Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

An Eye for an Eye – Does Revenge Change Anything?

I have been following my own post with interest. The truth is, there is a huge part of me that agrees with you, agrees with Ameneh, who wants her attacker to suffer as she has suffered, to pay for the life he has stolen from her.

I used to be a lot more idealistic than I am now. I can remember the two times in my life I came face-to-face with who I am, viscerally, in my gut.

The first time, I was living in Jordan, and I awoke in the middle of the night. I heard gunfire. My husband was out of town – that happened a lot. Things like cars breaking down, heaters going out in the dead of winter, ants attacking (don’t even ask), those things always waited for my husband to be out of town. Now gunfire.

I finally called my British neighbors, who called their Security office, who said it was probably just the police shooting packs of dogs who attacked the sheep at night.

I knew, though, that night, that if I had a gun in the house, I would shoot anyone who came through the front door to protect my son. I had never thought of myself that way. I had never considered myself a killer. And I knew I could kill, without a second thought, to protect my son.

We all have times when we find out who we are, what we are made of. Men who go off to war and kill for a living have to live with their actions for the rest of their lives. Many, many live with regrets.

People who lived through the Invasion of Kuwait endured and suffered unimaginable horrors. Many won’t even talk about the things they saw or had to do.

Here is my problem with revenge – you have to live with the consequences.

If I had shot an intruder, even thinking it was a criminal, I would have to live with that the rest of my life. Even NOT shooting an intruder, I have to live with the thought that I would have, that I was fully prepared to kill. It still haunts me, even though I didn’t do anything, even though I just thought about it.

I like what This Lady said. I want this man punished, but if we choose to inflict the same punishment on him, don’t we lower ourselves to his level? I think life imprisonment would be worse. On another blog, dealing with the same topic, one Iranian woman wrote that if this man is blinded, some female in his family will be chosen to take care of him for the rest of his life, feeding him, preparing his meals. She, too, will be sacrificed, lose her own life to the obligation of taking care of this blinded villain for the rest of his life. Wouldn’t we all be better off if he were locked away, never to be free again?

I published the photo with the original article because I was shocked and intrigued by it. In spite of her blindness and disfigurement, this woman is laughing, and her mother is hugging her. In many ways, her life is blessed. Because God works in amazing and wonderful ways, we know that he can use this terrible act to do great things in her life, bring her peace, bring her new understanding . . . we don’t know what he can do, but we can trust that her life is not over, that he can still use her to fulfill his purpose in this world.

Reading your comments, trying to find my own response has been a challenge. As I said – if it were me, if it were my sister, God forbid – I know I would want revenge. I know that fiery outrage lives in all our hearts; the desire to take an eye for an eye. I know that dragon in my own heart.

And yet . . . I am left with this very uneasy feeling that revenge and retribution are neither deterrent, nor satisfying. I trust that if this sentence is carried out, God can even do great things with this violent assailant, that he can work in his heart and give him a new way of seeing, he can bring him to repentance, he can do great works, even in the heart of this sinner.

My greatest, gravest concern is for Ameneh. She seems to be a very stable, courageous woman. I fear that revenge can act as a poison in her soul, that the punishment, if inflicted, will eat away at all the goodness of her life. I fear for any of us who become obsessed with revenge at the cost of who we were created to be.

You have been very forceful in your expression of belief that the sentence should be imposed. Don’t you harbor any misgivings about this, no matter how small?

December 16, 2008 Posted by | Blogging, Character, Crime, Cross Cultural, Family Issues, Health Issues, Iran, Living Conditions, Mating Behavior, Social Issues, Spiritual | 9 Comments

Seattle Sunset

“Quick! Look! Look at the sunset!” AdventureMan pulls over. “Don’t you want a photo for your blog?”

We’ve both still got colds and I am tired. At this point, I just want to get home. But . . . he is right, it is a glorious sunset.


Yes, that is me holding the camera.

When we got to the airport to pick up our Seattle rental, the helpful, courteous man behind the counter asked if we would like a small SUV.

“For the same price?” I asked. Part of me remembered by May rental when I ended up paying $70 every time I filled the tank.

“Same price, small Jeep” he said with a smile, and handed me the folder.

When we got to the rental cars, it was not a small Jeep. It was a Jeep that looked like a Hummer. AdventureMan loaded all the bags in (it’s Christmas, remember? We are loaded with bags.) We get in the car and AdventureMan starts driving out of the parking garage.

“I don’t think I like this car.” I say.

If you are married, especially if you have been married for a long time, you can keep reading. You are the kinds of people who understand how much a marriage has to survive to endure.

“It’s too big. I can’t drive this car.” I say.

“What do you want to do?” AdventureMan says patiently, but any wife who has been married a long time knows that whatever happens next has to be quick and relatively painless.

“I want to see if we can get something I can drive, too.” I say.

“You want us to go back and park and get another car?” he says, to clairify.

“Yes.” I say, knowing he is very tired and I am walking a fine line here, but I HATE this car, it feels cramped and you can’t see all around, it is sort of squashed feeling.

I quickly go to the Fast Counter, and the man, God bless him, has a Rav4, just one, and I can have it at the same price.

“You don’t want the luxury car?” he asks me as I am signing the papers.

“It was supposed to be a SMALL Jeep.” I countered. “That is not a small Jeep.”

“No,” the counter guy said “You almost got our top of the line Jeep for the economy car price.”

“I don’t care,” I reply (not as rudely as it sounds) “I don’t like it.”

I take the new keys back to AdventureMan, who gamely pulls the bags out of the big huge luxury Jeep and loads them into the more modest Rav4.

It was a smart decision. We both enjoyed the Rav4, being a little high up, having space, but still being small enough to fit into the narrow, short Seattle parking spaces. Anyway, that’s the Rav4 in the photo with the sunset.

December 16, 2008 Posted by | Adventure, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Humor, Living Conditions, Marriage, Relationships, Seattle | | 11 Comments