Thursday, 17 August 2006

Pardon me!

The news that Britain is planning to pardon 306 WWI deserters who were executed is an interesting reflection on the changing understanding of war. Some of the cases cited are horrific in terms of young men who were forced on numerous occasions to go into situation ("over the top") and finally just cracked. In retrospect their treatment looks like lunacy and at least we can see that we have changed. The world will no longer tolerate this. And so this pardon seems appropriate.
In the opposite direction we look back on crimes that were overlooked only a decade or so ago, particularly in the area of sexual abuse,(here for a recent example) and require an accountability that at the time was not exacted.
Both of these movements, it seems to me, are good and sensible. What they say about the changing nature of our society is open for debate? Are we becoming more tolerant, more reasonable, mnore accountable? Or does this all have a degree of whimsy that will change in another decade or more?

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