Talking Points: 16 March

The trial has begun of Josef Fritzl, the Austrian man accused of holding his daughter captive for 24 years and fathering seven children with her. He faces charges of rape, incest, coercion, enslavement and deprivation of liberty. He is also accused of the murder of one of his daughter’s children.

How could this have been stopped, did not any of the neighbors notice? This story got me thinking about how obssesed with our own privacy we are and how each in my street minds their own business. But if it means saving someone from abuse, saving a life should we be more involved in each other’s lives?

Pakistan: Celebrating with dignity

“I announce the restoration of all deposed judges, including Mr Iftikhar Chaudhry, according to a promise made by the President of Pakistan and myself,” Mr Yousuf Raza Gilani, the Pakistani PM, said

Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s opposition leader, called off a protest march to the capital this morning and Lawyers and opposition supporters were celebrating. A wise political move? or yet more evidence to a weakening Pakistani government?

No to Chaplin
Hindu protestors in the southern state of Karnataka have stopped plans to erect a statue of the film star because he was a Christian.

The Chaplin sculpture, was being built near the town of Udupi, the site of several important Hindu temples.

Hemant Hegde, the film-maker, said he was going to keep the statue there as a tourist attraction and has since then gathered support for his project with people offering land for the statue.

Do they have a point? Should places of sacred value be protected? Did the filmmaker step out of line or was he actually adding cultural value to the place? Also should artists be viewed within a religious or political light? Does that tell us more about their art or does it merely cloud our judgement of it?

12 Responses to “Talking Points: 16 March”

  1. 1 yodit
    March 16, 2009 at 13:03

    i think the whole story is really shameful, how come an individual living in a society with a well developed culture, morality and ethical codes act and live like an animal? so the main question should be if this individual is just a problem in the civilized society that he is just a rudimentary of the ancient barbarianism or is he a representation of the fact that part of the society has just the benefit wealth and good living standard but the thinking and morality is still backward?
    by any measure whether it is with respect to privacy or something else the society should be able to protect each of the individual freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

  2. 2 Jennifer
    March 16, 2009 at 13:05

    Re: Fritzl

    How could this have been stopped, did not any of the neighbors notice?

    I watched a tv special about this guy. I am not so concerned about neighbors as I am about the mother. I fail to see why the mother did not question the entire situations surrounding her daughter’s disappearance and her reappearance just to “drop off” her babies. As a mother, don’t you look for your child? Say she did do that, wouldn’t she have wanted to see her mother and leave her babies with her?

    I think there were signs that the mother could have pieced together to know something was very wrong. Heaven help her if she knew what was going on and she did nothing.

  3. 3 Steve in Boston
    March 16, 2009 at 13:08

    “should we be more involved in each other’s lives? ”

    In the mid-1970’s I went on a package tour of the Soviet Union with my family. On each floor of every hotel was a matron posted at a desk to keep an eye on everyone.

    In one city in we obtained permission from our Intourist guide to leave the tour for two days to visit relatives. In their apartment building–and every apartment building–a tenant was assigned the duty of reporting any suspicious activity in the building. We had to keep our voices low so that the neighbors wouldn’t hear us though the walls speaking English–entertaining Americans was deemed a suspicious activity. When we went outside for a walk to a local shop to buy gifts, we were asked not to speak for the same reason.

    We had brought them a shortwave radio from the foreign-currency-only Beriozka shop in Moscow, but it had no earphone jack because earphones were illegal. Our relatives said they would have to listen under a pillow to keep the neighbors from hearing.

    It’s clear that the presenters at WHYS–as well as an ever-increasing number in Europe and America–envision socialism as some kind of utopia, but is this the kind of world you really want? Even if it prevents horrific crimes like Fritzl’s, is it worth it?

    I for one, think not..

  4. March 16, 2009 at 14:06

    concerning the case of Josef Fritzl, why didn’t the Austrian Police extended their research in all his properties. If it had done so, such a tragedy wouldn’t have lingered.

    It may be odd to put one’s nose in people’s private lives. But there come moments when one should be on the alert about one’s surrounding when there is something suspicious.

    Josef Fritzl was lucky to continue his crime because time absolved him of all suspicions until he was found out. His case should be a lesson for any society; in that the least suspicious person can turn out the most dangerous.

  5. 5 Escee Jing
    March 16, 2009 at 14:08

    What makes a man wants to do it to his flesh /blood? Josef Fritz is typical of men and women who deny their obligation and allow his lust to go uncheck. We all have our weakness but we dicipline ourself and abstain from wrong doings and set a high standard of behaviour. The standard of Christian values has been eroded in Europe.

  6. March 16, 2009 at 14:17

    all are responsible and have to say a BIG sorry to that unlucky duaghter of that animal called fritzel particularly austrian society as a whole collectively failed be it in social,political or religious sectors ..in this immediete case the preachers,teachers and neighbours plus this beast of a mans wife must be quetioned on why they kept mum for so long and didnt enquire about the whereabout of a citizen?social degeneration in this era of mad consumerisms best example is this fritzel the beast/

  7. 7 Dave in Florida
    March 16, 2009 at 14:38

    The entire story is indeed horrifying; however, the act of one sick individual does not mean society in general is on the verge of collapse.

  8. 8 nora
    March 16, 2009 at 14:58

    On Chaplin:

    Chaplin belongs in LA where most of our parks and statues are built to genius irregardless of underage sex scandals. Is it really because Chaplin was a Christian or is it their fear that the statue will start chasing fourteen year olds?

  9. 9 nora
    March 16, 2009 at 15:20

    On Fritzl:

    Did the mother tell someone, long ago and get told she was a liar or demented?

  10. 10 nora
    March 16, 2009 at 16:36

    The Salvadoran election was really exciting. Big moment there. Could we talk about the election that the US spent thirty years, 6 billion dollars and 70 thousand lives to prevent, starting with the Iran-Contra Reagan fiasco?

    The people are dancing in the street and they elected a practical, well spoken man.

    The last six thousand US ‘drug war’ troops just left….

    Can the US trim the budget by stopping the international medling and learning to play with neighbors it doesnt control?

  11. 11 Raydan
    March 16, 2009 at 17:12

    He displays and draws on dark ages society when you could lock whoever you want in the dungeon and torture them or whatever. If there was no-one to stop it it would last perhaps an entire lifetime.

  12. 12 Andrea
    March 17, 2009 at 18:23

    On the subject of being born with the gene to do wrong is absurd to me! I believe you are born into an environment of which you cannot control and some very unlucky babies born innocent are emotionally or physically abused. I believe our environment can distort people from normal,healthy habits of everyday life. If one is born into poor environment the trend is a lack of education or parental involvement thus a feeling of abandonment and emotional immaturity to not understand right from wrong. In an increasing chaotic world bombarded by constant imagery (most being violent or extremely pornographic) and technology that is why we don’t know our neighbors anymore. In society we have been frighten away from being
    involved because of the very forces put in place to protect us in society. People have become cowards to become involved for being wrongly accused which does happen everyday. What does evolve is a family pattern which is environmental through generations because of not knowing anything different. I worry for the daughter and all the offspring. What happens to those innocent children?

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