A plea for dignity

With the open letter by Catherine Deneuve, another viewpoint has been put into the #metoo issue. This time against the movement. It has not taken long for the publicly shaming process to start aginst her.

I have to admit there’s one particular thing that bothers me here: I’ve grown up in a state under the rule of law. My education is, that everything bows under this rule of law. The law, the judge and the courts decided about crimes, penalties, proportionality and yes, also about rehabilitation.

I also learned, that even if you’re a bad criminal, you have a right to become part of society again, if you prove you have changed. Only really grave crimes can prevent this.

I also learned, that shaming somebody publicly is inhuman and that even criminals deserve a right to be heard before court and be treated with dignity and not spit upon. In Germany, dignity is so important, that the right to it, for everybody -even the one who disobey it-, became the first and foremost article in our basic law.

And I also learned, that it is not the people who decided about other people – but a constitutional state. One with experts, that have been educated about this – for a good reason. Germany is a country that has been ruled by hysteria and hysteria can suddendly make the basic principles of democracy fade away, because everything is justified by meanings and feelings rather then by carefully developed rules and laws we all agree upon.

To me, this now feels more like a witch hunt done by the general puplic and social media. And while I absolutely condemn this massive abuse of power, I do feel like we’re back in medieval times, where we, the people, decide who to kill and who we don’t. We don’t even think about proportionality. These people are -contrary to even to some killers or real rapists- never rehabilitated anymore. The public spoke, not the law.

We should bring these people before a respected court and convict them according to the law, not before a public shaming tribunal. If this gets out of hand and change into more and more hysteria, what will we get? Will the way how we handle this right now solve the problem? Or will it probably even drive a wedge between sexualities like we already did in politics, races, social status and all other forms of discrimination in so many countries? What if we again forget to listen to all sides? How surprised will we be this time -after Brexit, Donald Trump and the rise of right wing in Europe- when suddendly our best friends seem to be misogynists, because we were not able to discuss this, we were not able to hear and not able to understand? Because we were just shaming each other, ignoring each other, hating each other with the ridicoulous believe, this would solve anything? For my side, I wouldn’t be much surprised, if all of this leads -again- to the pure opposite of what the good cause of these movements originally wanted to be.

Jon Stewart recently said to Howard Stern, that we clearily had a bad climate for for people to allow them to abuse their power. But we now have probably an equally bad climate for all of us to learn. I think he’s right.

(Image for illustrational purposes only)

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