Sunday, 9 June 2013

Not Giving Up On Nelson Mandela

In the excellent Full Metal Jacket, as the smoke billows across the fields of Vietnam at the end of the field, Private Joker poignantly says the line: 'The dead only know one thing. It is better to be alive'. 
In the great scheme of things we are only here for a blip which so when i hear people saying things like the supposed friend of Nelson Mandela it really grates with me.
'It’s Time To Let him Go' said Mr Mandela's friend, Andrew Mlangeni 'The family must release him so that God may have his own way. They must put their faith in the hands of God'.
Why, and it is almost almost those with a religious bent, do people want other to die instead of hoping that they get better?
It is something i have never managed to get straight in my head, probably because to me once you go you are gone so instead of 'letting them go', i hope they get better and want to hold on to them for as long as possible.
What if the believers are wrong because they have absolutely no evidence that they are right but they are willing others to shuffle off the mortal coil and go to God, a God they can have no idea is there waiting or not.
What if the doctors held the same view and stopped treating him and 'let him go', there would rightly be outrage. There is a reason why people are not taken to Churches when they fall ill especially when there view is to let people go to God rather than try everything in their power to heal them.
We should be wishing him a speedy recovery and hope that he gets well as i would fully expect if a dead person was given the choice of more time on earth they would take it, as would there friends and relatives so to call for someone to die rather than get better is badly misguided because it is ALWAYS better to be alive and for all your religious beliefs, you don't know so stop trying to hurry up someone else's demise just because of what you believe.


Anonymous said...

everyone dies, sometimes you get tired of watching a loved one have more pain and suffering than can be justified by living, especially when medical science says we have done everything, it isn't gonna get better...


Cheezy said...

"it is ALWAYS better to be alive"

I think you should try to see things from the viewpoint of someone with 'locked-in syndrome' (or some other condition that robs people of life, while allowing them to keep on breathing) before you can make a blanket statement like this. You don't speak for everyone when you say this.

Anonymous said...


i get your point. i really do. especially if you don't believe in an afterlife. but throwing all my "beliefs" out and sharing 2 experiences is why i disagree with you:

- my dad. He was an all America football player at Arkansas. He transported “dangerous” war criminals during the Korean war. He was a lawyer. In other words he was big, strong, fast, powerful, loud, and clever. By age 68 cancer had destroyed his bladder, one kidney, colon, and most of his liver. he could eat but in a few minutes everything came back up. he starved to death. it took 3 months and was horrible. he wasn't going to get better and his death was agonizingly slow. Devastating to watch this rock of man become withered skin wrapped around bone. my dad was a believer until his role in the korean war. he died claiming he did not believe, i did not yet believe (opted to believe 10 years later at age 50) but i wished for him to have peace.

- my mother's dad. 90 years old and a weak heart. the valves were leaking and getting worse. he was too weak for surgery. his heart had too much damage for surgery. he was slowly, ever so slowly getting weaker and weaker. he was not in pain but it took months for him to gradually fade away and his emotional suffering was very visible. my grandfather believed in God but said he didn't want to live anymore. all his brothers and sisters were gone. wife gone. friends all gone. just his daughter and 4 grandkids (too busy with their lives and families). couldn't get out of bed much less wash himself, feed himself, dress himself, shoot (favorite past time), hunt, travel. i prayed for him to have peace on earth and in the afterlife...

this is why i'm on the fence in re assisted suicide...


Lucy said...

I did realise it was a blanket statement Cheesy and considered cases such as Tony Nicklinson when i made it but i stand by it that it is always better to be alive. That is taking into account all factors because i believe regardless of what a person feels at the time with their minds fogged with pain and emotions, they will always want a bit more time even if it was one more day. A case of you don't know what you have until it's gone. Of course nobody can be sure what happens after you die, and i may change my mind if i ever reach that stage myself but taking everything into account, i still feel it is always better to have a bit more time than to be gone completely.

I understand your reasoning q and as much as i avoid and dislike commenting on personal stories (too emotive v too detached), if your father and grandfather had been given the option of an extra 48 hours of life with grandchildren and daughter, do we know if they would have taken it?

Anonymous said...

my dad would take the extra time, but only if it did not require a medical procedure. when it was discovered he had cancer he decided no treatment. he never changed his position on treatment. his words to the last - "i lived a full life, everyone dies, i'm not going to transfer all your mother's wealth to doctors to live a few extra months."

my grandfather would say no, i don't want the extra time anymore.