Who has the right to decide
if a man should live or die?
Who can look into the depths
of a man’s conscience?
Guilty or innocent?
A monster? An object of pity?
Violent with the violence that infects our societies.
Violent with the violence that we want to use on him.
Will his blood redeem our sins?
He will die in our name
because the hideousness of his crime (are we sure he really did it?)
horrifies us and makes us look at our own weaknesses,
because he reminds us of our own barbarity,
because our humanity refuses to contemplate its failures,
ambiguities, and abdications of responsibility,
because his death would make things much simpler, cleaner and more clear-cut.
We, the righteous, give ourselves the right to cast the first stone,
to deny our fellow human his identity as a child of God.
He will die in my name.
Do I deserve to be his executioner?
O God, let me never desire the death of a fellow human being.
O God, let me never become the assassin’s murderer.