Assisted suicide, crazy Britain etc

All countries are crazy to some extent. But the British, they have elevated craziness to an art-form. This

As a piece of legal grotesquerie, the attempted arrest of the former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has its funny side. The biggest joke lies in the role of the UN. It was the UN Human Rights Council that endorsed the report by the retired South African judge Richard Goldstone on the Gaza conflict, in which Israel as well as Hamas was accused of war crimes.

The fun lies in the membership of this august body, and guardian of all our rights. Currently those empowered to sit in judgment on the Israeli democracy include Cuba, China, Russia, Kirghizstan, Djibouti and Qatar. In a non-democracy, of course, Ms Livni would have had no bother; with no elections to dislodge her she would still be a minister, and so exempt from arrest. There must be a lesson there.


How well I remember sitting through finger-wagging lecturettes on how to achieve a truly ethical foreign policy, given to our Foreign Secretary in private meetings in the interstices of UN debates by drug-running South American prime ministers or presidents, bribe-grabbing Arab princelings, or the Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, the twist in whose lips, an English tabloid was disrespectful enough to suggest, had come about through an incurable addiction to lying.

Under our pristine, ultra-democratic system (any politically motivated Joe can apply for an arrest warrant under the International Criminal Court Act, 2001) and indulgent lawyers, Britain is a soft touch for propagandistic exercises like the one we have seen. And whatever the real reason that Tzipi Livni didn’t in the end come, the ruse most certainly succeeded.

Their minds filled with selective TV imagery of the Gaza conflict, the reaction of many a fair-minded Brit to the idea of seizing a former Israeli minister will be: “Why not? They’re trying the Serbs, aren’t they? And it’s the UN, isn’t it?”

and this

A businessman who fought off knife-wielding thugs after his family were threatened has been jailed for 30 months.

The case prompted renewed debate over the level of force that house-holders can use against raiders.

Munir Hussain, chairman of the Asian Business Council, was praised by a judge for his “courage” in defending his wife and three children from an attack — but then jailed for the violence of his response. One of his attackers was spared a jail sentence.

The incident occurred when the Hussain family returned from their mosque during Ramadan to find three intruders wearing balaclavas in their home. Hussain was told that he would be killed. His family’s hands were tied behind their backs and they were forced to crawl from room to room. Hussain, 53, made an escape after throwing a coffee table and enlisted his brother Tokeer, 35, in chasing the offenders…

Walid Salem, one of the intruders, suffered a permanent brain injury after he was struck with a cricket bat so hard that it broke into three pieces.

Did the dacoit deserve to have his head bashed in? Probably not. But once you attack someone and issue death threats making it a “your life or mine” case, you shouldn’t expect the victim to serve you tea when the tables are turned. This isn’t a case of some kid stealing trinkets or a hungry man stealing bread, but a home invasion involving death threats and assault. Though the judge is right-

“If persons were permitted to take the law into their own hands and inflict their own instant and violent punishment on an apprehended offender rather than letting justice take its course, then the rule of law and our system of criminal justice, which are the hallmarks of a civilised society, would collapse.”

he should have considered that the beating was part of a single event, not calculated revenge. Such judgments, and varied judgments at that, can lead to a chilling effect on self-defense.

I don’t know when the SC will come to its senses on the question of “right to life.” In the Shanbaug case, it asks the lawyer

“Do you mean right to life includes right to die?”

Of course it does! But the lawyer, probably apprehensive about the case based on previous “pro-life” decisions says-

“She is going through a torture of a life. Is this human rights? Should the medical authorities not be activated to do something? This is not a case to be left aside and forgotten. The apex court must lay down some guidelines.”


“Is not keeping the woman in this persistent vegetative state by force-feeding violative of her right to live with dignity guaranteed by Article 21 (right to life) of the Constitution?”

There is only one thing the court should worry about in “right to die” cases: that the request, whether current or left as part of a living will, is genuine and that murder (for whatever reason) is not being disguised as suicide. The right to life is all encompassing—absolute.

What needs to be done in cases where no such wish exists but the person is in a vegetative state is an open question, and even though ET writes that-

the woman … does not want to live any more. Doctors have told her there is no chance of any improvement in her state. So she, through her ‘next friend’ … decided to move the SC with a plea to “direct KEM Hospital not to force-feed her.”

I don’t see how a brain-dead person could make such a request (there are conflicting reports on the same). Which suggests that this really isn’t a “right to die” case but a “put her out of her misery” one. Without a request from the person in question, this is an ethical dilemma and one cannot simply side with “human rights activists” making a “humans rights” case. If it is the latter, the SC should concentrate on that aspect of the case and not walk down a blind alley. If it is the former, the answer should be a resounding yes. That might be expecting too much from it, but miracles do happen.

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  • shimon  On December 22, 2009 at 9:30 am

    I have one question ?
    Do you really think that the Tzipi livni security guards will let the British police to touch her ?

    As an Israeli – Believe me this scenario will be something ugly from the Israeli side !

    • Aristotle The Geek  On December 22, 2009 at 6:00 pm

      Even though your question is rhetorical in nature, I wouldn’t take chances with the British. They grabbed Pinochet, didn’t they? And I wouldn’t trust their “vows” either.

      Eccentric people with an eccentric polity.

      • shimon  On December 23, 2009 at 6:30 am

        sorry for my english
        There is only 1 difference :
        This is political move (Livni case) while in Pinochet case it’s something else .

        By the way, Israel will ask (Using the same courts) to arrest British politician for the alleged war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.
        It’s will show what a farce is all this process

        • Aristotle The Geek  On December 23, 2009 at 7:45 pm

          # “This is political move (Livni case) while in Pinochet case it’s something else”
          I agree that Pinochet was an entirely different matter. But the method that’s used to grab/ harass people remains the same.

          Farce or not, gotta be careful.

  • blr_p  On December 26, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    Regarding the burglary, i vaguely recall you can assault a burgular only if he entered your bedroom, as this indicates malicious intent and has more weight in self-defense terms. This assumes you get burgled whilst you’re asleep and then wake up to find them in your bedroom.

    Anywhere else in the house they could charge you for assault instead (!) its not clear that the person of the house is the target or just the house, yeah inspite of being told otherwise by the burglars, fact remains none of his family were injured.

    This is old news and this particular law is not going to change anytime soon as what the judge said remains unchanged…

    “If persons were permitted to take the law into their own hands and inflict their own instant and violent punishment on an apprehended offender rather than letting justice take its course, then the rule of law and our system of criminal justice, which are the hallmarks of a civilised society, would collapse.”

    As the first comment for that article states, once they caught one of the perps they should have notified the police instead of proceeding to bash his head in.

    I’m kinda surprised Mr. Hassan being a long term resident (since’64) of the UK was not aware of this fact maybe stress of the situation got the better of him :(

    This the same UK that refuses to arm bobbies as it robs crooks of a self-defense argument.

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