zaterdag 27 februari 2010

Outrage over Joran van der Sloot is disproportionate

The outrage that has risen again about the recent "confession" of Joran van der Sloot, as usual takes on grotesque forms and really makes one wonder whether people commenting on forums even know what they're talking about.

‘Waterboarding in Guantanamo,’ ‘lock him up and throw away the key ‘, ‘a knee shot / head schot’, ‘torturing till he confesses,’ ‘he must speak the truth’, are the general remarks in various internet fora and discussion boards, apart from comments about his appearance from which some people seem to be able to read his "guilt" ( “upon only seeing his pig-like features, you already know that he is guilty”).

Guilty? To what then? What do people really want Joran to confess? He already confessed that he was present at the death of Natalee, and that he -helped by another- got rid of her body. Granted, there are 2 different stories, but his role in these stories remains the same. Varying statements are generally seen as even further evidence of guilt. That the DA’s office thinks that this is not enough for a conviction is their problem.

But suppose he is prosecuted abd convicted based on these confessions, what will be in store for Joran then? Unlawful disposition of a corpse carries a maximum 6 months sentence. Joran already served that in custody. Even with a conviction he will walk right out of the court because he already served his sentence. Ready, out, over!

Is Joran a nice person? Well, by now he doesn’t really seem so. Maybe he once was a nice guy to get a beer with, but like many children of ex-pats in the Antilles: money, nice weather, a constant fresh supply of female tourists, the relative carelessness of the ongoing holiday atmosphere on a tropical island probably made him feel like he could easily get away with things.

That someone of his age when suddenly faced with someone dying on him, does not think clearly and goes for a short term easy way out, is something I can understand –not condone, but understand. That subsequently one lie leads to another is wrong, foolish and stupid but it is human, despite the tragedy for the parents who lose their daughter. Nevertheless, after some time one should realize it is best to come clean. I can however imagine that the aggressiveness with which Beth Holloway, the world press and the FBI made him scared and head-shy thinking: "Well now I must hold on to my story." Inexcusable, stupid, but explainable. That he however now dragged and drags mony others (parents, the mysterious "A" and "Daury ') into it, is not so nice.

What do people really want Joran to confesses now that his confessions present only lead to more outrage? There is certainly a large group of people who want him to confesses the ‘truth’ as they see it in their own imagination. It seems that Joran will only be believed if he confesses he abducted the virgin Natalee, while she was reading a bible, has drugged her, horribly tortured her, raped her (in a gang-bang with 6 black guys), after which he laughingly fed her to the sharks alive for no other reasons that that pleased him. The more horrible the better for him to be believed by a number of people.

Is it likely that Joran killed Natalee? No. Granted, we know nothing for certain but there is nothing to suggest that Joran was violent. Given the stories and photos on his blog, he could get enough girlfriends and one night stands and there is nothing to suggest that Natalee was not in for a bit of holiday romance.

I’ll just stick to the belief that he is only guilty of disposing of a body, for which which he -uncondemned- has already served the maximum sentence. One can certainly blame for him for waiting so long before he confessed what has happened and it he is certainly to blame for telling several versions, including the story in which he implied his father that he sold to Fox’ Greta van Susteren for 100,000 USD.

Joran is obviously not in an enviable position. His education came to a halt and he became public enemy number one, with a recognizable face and a recognizable name. His future has been smashed (yes, I know Natalee has no future and her parents have a ‘life sentence’, but that's not the point here) and he will need to find a way to generate income. Apparently he does that selling his story time after time, and fair is fair, he does not have many other options and people can hardely dislike him even more than he already is.

Yet the public outrage is disproportionate if for example one looks at other people who have something to answer for:

  1. Hugo Nijkamp, who beheaded his girlfriend Vanessa Williams in Suriname, escaped and subsequently got government contracts. After he was exposed he was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment. Apart from some public outrage when his case got some attention again, everybody already forgot about him and he can soon get back to work as a free man.
  2. People like the very violent Genneper Park Rapist, or Manno K. who ‘fist raped’ his ex-girlfriend into a permanent anal incontinence needing an anus prenaturalis (a "stoma") and into mental break down, are in general much more deserving of our outrage than Joran van der Sloot. Yet they remain in reasonable anonymity, spared from the 'Gesundenes Volksempfinden' and after serving their relatively low sentence of 4 years they again pick up their lives undisturbed.
  3. The Red Light District in Amsterdam (or in any other city), is filled with an army of woman-traffickers, rapists and abusers. They live in anonymity and even if they are prosecuted and convicted their names and mugshots rarely make the newspaper headlines and people will certainly not be stirred up against them as did SBS6 against Joran the Natalee Holloway case.

 
Joran is certainly not choir boy, but I think the witch hunt set upon him, instead of upon much shadier characters, says more about society than about Joran.

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