21 November 2007

The rights of the unpopular.

Victor Rabinowitz, 96, Leftist Lawyer, Dies
Sometimes you only hear about really neat people when they die. I had never heard of Victor Rabinowitz until I read this obituary.

Victor Rabinowitz, a leftist lawyer whose causes and clients over nearly three-quarters of a century ranged from labor unions to Black Panthers to Cuba to Dashiell Hammett to Dr. Benjamin Spock to his own daughter, died on Friday at his home in Manhattan. He was 96.

Thats pretty damn interesting. I have a lot of respect for people who are willing to help the people the public despises. Defending Cuba's right to its land that had been held by US corporations? Sheesh, that couldn't have been popular at all. Its that idea about doing whats right versus doing whats popular. And this reminded me of a blog post I read a few days ago at Emeriblog. Kim, the writer, posted a letter from an annonymous Army Nurse.

Somewhere in the midst of the War on Terrorism, there are nurses that have been called to duty to care for, none-other-than, the very people that are being accused of attacking, plotting against, funding attacks on, and killing the very same forces that these nurses work along side of.

Didn’t we all take some oath when we became nurses? Something along the lines of caring for all humans regardless of race, gender, ethnicity or situation? I can’’t recall, I think I have become jaded. None-the-less, somewhere detainee nurses are putting to test that oath everyday as they struggle to cope with their actions

Lawyers defending the rights of spies, hated foreign governments, radicals and murderers; doctors and nurses treating the enemy, the terrorist and the detainee; these are people that we should all be proud of. Anyone willing to stand up for people who are already down is to be applauded. Its not just about defending the innocent from system, but also the guilty from unfair punishment by that system.

The idea that the guilty still have rights by the simple virtue of being human is hard to act on.

When the misdeed is a nicked candy bar, thats no big deal. But the idea that Slobodan Milosevic deserved medical attention? It's not like I've ever really had to deal with anything that weighty, but I would like to think I'd be able to do what needed to be done.

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