(Always guilty) until proven otherwise

by Meritxell Riera Prims


Cary Grant is wrongly accused of stabbing a man at the UN headquarters and chased after throughout the whole Hitchcock‘s classic North by northwest (1959).

Ever since I was a child, whenever I see a movie or a TV series, or I read a book where the main premise is that of an ordinary innocent man (or woman) accused of a crime serving as an excuse to prove that the death penalty is a mistake, I think: ‘that won’t do’.

There is no excellence in pardoning who was already innocent, but actually who has indeed committed a crime, as horrific as this might be. That’s the value of true forgiveness, defending that the death penalty is wrong, even if there are people out there capable of the worst deeds.

That’s the difference between seeking sheer justice (which usually means using the regulatory channels to take revenge, since the system doesn’t allow the offended to take revenge themselves -oh, the irony) and true compassion. 

Forgiveness is too difficult, of course. That’s why is the least chosen path. 

And no: forgiving is not a divine matter. Not unless you still think that God is some fearsome entity that lives above our heads and sees and judges all of our acts, and will punish or award us in the end of times according to our behaviour.

God is supposed to live in all of us. The meaning of life lies in eventually finding it.