January 02, 2007

The Vatican Gets it Right

For once, I find myself strangely in agreement with the Vatican. According to news reports, the Vatican daily newspaper has condemned media outlets worldwide for showing images of Saddam Hussein's hanging and the moments leading up to Saddam's hanging. According to the Vatican paper, the publication of images of Saddam's hanging was a "spectacle" that violates basic human rights and that could lead to further violence in Iraq and elsewhere. The article reportedly went on to state that, "in a country ever more disfigured by every kind of violence, you don't need arrogant gestures but signals that go in the opposite direction."

Some people view the Vatican as arguably the source or inspiration of some of the worst violence committed in the history of mankind. However, at least the Vatican got it right this time. A world that celebrates the notion of "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" is a world that will eventually become blind and toothless.

Maybe, just maybe, the media images of Saddam Hussein's hanging will have the opposite effect. Anti-death penalty advocates often request that state-authorized killings (I refuse to fall into the trap of using the king of all euphemisms, "executions") be televised, so that people will see how repulsive it is to take a human life, even of someone who, as the Vatican concedes in this case, is 'guilty of grave crimes."

As civilization marches into another new year, we can only hope.


At 10:12 AM, Blogger Barbara said...

It continues to be true that violence sells. You saw the picture of Saddam with the noose not yet pulled tight around his neck on probably every major paper in the country. It's a rather sick comment on society that we gravitate to the violent side of life.

At 10:10 AM, Blogger Matt said...

It's also true that violence in the media influences kids. My friends and I used to play "Three Stooges" when we were kids. This past Sunday, hours after watching the video of the moments prior to Saddam's hanging with the images you mention, a 10 year old boy in Texas hanged himself from his bunk bed. It's too bad that the media owners and editors who decry threatened government involvement in their content decisions have simultaneously abrogated the responsibility to make wise decisions themselves.


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