Sunday 6 January 2013

Cruelty knows no bounds

I read the details of the gang rape case in India. Am I horrified? Yes. Am I sickened? Yes. But I am also stunned by the level of cruelty. How could anybody do such a thing to another human being? It defies belief.

On December 16, 2012, six men take a bus out on a joyride. Thinking it is public bus, Jyoti Singh Pandey and a male companion get on board. The men beat both of them then proceed to rape the young woman. But one of the attackers penetrates her with an iron bar, probably part of a wheel jack, and rips out her intestines. When she finally receives emergency treatment hours later, the hospital reports she only has 5% of her intestines left in her body.

My initial reaction? If that man was standing in front of me right now, I have no idea if anger would overwhelm me before phoning the police. Obviously I'm not the only one. One of the perpetrators had to be put in solitary confinement for his own protection after being assaulted by other inmates.

I am stunned. I am beyond stunned. I cannot fathom for the life of me how anybody under any circumstances could display such cruelty. I have no idea what psychiatric term may describe this phenomenon but while I consider myself to be a peaceful man, I would have to think the treatment for such a condition should be lethal injection. You've had your chance. Do not pass Go; do not collect $200.

Okay, those opposed to capital punishment will protest the treatment I just suggested, but at the very least, that man should never again see the light of day. This isn't a crime. This is something worse. A crime against nature? Insanity? Unfettered amorality? There is something fundamental in our horror, so fundamental it spans all of us. Why else are child molesters considered the bottom of the barrel? Why must they be segregated from the rest of the prison population? Preying on the weak and defenseless?

Note: Eve teasing
In the photo accompanying this article, if you look closely, you will see a protest sign which reads, "Leave the Eves, Cease the tease."

Wikipedia: Eve teasing
Eve teasing is a euphemism used in India and sometimes Bangladesh for public sexual harassment or molestation of women by men, with use of the word "Eve" being a reference to the biblical Eve, the first woman. It implies that the woman is in some way responsible for the behaviour of the perpetrators of this act. Considered a problem related to delinquency in youth, it is a form of sexual aggression that ranges in severity from sexually suggestive remarks, brushing in public places and catcalls to outright groping. Sometimes it is referred to with a coy suggestion of innocent fun, making it appear innocuous with no resulting liability on the part of the perpetrator. Some voluntary organisations have suggested that the expression be replaced by a more appropriate term. According to them, considering the semantic roots of the term in Indian English, Eve teasing refers to the temptress nature of Eve, placing responsibility on the woman as a tease.

The woman is responsible for the behaviour of the perpetrators of this act. Really? Now where have I heard that idea before? See my blog: Rape? No problem! Women must have an orgasm to get pregnant. I warn you to open a window as you will have smoke pouring out of your ears and you'll set off your fire alarm.

Aesha Mohammadzai
I saw this cover of Time Magazine for the edition of August 9, 2010. Needless to say, I was horrified. In fact, I can say I felt a certain queasiness if not a mild nausea in looking at such a graphic display of mutilation. I find it incomprehensible how anyone under any circumstances could possibly arrive at any reasoning which could in any way justify such a horrific act of cruelty. The brutality, the mercilessness, the grotesqueness of such an action goes so far beyond the limits of the supposed crime, I realize that I am faced with a thought process so different, so foreign to my own experience; my initial reaction is to first recoil in terror. This is quickly followed by an almost overwhelming desire to strike down the perpetrators; to grab them by the throats and choke the life out of them. My reaction is visceral, primordial, and animal.

However my anger does dissipate and I am filled with a sadness, a hopelessness at the extent of our short sightedness, our pettiness and our blindness. We as humans have such a tremendous capacity for kindness and a sometimes inexhaustible penchant for viciousness.

The Time article describes how this woman's offense was to run away from her husband's house. She explained that her in-laws beat her and treated her like a slave. If she hadn't fled, she would have died. The local Taliban commander, her judge, was unyielding and the sentence carried out involved her own brother holding her down while her husband cut off first her ears then her nose.

This didn't happen 15 years ago when the Taliban were in power; it happened in 2009.

But, all this took place in Afghanistan, a country fighting a war against a group well noted for an ideology of cruelty.

James Byrd
In Jasper, Texas, on June 7, 1998, 3 white men gave a ride to James Byrd Jr., an African-American but instead of taking him home, they took him to a remote area and beat him unconscious. They then tied him by the ankles to their pickup truck and dragged him for 3 miles. He died when his body hit a culvert and both the right arm and head were severed. A subsequent autopsy suggested the man had been alive throughout his 3 mile ordeal.

2 of the three white men were known white supremacists and are now under sentence of death. The 3rd, the driver received the lesser sentence of life in prison.

I forget when I first saw this story but I remember reading it with a feeling of utter disbelief. Nobody could possibly be that cruel.

Final Word
I suppose that I could go on and on with various examples, from the simple, 1 or 2 people, all the way up to the Nazi's and their cruelty transported to a national level. Whatever the number of examples, I would return to an idea someone presented years ago in asking the question of just what progress has the human race made in the past 2,000 years. Yes, we have cable TV but are we really any better?

“When cruelty is inflicted on innocent people, it discredits whatever cause.”
- Ronald Reagan (American 40th US President (1981- 89), 1911-2004)


Wikipedia: 2012 Delhi gang rape case
Jyoti Singh Pandey, a female physiotherapy intern was beaten and gang raped in Delhi on 16 December 2012, and died thirteen days later while undergoing emergency treatment in Singapore for brain and gastrointestinal damage from the assault. After watching a film in South Delhi in the early evening, she and a male companion boarded a bus, which was being driven as an unauthorized "joyride", thinking it was a public bus. The only other passengers on the bus were five men who were friends of the driver. All six, including the driver, were charged in connection with the assaults and have been arrested.

Wikipedia: Aesha Mohammadzai
Bibi Aisha (Bibi is a term of respect meaning "Lady") (birth name Aisha Mohammadzai, legal name Aesha Mohammadzai) is an Afghan woman whose mutilated face appeared on the cover of Time magazine in summer 2010.

Wikipedia: Murder of James Byrd, Jr.
James Byrd, Jr. (May 2, 1949 – June 7, 1998) was an African-American who was murdered by three men, of whom at least two were white supremacists, in Jasper, Texas, on June 7, 1998.

my blog: Rape? No problem! Women must have an orgasm to get pregnant.
(from Aug 2012) Todd Akin, U.S. Representative for Missouri's 2nd congressional district, member of the Republican party, current candidate for the U.S. Senate, and poster boy for all things medieval such as the Earth is flat, has managed to turn himself into the talk of the nation in one fell swoop... "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

my blog: Justice Robert Dewar: rape is inconsiderate
The judge in the case is in hot water now over remarks he made during the sentencing of Kenneth Rhodes. Dewar made mention of the women wearing no bras (you don't wear a bra with a tube top), of the women talking about going swimming even though they didn't have bathing suits, of wearing high heels and having "plenty of makeup". Judge Dewar described Rhodes as a "clumsy Don Juan" but said the circumstances were "inviting" and that "Sex was in the air." He concluded by saying, "This is a case of misunderstanding signals and inconsiderate behaviour."


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