Alistair’s “Random Rambles” (22)
By Kathy Martin…
Written June 2014
Enough about the war, the subject of killing led me to another contentious topic, euthanasia. I will state here and now that, in certain situations, I am very much in favour of it, certainly if it ends the pain and suffering of a terminally ill person.
However, on doing research, I was somewhat surprised at how long this has been a contentious subject! Followers of different philosophies in Ancient Greece were divided, the Pythagoreans didn’t agree with it, while the Stoics did!
Plato (approx 429-347 BC) approved of it, if the person involved had a terminal medical condition. Does the length time in this dispute mean that when the solution to the “Cyprus Problem” is arrived at; it may not end up as history’s longest running dispute?
Many religions are against euthanasia, shown either in the written word, or by interpretation of the same.
In the Bible, there is no specific mention of the practice of euthanasia (nor indeed, suicide!), just one of the Ten Commandments stating “thou shall not kill”.
The only other reference to mans “interfering with another person’s lifespan” is in Old Testament of the Bible, Job 14:5: “God has numbered our days”.
In Islam, the Qur’an (Koran) specifically forbids euthanasia, “Allah determines how long each person will live”. (4:29) and “take not life which Allah has made sacred except by justice and law”. (6:151)
Both Buddhism and Sikhism are specifically against euthanasia, stating “suffering is a part of life and must be endured”!
Why don’t they (and other religious tracts) go the whole hog and say “if you haven’t experienced excruciating pain and agony, you haven’t really lived”!
The Hinduism rulebook must have been written by a politician, as it clearly states “to ease a person’s pain and suffering is anybody’s highest moral duty”! However, it also states that to take a life is a terrible sin!
The major religion of Japan, Shinto, not only approves of euthanasia, but states “the prolongation of life by artificial means is a disgraceful act against life”!
I have no intention (or have I?) of stirring up a religious or political debate, but I feel that both “the Word of (whichever) God” and “the Law of the Land” written hundreds or thousands of years ago no longer applies in modern society.
What I find very disturbing is that many religions seem to regard human suffering as a normal, natural part of life, if not to be enjoyed, then certainly to be accepted!
To personify such an unfeeling and callous “God”, what parent would idly stand by and watch one of his/her children take ages to die in agony, when simply by applying a pillow over the nose and mouth would not only smother the child, but blessedly release it from the pain and agony?
How much money (be it tax-payer, insurance company or private) and other resources are being squandered on keeping terminally ill people alive for a few days, weeks or even years?
How many (once both physically and mentally alert) people would want a quick “end” rather than suffer the indignity of being bed-ridden?
How many next of kin would want the same treatment rather than be forced to watch a friend, or relation, wither and die (rather like watching a fresh-cut flower being kept for too long in a vase)?
Further to the above I found the following in Wikipedia: “Cost burdens to individuals and families are considerable. An US national study found that: In 20% of cases, a family member had to quit work; 31% lost “all or most savings” (even though 96% had insurance); and 20% reported loss of [their] major source of income. Yet, studies indicate that 70-95% of people would rather refuse aggressive medical treatment than have their lives medically prolonged in incompetent or other poor prognosis states.”
Before leaving the somewhat morbid subject of euthanasia, I understand that in many countries “living wills” have now become legal. In effect these are documents that are drawn up to instruct medical staff, as to what (if any) medical treatment can be given in the event of the incapacitation of the person concerned. My wife and I would love to have one each, but cannot find out if such documentation would be regarded as legal in the TRNC.
On 23rd June we had a “Skype” video call with our daughter, Sasha, son-in-law Jon and grandson Alex, who live in Newport, near the Welsh capital, Cardiff. The call was to celebrate Sasha’s birthday, but, during the conversation I was reminded of something and informed of another!
Sasha said that at the moment the Newport area was enduring what the local press labelled a “heat wave” as midday temperatures were reaching 23c.
Having visited Kibris and also countries such as Spain, the Caribbean and Egypt during their summers, she was aware that in some parts of the world, when temperatures reach (plummet down to!) 23c, most locals start to don winter clothing!
How a person’s concept of “hot” or “cold” weather changes, when they live for a time in a different environment.
I was reminded of a sentence in a recent ramble about people claiming nationalist pride should a sports team from “their” country achieve success at an event.
Having been born in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, Sasha is (although “white” European) technically an “African”. As both her parents were born in England, she can claim “English” nationality, as her father is of Scottish lineage, she can also claim to be a Scot! As she has lived for nearly 20 years in Wales, she can also state that Wales is her “home” nationality. Indeed, when the rugby teams of the countries that make up “Great Britain”, England, Scotland and Wales played matches, she jokingly said that “her” team would always win!
Written July 2014
We have had our local elections here, just in time for the national parliament to go on a two month summer recess! The electorate has demonstrated, by voting into office many “independent” candidates, that it has become frustrated and disillusioned with” mainstream” political parties and their policies.
Let us hope that the sitting parliamentarians, after enjoying their summer break, remember that they are where they are because the electorate put them there, they do not have a “divine right” to be in parliament. I know that this is an Islamic country, but one day “a pig might fly”!
At the same time, the electorate (70% turnout shows an unusually high level of interest) were asked if they approved of the 21 (twenty-one) changes to the constitution that had been agreed by parliament on 12th June.
Why was this question asked? Will the national government now retract its agreement on the constitutional amendments that have already been agreed on? There were only 2 (two) options, yes or no! How can a question or survey involving a total of 21 items be reduced to a simple “yes” or “no”?
I presume that almost everyone on the voters roll approved of some of the constitutional amendments. Why wasn’t there a list of the 21 amendments with “agree” or “disagree” boxes next to them?
This would surely have been more informative to the government and political analysts alike. But, hey, this is Cyprus!
One thing that I personally, have become frustrated and disillusioned with in three, yes, three, national governments, is their apparent callous disregard to the safety, health and wellbeing of all road users in Kibris.
I say this because it appears that after, at least, two years on the statute books, only recently the law has been amended to allow police to issue “on the spot” penalties to motorcyclists who do not wear a crash helmet, or motorists who do not wear a seat belt, or more importantly, do not “buckle up” their children!
Come on, politicians, seatbelts and crash helmets are not political footballs; they are life-saving devices. The motion should have been proposed long ago and, as there is no political capital to be made out of obstructing it, should have been accepted unanimously, total time taken, five minutes!
Surely the saving of lives, or at least minimising injuries and thereby easing the strain on emergency and medical services should have been a high priority! Politicians, you should have woken up, and, electorate you should have lobbied your members of parliament. Failure to have taken action at the earliest opportunity has meant that some people have literally bled to death on the roads!
Next blog will continue with Alistair’s rambles
These rambles were written by Alistair initially for the “The KibKom Times” then “The KibKom Forum”