International Affairs Specialist by day, Blogger Enthusiast by night. This is a sneak peek into my world that should be enjoyed with ample time and a good and very strong cup of java.
Would the thought of losing your left hand be enough of a deterrent to not commit a crime? It certainly would be for me! Heck, the thought of a fine or public scrutiny would be enough to keep me at the speed limit! These are the thoughts going through my head when I read about a Nigerian Islamic Court baring a Twitter feed discussing dismemberment for criminal punishment. So not only are the sentences harsh, but the Islamic Court also ruled that discussion of it via Twitter should be silenced – just another sign of a blossoming theocracy!
Sharia law. I think the Iranian’s were the first to instill it during the ’79 Revolution and its institutionalization in several Islamic nations has since been adopted. The intermingling of Islamic tenets and the law dictate the conduct of the citizens. Yet I don’t think Islam and democracy are or should be ever contradictory. Rather a bizarre interpretation of Islamic preachings are used as a political tool to instill fear, squash dissent and ensure that the ruling elite are never challenged. I’m not an expert, but in my ignorant eyes today, I see Sharia law as a cop out to real leadership and equate it with a police state.
On the other hand, harsh punishments for criminal offenders also take place in other areas of the world – drug traffickers in Thailand, kidnappers in China- though none that I can think of had ever enforced bodily dismemberment as a tool for justice. It reminds me of something out of the Middle Ages, one where human rights, international law and political retribution were obsolete. These deterrents may be strong deterrents for criminal activity, but one that isn’t humane and life sentences or losing a hand for petty crime is not a solution. Economic development, social services and education may have lead these vagrants on another path away from criminality and a life sentence and towards prosperity and opportunity. Money put towards these goals would be money well worth it in the long run, yet the long run is rarely in the best interests of political leaders in nations such as these. Therein lies the challenges of development.