Editorial: All is number

10 juillet 2013

This is the last issue of the special bilingual Congress edition of the Abolition Letter. From September, this newsletter will return to its usual format, focusing on information and reflection on abolitionist news.

We hope to be able to continue both French and English versions in the coming months. On this occasion, we are calling on those of our readers who are experts on abolition to join the ranks of numerous volunteer writers who make this newsletter one of the few international reference publications on the abolition of the death penalty.

You can continue to follow us on Facebook on Twitter to share information about capital punishment – all too often dense and tragic news.

1+1 = 1,500: extraordinary results from four days of 5th World Congress

We will soon share with you a political summary of the progress and innovations achieved at the 5th World Congress, but in the meantime, let’s look at some key figures from those few days. As Pythagoras would say: “All is number.”

For those who could not be there, the World Congress was:

  • More than 1,500 participants from 91 countries on 5 continents taking part in 4 days of debates;
  • 16 ministers in attendance at official ceremonies, 250 ambassadors and diplomats and 4 Nobel Peace Prize winners;
  • 21 debates involving 85 speakers, 15 moderators and 36 interpreters in 7 languages;
  • 105 volunteers and 250 journalists including 25 from retentionist countries;
  • 7 French and Spanish secondary schools taking part in the “Draw me the abolition” project and 16 musicians forming the batucada that gave the final march its rhythm;
  • more than 5,000 business cards changing hands, 16 side events between NGOs and/or international organizations, hundreds of formal and informal meetings and one final declaration.

500: madness in round figures

500 was another striking figure this past month.

On Wednesday, June 26 at 6pm, Kimberly McCarthy received a lethal injection in Huntsville, Texas. She was the 500th person executed in that state since capital punishment was reinstated in the US in 1976.

Kimberly was a 52-year-old grandmother killed by the obsession of a few people.

-1-1 = -2 ≠ 0

Hugo Pratt had his comic book hero Corto Maltese say: “Revenge will never replace the loss of a friend.” Nobody can bring back a murdered loved one, not even by killing their murderer.

That is certainly not a zero-sum addition – rather the addition of more suffering. This thought should be with all those who are seeking closure and justice.

We lead this fight for human rights and justice on a daily basis. We need you in this struggle. Please join Together Against the Death Penalty (ECPM).

Raphaël Chenuil-Hazan
ECPM Executive Director