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A pardon for Oscar Wilde? Options
TheParser
Posted: Sunday, October 30, 2016 12:12:52 PM
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People who visit the "Literature" forum will know of Oscar Wilde's works and his life.

You may not have heard about it, but I have just read that the English government intends to pardon all men who have / had been convicted of offenses related to the love that dare not say its name.

As you fans of literature know, Mr. Wilde's punishment lasted two years. His health being broken, he died soon afterwards in France.

According to theguardian.com, some legal experts believe that the government action will extend to Mr. Wilde, although the government has announced that it will NOT name any individuals.
Romany
Posted: Sunday, October 30, 2016 6:49:26 PM
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Just to flesh that out a little for anyone who is interested: -

Alan Turing was an incredible man whose genius cracked a German code and so turned the tide of the war. Because he was a homosexual he was made to undergo chemical castration and eventually suicided: despite the fact that most of us owe our lives to him.

Once gay rights had finally been granted, and culminated in decriminalising gay-marriage in the UK, it was even more obvious that amends had to be made.If we were now saying that being homosexual was merely an aspect of a person's make-up and not a deliberate choice, the horror of what had been done, UNDER LAW, to thousands of gay people, had to be addressed.

The law which will grant pardons to all who were persecuted under a despicable and immoral law will be called the Turin Law in (grovelling) respect of Alan Turin.

The relatives of soldiers who were shot/given the choice to shoot themselves, during both World Wars; or forced to resign and were shunned post WWII,merely for being homosexual, will finally find peace.

Under the Turin Law 49,000 men, including Oscar Wilde, will be posthumously pardoned - as will anyone old enough to have been convicted on charges, currently living.
TheParser
Posted: Monday, October 31, 2016 5:03:23 AM
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Romany wrote:

... soldiers who were shot/given the choice to shoot themselves... for being homosexual.



I had never known about that.

Thanks for the information.
Axel Bear
Posted: Monday, October 31, 2016 1:34:57 PM

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TheParser wrote:
Romany wrote:

... soldiers who were shot/given the choice to shoot themselves... for being homosexual.

I had never known about that.


Me neither...if homosexuals can be pardoned retrospectively...then the lawmakers of the time should be shamed retrospectively. Who were they? Of course they are all dead now so that is a small problem. Probably their descendants are now in the house of Lords- presuming that this outrage did occur in the UK. All quite silly of course.

This Turing[sic] law raises another question: will convicts who were hanged in the past get an 'apology' since the death penalty is now regarded as barbaric. Same with the convicts who got exported to Australia a good few years back.


Bottom line: too little, too late


Toute nation a le gouvernement qu'elle mérite: Joseph de Maistre
TheParser
Posted: Tuesday, November 01, 2016 7:28:54 AM
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Axel Bear wrote:

... then the lawmakers of the time should be shamed retrospectively. Who were they?




I have done some research.

1. Until about 1885, only certain intimate relations between males were illegal.

a. Some men in civilian life and in the navy were hanged.
b. Some men were pelted with dead animals by a mob (some of the men died of their injuries).

2. Then a politician named HENRY LABOUCHERE (1831 - 1912) got Parliament to outlaw all intimate relations between men.

a. This is the law that destroyed Mr. Wilde.
b. Mr. Labouchere expressed regret that Mr. Wilde's punishment was two years. Mr. Labouchere would have preferred seven years.


3. Reportedly, Mr. Labouchere also wanted to outlaw intimate relations between women, but he dropped this provision when -- supposedly -- Queen Victoria expressed disbelief that such conduct could possibly exist between women.
will
Posted: Tuesday, November 01, 2016 7:52:08 AM
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On the one hand I think, ‘Wow, it was only 60 years ago that this kind of ignorant bigotry existed’.

On the other I think, ‘Wow, after as much as 60 years this kind of ignorant bigotry still exists.’


.
ithink140
Posted: Tuesday, November 01, 2016 8:43:40 AM

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How about pardoning those who were hung for stealing a sheep in olden times, or those hung for poaching? What about those who were hung for pick pocketing or stealing food to sate hunger? The list goes on and on. This navel gazing is silly. It is not possible to right all wrongs, but if you seen to right what you perceive as one wrong, then surely you are obliged to go the whole hog and trawl through the statute book to find ’victims’ of other unjust laws and punishments? Why are homosexuals being singled out for retrospective pardons and not others who may well be more deserving of such? What about those poor shell-shocked soldiers shot for cowardice. They are for more deserving of a pardon. Surely? What is so noble about sexual preference that it should be singled out? Yes the law was overstrict, but that is the past is it not and the social climate was different.

THE GIBBBET

Dark, stark against open sky, high on grassy upland down.
Stands alone an ancient oaken Gibbet,
Sentinel above sunken valley, pointing o’er market town.
Old, cold, wrinkled, grey and knotted, creaking squeaking
To the tune of high land winds.
Tho’ inert and voiceless, yet by standing is also speaking.
No need for words, for explanations or for reasons,
Enough just to resist the march of time,
To exist throughout the constant changing seasons.
Monument to salutary justice and witness to great error,
Ending for murderer and poacher alike.
Designed, carefully placed to induce deep lasting terror
A memorial of swifter yet more uncertain judgment climes,
A relic of the past, existing now in these more genteel times.



THE POACHERS ESCAPE


2006




Early on a crisp cold morn about the hour of two
There trod a lonely poacher through woodlands strange and new
The ride he walked was wide and long, the poacher young and strong.
T’was deep in mid-December and the frost was white as snow
And the faded grass beneath his feet was bent and bow’ed low
As his breath blew out a shrouded mist upon air so sharp and cold
While to his right, o’er silent night, the moon shone bright and bold.

Now he was king of all he saw, and he scoffed at those who made the law,
Yes, at those who made the law, and yet they robbed the poor,
They robbed the poor, stole their land, and made them live from hand to hand.
And when they tried to feed their own in acts of desperation
They crushed them, yes, with all the force of wicked litigation.
They made the law, they framed the law, they made mischief by decree
They placed upon the human life, a value arbitrary.

His eyes they danced from tree to tree, examining every branch,
A fattened pheasant was his goal, if perching here perchance
For then at last, his wife and child would feast a rich repast.
He may not be a Lord or Earl, nor the Vicar or the Mayor
But he, and his by right of birth, was entitled to such fare.
Was he not such as them, yes one of God’s own creatures,
So should he not by dint of that, share in all life’s features?

Then all at once he saw that shape, oh so familiar to his eyes,
So straight and true he aligned his gun to deliver up the prize.
Now a golden cock plump and young, would soon adorn his table.
For that the risk was great, yes he knew he had chanced his arm,
But with great aplomb he’d carried it out, with his customary calm.
Now the moon above lit his homeward path, upon the frosted forest floor
And his heart was singing freedom, as he headed for his lowly cottage door.

Alas, a blackened cloud then blocked the light of the silvery shining moon
And soon the atmosphere was laden, with a heavy sense of doom,
As he stopped in fear, with ears attuned to the stillness of the night.
Then in the quiet he thought of his wife and he thought of his son,
And t’was then he pondered the price of the victory he had won.
Now he longed to be by his fireside hearth in the glow of a radiant fire,
Listening to softened strains on strings, while his wife gave heart to the lyre.

But all at once from within the wood there arose a great commotion,
Then the keeper rushed onto the ride possessed of wild emotion,
An old school pal he proved to be, but with his loyalties now divided.
Their guns were primed and loaded, as they now stood face to face,
Away from the face of the human race in that dark and desolate place.
And the poacher knew, sentence final, would be the harsh decree,
Yes, he knew that ere the week was out, he would hang for all to see.

One faced a sentence censorious from the authorities that be
One the horns of a dilemma, due to his divided loyalty,
While both struggled with emotions from which they wanted to be free.
If the poacher pulled the trigger he would go back to his beloved wife,
But he would gain this freedom at the cost of a human life.
If the keeper now pulled the trigger then his safety he would assure,
But the death of his old school friend, he would be unable to endure.




Not even the silvery shining moon was a witness to this sight
To the fate of two old friends on that darkened windblown night
As the seconds paraded like hours, putting time to flight.
The atmosphere was strained and tense; a word had not been spoken
But when the moon shone through the cloud, the impasse then was broken.
For now the light of reason pervaded hearts, and opened up compassion’s door,
So resigned to death the poacher, laid his gun on the frosted forest floor.

But the keeper with beauteous mercy, now turned into the wood,
While the poacher came to terms that he had risked his families good,
Then a pheasant shout echoed through the night, a herald to this glorious sight.
Yes the sight of the power of reason joined with natures inherent laws,
Seeing poor do good to poor in such a just and righteous cause.
And the silvery shining moon saw Sacrifice with Mercy, walking hand in hand,
Those two great values of rational beauty true guardians of the land.

Bow down Tenet, Statute, Edict, Law, prostrate yourself before Nature’s door.
Observe the triumph of the human spirit on this lonely frosted forest floor,
Then give way Lord, Earl, Vicar and Mayor, and of humble pie take your share.
O wickedness of some selfish man made laws, Oh iniquity of unjust cause.
O unrighteousness of vested interests, Oh cunning hearts in human breasts.
The misuse of unbridled power, yes, and the cruel dominance of might
Could not stand before the beauty of what is simple just and right.

And the poacher’s heart was singing freedom, but a poacher now no more
As the moon above lit his way, through the frosted forest floor,
And the keeper’s soul was knocking on the hearth of heaven’s door.
Now remember you who make the law, that law it has no heart,
And remember that in law beauteous mercy takes no part.
So frame your laws in righteousness, yes be flexible be free
And remember, the One above demands the path of modesty.




And you who sit in judgment enveloped by your laws,
Give place to other parties to argue different cause,
Walk you not alone, but with companions stop and pause.
Provide your seats for Mercy, for Forgiveness and for Reason,
Administer your judgments, with these three grant them season.
And when law needs to show its teeth then balance will be reached,
But when law needs to bend, then its bulwark will be breached.















'Life is too short to be eaten up by hate.'
Sarrriesfan
Posted: Tuesday, November 01, 2016 10:03:12 AM

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In 2006 the British Government issued pardons for men shot for cowardice who are now thought to have been suffering from PTSD or as it was called at the time shell shock.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4796579.stm

I lack the imagination for a witty signature.
ithink140
Posted: Tuesday, November 01, 2016 10:14:56 AM

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Thanks for the update, Sarrriesfan... I checked out your link... good to hear... what about other perceived injustices throughout history or does it depend on the power of the lobbying?

'Life is too short to be eaten up by hate.'
Sarrriesfan
Posted: Tuesday, November 01, 2016 10:41:01 AM

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ithink140 wrote:
Thanks for the update, Sarrriesfan... I checked out your link... good to hear... what about other perceived injustices throughout history or does it depend on the power of the lobbying?


It is to be honest a tough one hindsight is always 20/20, and modern sensibilities are different t those of another time.
I would say yes some of it does come down to the power of the lobbing groups and in part the perceived righteousness of their cause.
We have to be careful though and understand conditions in the past and what some of these crimes would have meant for the victims in the past, hanging someone for stealing a horse might seem harsh, but back then a poor farmer might have only one horse, and it was his means of transport, his farm machinery basically the lifeblood of his farm. Stealing it meant he could no longer work the farm leading his family to suffer greatly, through hunger, loss of their home etc.
Steal a sheep or two then that too could have serious implications for a farmer and his family, and his workers, my Grandmother used to tell us the stories of how her mother survived by gleaning grains after the harvest.

I lack the imagination for a witty signature.
ithink140
Posted: Tuesday, November 01, 2016 11:21:08 AM

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I like your illustration of the horse and the effects of the victim. However folk have been hung for snaring a rabbit or stealing food in order to survive. In ancient Israel farmers were not allowed to harvest the headland, and if a sheaf fell off the cart it was to be left for the gleaners.

As I see it there is no end to perceived injustices meriting and crying out for equity of treatment. I am not sure of the merits of retrospective pardons in general, although some are obviously required... such as during the period of apartheid in South Africa. The problem is how far do you go back? Monetary settlement and apologies are sought for the wrongs done in the ignominious slave trade period, yet the present generation is not to blame. Undoubtedly that is an issue of greater merit than the wronging of homosexuals. It seems to me that it is an example of ‘he who shouts the loudest…’ is the most influential.


'Life is too short to be eaten up by hate.'
ithink140
Posted: Tuesday, November 01, 2016 11:57:08 AM

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In the case of Turing, I see his pardon not for the reason that he was a homosexual, but that he was pretty well forced to undergo chemical castration. That was cruel.

'Life is too short to be eaten up by hate.'
will
Posted: Tuesday, November 01, 2016 12:34:31 PM
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ithink140 wrote:
What about those poor shell-shocked soldiers shot for cowardice. They are for more deserving of a pardon. Surely?

As Sarrriesfan has pointed out, those shot for cowardice have in fact already been pardoned – a fact you could have easily have checked yourself with a simple internet search before posting. But, why does your sentiment that, “Yes the law was overstrict, but that is the past is it not and the social climate was different.” not apply to them? Or to your other exempt example of South Africans under Apartheid?

Yes, the granting of pardons is partly to do with who is able to lobby most successfully – most things in life are-- but more crucially it’s to do with recognising the persistence, scale and injustice of discrimination towards particular groups, long after general attitudes have progressed. Redressing past injustices is just one of the ways of confronting entrenched bigotry. It’s a collective and public acceptance that ‘we’ were wrong.

Unless you are still in favour of homosexuals being imprisoned or chemically castrated, I can’t see what possible objection there is to a society facing up to past mistakes.

If you want to lobby to clear the names of hanged poachers, go for it.

BTW, ‘nobility’ of a sexual preference is something you’ve simply dreamt up. It’s no more accurate a description of the issue than describing the Armed Forces Act of 2006 as singling out the nobility of being a yellow bellied scaredy-cat.

ithink140 wrote:
In the case of Turing, I see his pardon not for the reason that he was a homosexual, but that he was pretty well forced to undergo chemical castration

He was forced to undergo chemical castration because he was a homosexual. Brick wall


ithink140
Posted: Tuesday, November 01, 2016 12:41:55 PM

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Poor Will. You do not change do you... so aggressive. You tend to shut down debate. But I bow to your great wisdom in that you noticed that Turing was forced to be chemically castrated because he was a homosexual... or to be more correct he opted for it to avoid a prison sentence. Gee, you are clever!

By the way it is the 'past mistakes' of others, so how is it possible to face up to the error of those who are dead. They have no voice and the social climate was different. You cannot own up on behalf of the dead.

I hold to all I have said with regard to Turing and others, but will not engage with you further. I know you of old. You are off-limits. Adieu!


'Life is too short to be eaten up by hate.'
Axel Bear
Posted: Tuesday, November 01, 2016 12:55:14 PM

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In the USA:

The Eighth Amendment...prohibits the federal government from imposing...cruel and unusual punishment.




ps. death by the electric chair or lethal injection is 'customer friendly' punishment.


Toute nation a le gouvernement qu'elle mérite: Joseph de Maistre
will
Posted: Tuesday, November 01, 2016 1:09:19 PM
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Wow! I’ve put Peter into default mode in the space of four hours, and with just one reply. That’s got to be a site record.

Got to be worth a toaster, surely? Whistle


.
tunaafi
Posted: Wednesday, November 02, 2016 5:56:35 AM

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A gold plated, diamond-encrusted one.
Lotje1000
Posted: Wednesday, November 02, 2016 1:04:58 PM

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ithink140 wrote:
How about pardoning those who were hung for stealing a sheep in olden times, or those hung for poaching? What about those who were hung for pick pocketing or stealing food to sate hunger? The list goes on and on. This navel gazing is silly. [...] What is so noble about sexual preference that it should be singled out? Yes the law was overstrict, but that is the past is it not and the social climate was different.


It is not about singling out something "noble". Someone chose to steal a sheep or pick a pocket. No one chooses their sexual orientation.
Kerry.P
Posted: Wednesday, November 02, 2016 8:21:49 PM

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Hi all,
I know that the first time his name was mentioned it contained a typo but the same post showed Alan's name spelt correctly three more times.

It's Turin not Turing.

Hope123
Posted: Wednesday, November 02, 2016 10:30:10 PM

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Good OP, Parser. Having a choice is a good point, Lotje. And another difference between all the examples given of past wrongs is that when regarding homosexuality, the wrong is not quite past. Some people still harass or attack others simply because they are gay. (And racism - another wrong - is not past but never will be until it is confronted as well.)

Quote Will - "...the granting of pardons...more crucially it’s to do with recognising the persistence, scale and injustice of discrimination towards particular groups, long after general attitudes have progressed. Redressing past injustices is just one of the ways of confronting entrenched bigotry. It’s a collective and public acceptance that ‘we’ were wrong."

(Since Will's argument is very persuasive, it is incumbent upon an opponent to be able to field better ideas if he/she wishes to continue discussing an opposing view.)

Besides, no matter what the wrong was, what harm is there in saying, "Sorry, we were wrong back then"? I know how I feel if someone apologizes to me - and I know how it feels when an apology that should have been forthcoming was not. Apology helps reconciliation. It does not need to always be accompanied by money, if at all.

The new boss of the RCMP just apologized to women members for the sexual harassment they have had over the years, and to all members for the atmosphere of bullying and intimidation, and he vows to stop it.

Saying we have to go back and right all wrongs is like saying that because we ate one apple, we have to go eat the whole bag. There are many reasons to eat a whole bag of apples, but one of those reasons is not "just because we already ate one". 🍎


Equality is when you see a person - not a label.
Axel Bear
Posted: Thursday, November 03, 2016 5:57:51 AM

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Kerry.P wrote:
Hi all,
I know that the first time his name was mentioned it contained a typo but the same post showed Alan's name spelt correctly three more times.
It's Turin not Turing.


Hi Kerry, I also indicated this in my above posting. The original poster has indicated that unfortunately she has had a very serious medical problem. Not nice. We all hope she recovers 100%.



Toute nation a le gouvernement qu'elle mérite: Joseph de Maistre
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, November 03, 2016 6:35:35 AM

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Various quotes:

Alan Mathison Turing OBE FRS was an English computer scientist, mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst and theoretical biologist. blurb - The Essential Turing.





Under the amendment - dubbed "Turing law" - deceased people who were convicted of sexual acts that are no longer deemed criminal will ... BBC

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
will
Posted: Thursday, November 03, 2016 11:50:46 AM
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Pedantic points are always so much more effective when you don’t get them completely arse about face. Whistle

.
TheParser
Posted: Thursday, November 03, 2016 11:52:42 AM
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"William Turin (my emphasis) received the honour of knighthood from James VI of Scotland (James I of England) and thereafter Sir William added the final 'g' (my emphasis) to the name."


-- Sara Turing, Alan M. Turing: Centenary Edition (2012). Accessed through the courtesy of Google "books."
tunaafi
Posted: Thursday, November 03, 2016 5:04:51 PM

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.
Sir William Turin added the final g to his name to show the world that he was proud to be gay.


Urban myth.

Kerry.P
Posted: Monday, November 07, 2016 10:25:09 PM

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My apologies - boy oh boy, did I get that wrong!

Note to self: Do homework before posting.


@Axel - your post doesn't make sense to me, but seeing as my post (to which you were resonding) was wrong I guess that's fair. :)
will
Posted: Tuesday, November 08, 2016 12:11:04 PM
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Kerry.P wrote:
My apologies - boy oh boy, did I get that wrong!

No need to apologise… not yet anyway. Leave it a generation or two. Angel
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