for the victim. If there is no story telling, there can be no possibility for Justice. STORY TELLING IS A GIFT FROM THE GODS!

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