Thursday, November 19, 2009


In this week's reading of Leo Africanus, we follow the adventures of Hasan. One of things that most caught my attention was the hanging of the man. It took a three tries before the string held and the man hanged. I found this absolutely shocking, especially considering today's whole moral dilemma with capital punishment. If someone were executed in public, albeit THREE times, there would be an uproar unlike no other. But in that society, it was condoned.

This brings to light the way societies have changed. Due to the different receptions such a scene would get in the book's time and in present time, does that mean we have grown to value human life more? Execution and even the idea of euthanasia is much deliberated in today's society, and even the thought of the electric chair is much debated due to the different voices on either side of the moral scale. Capital punishment is such a touchy subject and goes into the whole idea of religion and morals, but in Hasan's story, it was considered normal and even a spectacle for people to gather to witness.

Times have really changed, huh?

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