Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Justice in the eyes of the Unforgiving

I thought some more about what I wrote earlier this week, and I realised I may be at odds with the ancients in that I do not believe in the death penalty, but I am a believe in a life for life. In other words, if its proved beyond all doubt that you murdered someone, you should spend your life paying for it. I have always thought death an easy option, in comparison to serving a life sentence in gaol, and rarely is a life sentence really for life these days. Now, if someone killed one my own then they would probably want to spend the rest of their life in gaol, as opposed to any kind of life I might allow them were they at my disposal.

Recently, I watched a film, called "Ten Canoes", an ancient aboriginal story. During the course of the movie, a man is killed in retaliation for a slight, but its a case of mistaken identity; the wrong person is murdered. The murderer takes himself off, with a second, to the tribe of the victim in order to face his punishment. Both he, and his second, stand before the other tribe and face a barrage of spears. The murderer receives a wound just at the last, survives, and is carried away by his kin, including his second, who remains unharmed throughout. The tribe of the victim consider the debt for their dead brother paid. Unkown to them, the murderer later dies from his wounds. A natural kind of justice perhaps?

I felt that even if the murderer had survived, he had faced his punishment honourably and so the debt was paid. Much like the Sons of Tuireann, who completed the tasks set them, despite expectations they would perish.

From a personal point of view, I am never sure that our current justice system is adequate or imposes the kind of justice I would want. Then, I think of some of the people who might want to extract justice in the ways mentioned above and, perhaps, that would be worse, resulting in an ever escalating level of violence as we see in gang wars. Revenge killings are still reported in the news with regularity, too, however, this is not the type of personal justice I am advocating.
For me, each situation is different with individual requirements for compensation. Even I don't always seek compensation from those that slight me; some just aren't worth my time, and others lead to escalating wrongdoing.

What kind of justice would I want in a situation of manslaughter or murder? What if, as in the "Ten Canoes" situation, it was mistaken identity? I do know that I won't get the compensation I want; as my beliefs are at odds with our current justice system. I do know that I couldn't forgive the perpetrator, as so many others have done, and as is becoming somewhat expected by our society. Society might even consider me a godless heathen for thinking this way ...

Monday, 8 June 2009


I have to acknowledge that I am an unforgiving person. I have always been so, even growing up within the Catholic faith, forgiveness was a tenet I never understood. Turning the other cheek was something I thought you ought to do when drawing back your fist, or other weapon before striking your enemy down with full force.

I have always felt that when someone wrongs me, I am entitled to compensation of a sort, even if its just an apology, but I'd prefer they suffer as I had. Perhaps this is why the laws of the ancients always appealed: they always extracted a price for wrongdoing. For instance, the price extracted by Lugh from the Sons of Tuireann for the slaughter of Cian. Although Lugh thought the tasks he set might kill them, the Sons of Tuireann return triumphant, and the debt is satisfied. To me that (almost) makes sense.

It has always been a strange thing to me that the male of the species is able to engage in violent, physical combat and, even if one comes out clearly the winner, both can consider the matter which was the catalyst for the fight closed and resume their previous (good) relationship. I acknowledge this is not always the case, but I have seen it occur often enough, and it occurs regularly in the myths. For my own part, I can consider a matter closed, but it will remain on record in my memory banks.

Don't get me wrong: I don't demand compensation for every slight or from every opponent. I am quite happy to debate matters, and will even take an opposing side in order to gain a deeper understanding of another's point of view, or just to play devil's advocate. I rarely take offence during an argument and rarely do I take such things personally; in fact, others have commented on my inability to take personal offence. Provided no personal insults are slung, I see no reason to seek satisfaction.

What I cannot do is forgive anyone, or anything that attacks me, my family or my friends, nor will I forget, which may separate me from the ancients. Just because someone pays the price for their actions against me, it does not necessarily follow I will forget the matter. A trust will have been broken and no compensation can restore trust.

I realised over the weekend, that I have no qualms about being the unforgiving sort. I used to feel (the Catholic) guilt over not being able to forgive, or turn the other cheek, but not anymore. Its how I feel; how I am. I am not inclined to change either.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Worst Day of My Life ...

I am posting this here, even though its off topic, because I had nowhere else to put it.

Yesterday was probably the worst day of my life (not accounting for anything in the future). I won't go into details, suffice to say: I was made acutely aware of just how insignificant and unimportant my life is in the most hurtful way possible. I am pretty sure an immeasurable number of days (maybe even years) will pass before ... well ... before I feel other than depressed, upset and angry; in that order.

To the universe: thanks for nowt.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Business is Booming

Although we are in an economic depression, some are still setting up business and doing well for themselves.

This is true for a friend of mine,
Lady Arachne, who started making robes and cloaks for various friends on a part-time basis. Lady Arachne was getting so many requests, she decided to set up a business and, eventually, had to quit her job in order to fill the orders she received.

Well, now,
Lady Arachne has set up her website and has expanded her range to include fantasy dresses and robes for handfastings and weddings. As the orders come in, and her range increases, Lady Arachne is still happy to take commissions for bespoke items.