- File Size: 695 KB
- Print Length: 31 pages
- Publisher: Now and Then Reader (April 26, 2012)
- Publication Date: April 26, 2012
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B007Z3REO0
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #794,393 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
An Eye for an Eye (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Although the essay refers directly to a specific trial after WWII in France, the reader cannot help but drag history along, weight by added weight, to consider the events of our recent history. Yes, the Hague tries war criminals. The ceremony of civilization gives us the illusion of addressing horrors after the fact. We read and see examples of genocide in every decade since WWII. We argue (really?) whether water boarding is torture. According to de Beauvoir any action by the powerful to demean and lose empathy for another human being is criminal behavior.
In pondering the reasons we might want to 'see justice done' Simone de Beauvoir (in a finely wrought, tight, readable translation by Lieberman) explores the human condition. When should we retaliate? When is there a danger of becoming the evil we are trying to punish? Are people judged in their sum total or their temporary madness? When are they the victims of their own pasts or circumstances? Can real justice happen only when the criminal truly understands what they did or do we humor ourselves when we believe justice has been served?
The essay contains arguments within arguments, and, like any worthy exploration of crime and punishment, the ability to see various points of view while maintaining a strong sense of why the author believes what she does. It is both provocative and clear. It is also a timely essay. Sad to say, if past is prologue, it will always be a timely essay.
An excellent short summary of de Beauvoir's essay written by Lisa Lieberman is included, which in many ways is quite repetitive of de Beauvoir's own essay. I fear my own review will suffer the same fate -- de Beauvoir is so clear in her analysis that it is difficult to write a short synopsis. I urge anyone interested in these issues to read Beauvoir for themselves.
Lieberman does provide an excellent, factual introduction to the history of retribution, both private and public, following France's liberation from Nazi and Vichy rule. Vigilante justice led to the death of 10,000 collaborators; official courts sentenced another 6,763 to death, although most of these sentences were commuted to life imprisonment and of those almost all were later changed to pardons under amnesties supported by de Gaulle. It was, of course, difficult to punish French leaders because so many of them had loyally served the Vichy government.Read more ›
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