Friday, August 17, 2007

Purgatorio...not a divine comedy

I'm sure I'd feel the same way. From Harper's Magazine:

From a May letter to Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, signed by 310 prisoners serving life sentences for murder, the only crime that carries a life sentence in Italy, which banned the death penalty for all crimes in 1994. Translated from the Italian by Stefania Heim.

Dear Mr. President of the Republic:

We are tired of dying a little bit each day. We have decided to die once and for all, and we ask that our penalties of life imprisonment be converted to penalties of death. To be not dead but not alive either--life imprisonment turns light into shadow, it kills you inside bit by bit: a death in small doses. It renders life useless, makes the future seem the same as the past. It crushes the present and takes away hope. To a life prisoner, only life remains. But life without a future is less than nothing. It is flat and everlasting. Life imprisonment is the invention of an Antichrist with a malice that transcends the imaginations. It is a victory over death, stronger than death itself.