Tuesday, May 31, 2005

one other thing about time

Just remembered the other big thing that got me thinking about time tonight. I've been reading a little lately about the upcoming release of Karla Homolka. I know she's been in jail for twelve years and I'm sure if I'd been in jail that long it would seem like forever but it just doesn't seem like enough time. I know that she would have gotten a longer sentence if they didn't offer her a deal to testify against Bernardo. I'm sure there's a lot more that went into the sentencing that I know nothing about. But three people are dead, and even if she's only legally being held responsible for two, how can twelve years be enough? How can that be long enough to say sorry for what those girls went through, what their families are still going through.

I saw The Interpreter over the week-end and in one scene Nicole Kidman's character talks about an African justice ritual called the "drowning man trial". A brief Google search on the drowning man trial returned no useful results so it is entirely possible that the whole concept is pure fiction and not even remotely based on actual customs, however it's still an interesting idea. In the movie it goes like this -- if a person is murdered and the murdered is caught, a year later a drowning man trial is held on the banks of a river. The family and friends of the victim throw a huge all night party on the banks and in the morning the murdered is tied up, rowed out in the river and thrown overboard. If the family chooses to, they can pull him out saving his life but in return ending their mourning. If they choose to let him drown, they get justice but will mourn forever.

Ok, it's likely fiction although it may have roots somewhere, but the idea is interesting. Which is more important justice or an end to suffering? Can there ever truly be an end to suffering? For the French and Mahaffy families I can only say that I dearly hope so. For myself, twelve years does not seem long enough. She shouldn't be getting out. Not yet. Not ever.


the salmon said...

agreed. i think growing up in ontario makes it all the more real. you know that they were there when we were kids and they did horrible things. if the memory is still so fresh that we remember any details, it seems justifiable that its too soon. i agree. too soon.

westcoastloon said...

I know what you mean. I think I could still pick Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy's school photos out of a line-up. They were on the news night after night. I don't want to believe the current hype about Homolka being utterly unrepentant because I think that there is an element of sensationalism to it, but at the same time there has to be something pretty terrifying inside a person to come anywhere near what she's been accused of.

Jonah said...

I just stumbled across this site while trying to find a reference for "The Drowning Man Trial" in actual history. The only two references I found were this and another bloggers reference to the movie.


I really like the idea of "The Drowning Man Trial" anyone who's ever had to deal with rage or forgiveness should be e exposed to this concept of forgiveness vs. Justice & Suffering.

Like the post, and the observation of the Idea.


Claire Colvin said...

Thanks Jonah!

All throughout history and literature there are these ideas of a life for a life, of justice and revenge intertwined. I wonder if we, as humans, have the capacity to ever be able to choose?