Aliaksei Marachkin: ‘Life is given to us by God and we have no right to take it way, irrespective of how hard one’s crimes are’

2009 2009-04-01T19:51:24+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

The well-known Belarusian artist Aliaksei Marachkin, a founder of the association of artist, the chairman of the World Alliance of Belarusians Batskawshchyna, took part in the discussion of the capital punishment. He joined the campaign Human Rights activists against death penalty in Belarus and said why he thought it was necessary to abolish this kind of punishment.

Doubtlessly, it is a very interesting and complex topic, the topic of human life that is given by God. I have the painting Cain and Abel – about the first assassination described in the Bible. I would say that it is an example of civil war, when brother fights brother. Everything was good in Abel’s life – everything multiplied and lived in his household. Cain was being eaten up with envy. So he took a stone and killed his brother, but was punished for it. Where life is, there is also death.

Death can be violent or natural. There are casualties. In our time it is a problem whether the death penalty should be abolished. Now I lean more to the thought that that no matter how hard a crime is committed and how unbearable it can be for the relatives – we need to study and investigate what happened and why. Even if it is a premeditated crime, we need to find out what made the person do it. Possibly, it could be provoked by the system, and the system is a very wide notion. You should understand that such things happen not only in our country, but even in the civilized ones, in Germany and the USA. Why suddenly a man takes arms and shoots the people or a son lifts his hand against father?

On one hand, such behavior is provoked by TV and cinema, where we usually see violence, shots and mutual annihilation. On the other hand, there is psychological stress when a person feels cornered. Drinking is an issue both in Russia and in our country. What is alcohol? As somebody once said, vodka is realization of happiness for a moment. A man who is unhappy gets befuddled when drinking and cannot control his behavior any more. Then an axe or a knife can become the last argument for him. Who brings the people to it? We see it today in our villages… Our acquaintances from the village of Luzhki, where my wife comes from, have recently told us over the phone that two guys who were good friends went drunk in a café and then started arguing. Then one of them told the other to stay seated while he would take a gun and kill him. The friend thought it was a joke, but the man came there and shot him. Such cases are multiple. Why do people do it? Churches are opened everywhere and people come there to repent in their sins. It seems they should become cleaner and better, but the number of crimes does not decrease…

But do we need the capital punishment? I have come to the conclusion that it is necessary to abolish it completely, and will explain why.

The most terrible thing for a criminal is life sentence. We also don’t violate the God’s commandment ‘don’t kill’ in this case. It is normal. The protractor will spend the rest of life in prison, think about the crime, pray and confess the sins. In this sense I was very impressed with the words of our compatriot Fyodor Dostoyevsky who said that he did not differ from the hardest criminal, but when I make a sin I suffer, I want to repent, to make my soul clean and never return to it again.

Sometimes people become murderers because of genetic peculiarities. Maybe, aggression is something that a man has by nature.  That’s why life sentence to malignant killers is better for us, God’s servants, because in this case we can abide by the commandment ‘don’t kill’. Life is given by God and we have no right to take it away irrespective of how hard one’s crimes are.