29 Dec 2009

Judging by your own standards

In the Wild West, white men judged the Red Indians by westernised (white) standards. To the Red Indian, an enemy was meant to be tortured and punished to see how brave he was. The Indians respected bravery, because in battle the brave warrior was an asset and the coward a liability.

War was a way of life, and the brave warriors were the one who gathered most wealth through raiding and theft, who showed they were capable of supporting a wife and raising a family. So, they respected the brave and also the thief.

White men who came did not see it that way. They thought to show mercy to an enemy was better, and thereby lost the respect of the Red Indians who saw them as weaklings. The white men judged the Red by the wrong standards, their own.

In the same way, the West is judging China by its own westernised standards over the execution by lethal injection of Akmal Shaikh, a British convicted drug smuggler.

By western standards, the case may seem to be unfair and the execution unjust. By Chinese standards, it may be the other way around.

I see all round condemnation for China over the execution but to be honest, I can’t say that China is totally incorrect. If the country had proof of drug smuggling, it is correct that the culprit pay the price meted out by the law. That the law is not to western liking or favour is beside the point.

It is hardly likely that the Chinese pulled a man at random out of an Immigration line and said, ‘Right, let’s make an example out of this guy!’