Friday, April 3, 2009

"A nicer attitude"

From the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:
Date: 1786
: the act or custom of a Hindu widow willingly being cremated on the funeral pyre of her husband as an indication of her devotion to him....
It is said that a British district officer in India, coming upon a suttee, was told that it was their custom. He replied that hanging those involved was his custom. The British outlawed the practice and suttee is illegal in India today. We seem to be in danger of regressing from that sense of moral certainty.
The founder of the Swiss assisted suicide clinic Dignitas was criticised yesterday after revealing plans to help a healthy woman to die alongside her terminally ill husband.

Ludwig Minelli described suicide as a “marvellous opportunity” that should not be restricted to the terminally ill or people with severe disabilities. ....

Mr Minelli, a human rights lawyer, told the BBC that the British were obsessed with the requirement for a patient to be terminally ill to justify an assisted suicide. “It is not a condition to have a terminal illness,” he said. “Terminal illness is a British obsession. As a human rights lawyer I am opposed to the idea of paternalism. We do not make decisions for other people. We should have a nicer attitude to suicide, saying suicide is a very good possibility to escape.” .... [more]
suttee - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Dignitas founder plans assisted suicide of healthy woman - Times Online

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