22 September 2012


The accusation is clear and concise. It hits you square between the eyes. They present you with tangible facts to back it up. Caught bang to rights.

You protest. You start out as sure as sure can be that it can't be true.  But, in the light of all the evidence to the contrary, the case for any defence starts getting swept away. Strong foundations for any possible denial fail, quickly crumble to dust. Your own counsel advises you to plead guilty for a more lenient sentence. You begin to doubt your own memory; even to entertain the idea that your very thoughts are wrong;  that it must have been you all along...

You give in. Accept the consequences. There's no point in fighting it any longer. You're just too weak...

Ever had that experience? I sure hope not. It must be terrifying.

There's a particularly memorable two-parter episode of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' that comes to mind when I ponder on this sort of scenario. 'Chain of Command' includes a scene where Picard (Patrick Stewart) is taken prisoner by the Cardassians. Subjected to torture, his interrogator points four bright lights at Picard and asks him, repeatedly, to say that there are five of them (a homage to a similar scene in George Orwell's 'Nineteen Eighty-Four').

Picard does escape his captors; he doesn't give in and say that there are five lights. However, he later admits privately that he would have told his interrogator anything to make the pain stop... and that, right at the end, he actually thought he could see five lights.

My mind is full of strange thoughts this evening... including incredible sadness for those who are totally innocent yet have been wrongly accused and convicted. Some may even go through life thinking they were guilty all along! I think I understand this issue a little better today. But it doesn't make me feel any better...

('Chain of Command' was written by Frank Abatemarco, who consulted with Amnesty International during his script preparation. Patrick Stewart is also an Amnesty supporter and this comes over in his portrayal. Worth a look.) 

1 comment:

Just Be Real said...

Colin I am so glad that I can comment on your blog again. Whatever you had before, I could not even get to your main page! Whew!

Great post and analogy on anger.

Blessings my friend.