Should death be the penalty for rape, child abuse and drug
Capital punishment is a controversial topic all around the world.
Many countries actively carry out the death sentence for murder while
some countries including Sri Lanka pass the sentence which is
automatically commuted to life imprisonment.
However, there are some countries which impose the death penalty for
other offences as well. The recent execution of four Sri Lankans in
Saudi Arabia was emotionally challenging for most Lankans.
The Saudi authorities stated that they were beheaded for violent
armed robbery, which is punishable with death under their law. The same
punishment is given for those convicted of rape.
Several other countries including Singapore and Malaysia condemn to
death those who deal in drugs, readily recognised as a harbinger of
death to those who use them. There have been several executions of
natives and foreigners who were found guilty of trafficking drugs, which
some analysts say have acted as a deterrent to prospective traffickers.
Child abuse, the physical and sexual exploitation of children, is
another serious offence which attracts severe penalties in most
countries. All these crimes are on the rise in Sri Lanka. There have
been several gruesome instances of mob justice where the alleged
offenders were summarily beaten to death by villagers, relatives and
vigilante groups, perhaps symbolising the simmering frustration with the
There is a widespread belief that the big offenders are rarely caught
and even if they are, a few yearsâ in jail is the maximum punishment. In
this context, there is a school of thought that in case the gallows are
re-activated, the noose should find not only murderers, but also drug
traffickers, rapists and paedophiles.
Their argument is that while a murderer may take a life or two, the
latter could destroy an entire generation, the entire society. The
emotional scars left behind by their selfish acts are hard to efface
even in a lifetime.
Given the grave nature of these offences, one is justified in
questioning whether it is fair to let the perpetrators of these crimes
get away with a mere term of imprisonment while they have caused
irreparable damage to the lives of their victims.
Have your free say on the above issues on Daily News Debate. Our
topic for the coming months is âShould death be the penalty for rape,
child abuse and drug trafficking?â.
Send in your views in 750-1,000 words) to âDaily News Debateâ, Daily
News, Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited, PO Box 1217, Colombo, or
via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org before March 31, 2007.
Big match fever:
Is it necessarily bad?
âIf we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life,
it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrelâs heart beat,
and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence.â
relationships : Even without perfect knowledge and a comprehensive
understanding about all ordinary human life, there are certain aspects
of life, which we must be keenly aware of, if we are to live our lives
to our heartâs satisfaction.
One such extremely important aspect in our family life as well as in
our social life is relationships. We all-known it is nearly impossible
to live alone; even if one were to live by oneself for some reason or
other, I am very certain, he would not feel half as a happy as he would
otherwise have felt; that is, when he feels connected with others.
Incidentally, it is to reach this point on which I intend to centre
my brief comment on big matches, that I have been beating round the bush
in this sentimental (or may I presume to say âphilosophicalâ?) vein.
Today it is strongly held particularly among the schoolchildren that
organizing inter-school Cricket matches helps improve relationships
among the schools. Or it is also possible that this is the plausible
explanation offered by the schoolchildren who are excessively in favour
of big matches and take great pains to organize these events.
But, lately, it has been almost too evident that these so-called big
matches do very little to improve relationships among schools, that they
(big matches), in fact, give rise to hostilities between schools on some
occasions. There has been ample evidence suggesting that they have
become practically the hotbeds of school violence.
The positive side
Eliotâs narrator in Middlemarch, her most highly praised novel, I
remember, makes an important observation at some point, â... it is a
narrow mind which cannot look at a subject from various points of
So we too will be accused of being narrow minded if we maintain that
big matches are necessarily bad and that they spell disaster virtually
on all occasions. And it is my belief that big matches can indeed
produce positive outcomes, Let me show you how it is possible.
First, it is students themselves who plan and organize them; on most
occasions they do it all by themselves, or perhaps with a little help
from their teachers and parents. While they strive to make it all a
success, they may encounter many an obstacle which they will have to
cope with by themselves.
The kind of experience they may get out of being engaged in this sort
of things may surely hone their interpersonal skills, which are
instrumental in their personality development.
Secondly, it is the students themselves that raise the funds required
for the purpose. Through hat collections or by some other means, they
may succeed in collecting the required sum despite fatigue and
frustration they are bound to feel in the pursuit of their goal.
Persistence itself will lead them to success in the end. Further when
it comes to utilization of funds, the students themselves will have to
determine the most effective ways to spend their money in order to meet
Assuming that this money is spent for the right purpose, they may
learn a lot of important things as they go through this kind of
experience. Also, I believe that sense of responsibility, not very
familiar to schoolchildren, will be felt by those students who deal with
Thirdly, a big match is an ideal occasion for students to take some
respite from the monotony of studying. They may be able to have great
fun as organizers, as players, and also as spectators.
Here they may pride themselves on their skills and talents as their
victories add luster to their schoolsâ reputation. By the same token,
they may take pleasure in their personal achievements, small as they
are. Obviously all this causes them to develop deep love and loyalty
towards their school.
The dark side
As I have already mentioned, it will be rather unfair to suggest that
big matches do harm only; but the recent incidents buttress the
seemingly unreasonable claim that they are absolutely harmful to both
the students and the schools involved.
This has begotten the widespread conviction that the students should
be discouraged from both organizing big matches and taking part in them
as well as the chorus of protest coming from the parents, the teachers,
and the society at large against these disastrous sports events called
After a big match, the winners naturally celebrate their victory.
Though this is not at all wrong, with liquor having slowly crept its way
into these celebrations, they (the celebrations) seem to take place
often at the expense of the losers, and even more regrettably, at the
expense of their schoolsâ reputation.
As my brother rightly said, some students just swim in a river of
alcohol in the flush of their victories. Most often, it is liquor itself
that lies at the root of the problem.
Once they are under the influence of liquor, they just forget who
they are, where they are, and even more dangerously just what they are
doing; at this point, violence is bound to erupt for the slightest
reason, or sometimes for no reason at all.
It is needless to say that all this amounts to a gross violation of
school discipline, or of even the countryâs law for that matter. Thus, a
friendly cricket match may end up in dreadful violence!
And this is not all. If it is true (and I believe firmly in the old
proverb, which says, âThere is no smoke without fireâ) that some
students particularly in metropolitan schools take even drugs like
heroin on occasions like these, it simply exacerbates the situation.
If big matches give scope and liberty for drug dealers to ply their
vile businesses, it is necessary that the authorities concerned take
stern and immediate action against the perpetrators. Or else, the
deterioration of the entire school system will be almost inevitable.
In spite of the bleak picture that some media have painted about big
matches, it is abundantly clear that they are not all that bad. Equally
evident is the fact that wrong practices in one school set a bad example
for many other schools, whose students may lose no time in imitating
their peersâ wrongdoings.
But I believe there is still room for us to improve the situation.
One important step towards this end is to educate school children on
both positive and negative consequences that may result from big matches
and to help and hearten them to do the right thing in the right way.
Also, students should not be allowed to enjoy too much freedom in
playing and organizing these matches. Moreover, they must be convinced
that their misdemeanour may tarnish the reputation of their schools.
Both the parents and the teachers need to keep vigil on their
behaviour and to actively participate in their activities whenever it is
possible. This way, I believe, we may be able to see a better,
healthier, stronger and more intelligent generation of students.