After the debates, the victims’ emotions
Some had lost a father, others a sister, a child or a friend through assassination by the State or by a criminal; their life stories recount different relationships with the death penalty but all are opposed to it.
Arnaud Gaillard, Coordinator of the World Congress, explained that “After the debates, it is important to understand what the death penalty means on an emotional level”.
The emotion on the faces of the audience was apparent as they hung off the words of these exceptional speakers. The discourses were touching and some, including that given by the courageous Kids Against the Death Penalty, inspired evident admiration among the listeners, as proved by the thunderous applause with which their intervention was met.
The audience held its collective breath when Sandrine Ageorge reached the lawyer of her husband Hank Skinner, currently on Death Row in Texas, by telephone. This phonecall was followed by another extraordinary one, this time from Mumia Abu-Jamal whom the public heard speak of his life in prison.
The evening was paced by musical interludes provided by Emily Loizeau, visibly moved by the various contributions. “I am constantly shocked that such barbarity can still exist in civilized countries”, she admitted.
Exiting the venue, a group of shaken teenagers from Geneva described the evening’s impact: “We had goose bumps; the stories were really profound. Seeing how strong these people are, despite the unhappiness they have lived through, gives us the strength and the desire to get involved and fight alongside them”.
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