EXECUTIONERS (True Crime)
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Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what's happening in the world as it unfolds. A man reads the executioner job advertisement in a newspaper in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Candidates must be Sri Lankan men aged between 18 and 45, have "excellent moral character" and a "very good mind and mental strength," according to the newspaper ad issued by Sri Lanka's commissioner general of prisons.
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No one has been executed in Sri Lanka since the South Asian nation placed a moratorium on capital punishment in While murder, rape, and drug trafficking and distribution are still considered capital crimes, sentences are routinely commuted to life imprisonment. The country's last hangman resigned in , having never carried out an execution, according to Reuters. However last week President Maithripala Sirisena told parliament that the death penalty would be reinstated within two months for those convicted of drug offenses as part of a Philippines-style crackdown, local media reported.
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Sirisena praised Philippine President Roderigo Duterte's brutal and bloody war on drugs, calling it an "example to the world" during a state visit in January. Drug menace is rampant in my country and I feel that we should follow your footsteps to control this hazard," Sirisena said at a state banquet alongside Duterte, according to Philippine news site Rappler.
He understood little if anything of what this charge implied, except that it posed a new threat to his existence. Oppressed by the memory of the winter tragedy, he had now to live with his fear of the incalculable, inscrutable actions of the intruders. It was more than could be borne. A week before the steamer arrived he left Soosee and walked alone out into the alien land. Days later they found his body lying upon the summer tundra, contorted by the poison he had taken. They were now utterly convinced that they had been brought to an evil place and they were desperate in their anxiety to escape from it — to return to the familiar world they had once known.
These were wonderful seal hunters but, as the company soon discovered, they were not much good at trapping for a living. The fur returns from Fort Ross proved unsatisfactory and the company decided the Netchilingmiut should be confronted by a group of Eskimos who were superb trappers. It was hoped that the implicit loss of face that such a confrontation would produce would persuade the Netchilingmiut to turn from the seal to the fox.
No one now can say how' much the surviving Dorset families at Dundas Harbor knew of the nature of the fate in store for them when they were again ordered to embark on a company ship. Their foremost spokesman, Kavavou.
Nevertheless, it is certain that many of them thought they were going home at last. Instead, they were carried to Fort Ross, seven hundred miles northwest of home. Here they were planted among a totally unfamiliar tribe whose language, customs and beliefs differed materially from their own. In the beginning of this new exile the superiority of the Dorset people, both real and imagined, had the effect of stiffening their pride and thus helped sustain them against their crushing disappointment.
They lived and trapped in the Netchilingmiut land, though they were not of it. Forming a company of exiles, they turned in upon themselves to an ever-increasing extent, subject to a steadily intensifying feeling of being adrift in time as well as space.
Their contacts with the Netchilingmiut remained peripheral. No real Dorset man would have thought of marrying a Netchilingmiut woman. They remained aloof, apart. That day did not come. Instead, Kavavou, the sustaining central figure in their little world, died.
The Executioners Who Inherited Their Jobs | History | Smithsonian
He was replaced by his son Takolik. Another of his sons, Napachee-Kadlak. The years ran by. The Netchilingmiut became increasingly good trappers. The Dorsets were no longer secure even within their special pride. They were no longer even of any particular importance to the company. Doubts about themselves began to assail them in their loneliness. So the years ran by, each bringing its new assault upon them.
In and again in the company supply ship failed to reach Fort.
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Ross because of ice conditions, and this brought real hardship to a people who had been conditioned to be dependent on the trading post. Worse followed. When the news was announced to the Dorset people, they believed that at long last they were to be repatriated. I hey were not. The post moved; no white man remained at Fort Ross. Those who had brought the Innuit to this place abandoned them. Fate now began to close in fiercely on the shrunken band ol exiles. In the early s those Eskimos who had tuberculosis and there were very many such were shipped south for treatment.
Some did not return for years; many never did return. Not really understanding why their people did not come back, Eskimo communities throughout the arctic were badly shaken by these losses ol men, women and children. But among the uprooted Dorsets the blow struck the hardest. Then, a lewyears after Fort Ross closed, a shaman of the Netchilingmiut died. Before his death he announced to his people that the land had become a land of death and would be death to any who remained in it.
The Seal People listened and took heed. They moved en masse to the vicinity of Spence Bay. The Dorsets did not follow the Seal People south. A move to Spence Bay would have meant one more dislocation in their lives, and they could not face it. They remained at Fort Ross, increasingly isolated from all meaningful contact with the outer world except for a semiannual trip by some of the men to Spence Bay to exchange furs for neccessities. These journeys did not strengthen them.
In the Dorset community consisted of about eighteen families, hardly enough to give even the illusion of security in numbers. It was at this juncture that Takolik, their quondam leader, took the main chance and led his family south. Napachee was a jovial and gentle man and without the strength to hold his disintegrating world together. Their hope was gone, their strength was waning fast, their will to endure was dying. Twice within four days they failed to kill sufficient seals and would have starved had not help reached them by chance — once when a scientific party happened their way and reported on their condition to the authorities.
Infinitely bewildered, unmanned by massive and mounting apprehensions, the people from faraway Cape Dorset were coming to the end of their long and tortured way. Beginning in an aircraft began flying to Fort Ross twice a year to take the children of school age out and bring them back again. To us this seems like a worthy act. To the people of Fort Ross the loss of their children for many months of every year was an almost intolerable blow.
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It was here, at the beginning of the end that we, the intruders, first looked upon what we had wrought. By the cumulative blows of twenty-five years' exile had irreparably shattered the shell of human endurance at Fort Ross. The strength of the community could no longer support its individual members. The ultimate collapse began. Since no way of escape in the flesh was open to her. Soosee was evacuated to hospital in Alberta. Listen as the psychiatrist who examined her describes her symptoms to the court:. We who were gathered in the courtroom heard how Soosee again retreated from her broken world in — in a straitjacket.
Home — to a community that. What had been done to Soosee, and to The People, could not be cured so readily. In her place appeared a visitation of madness hearing the voice of God, seeing and hearing the Devil. The thing that had been Soosee now became the nemesis of her people. Tearing her hair, raging against Napachee-Kadlak until the man began to bend before the winds of madness, too. She tried to kill her youngest child. She struck against the very stuff of life, destroying the hunting gear without which the community could not have survived for more than a week or two.
Reality was drifting away.
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There was one brief and pitiful respite. Soosee and Napachee-Kadlak had a cheap transistor tape recorder of a type that had been belatedly supplied to maintain some link between Eskimos in southern hospitals and their families in the north. In an. She was real happy then. A few hours later the thing that was no longer Soosee ran through the camp, threatening death to all.
God had told her she must kill so that all might be free was she, then, so mad? But two women, five men, eleven children fought with instinctive desperation to retain their failing hold on lite. They could not run away, for that would have meant abandoning their gear and, in any event, the sea ice was breaking and travel over it. They could not remain at the camp because the visitation was physical as well as psychic, and Soosee was taller and stronger than any one among them. They could not send for help: there was no way to do so. They did what they could.