Thursday, 7 November 2013

Albert Camus

Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Albert Camus. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1957. Others will write about the immense contribution of Camus to literature and philosophy. A few words should be said about his engagement in favour of the abolition of capital punishment. The same year that he was awarded the Nobel Prize, Camus published, with Arthur Koestler, Réflections sur la peine capitale (‘Reflections on the death penalty’). The contribution by Camus, entitled Réflections sur la guillotine, is available in French on the internet.
It is also available in English as Reflections on the Guillotine.

Here are the immortal words of Camus:
But what then is capital punishment but the most premeditated of murders, to which no criminal's deed, however calculated it may be, can be compared? For there to be equivalence, the death penalty would have to punish a criminal who had warned his victim of the date at which he would inflict a horrible death on him and who, from that moment onward, had confined him at his mercy for months. Such a monster is not encountered in private life.
Thanks to Diane Amann and  Jean-François Loyant

1 comment:

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