lunes, 16 de noviembre de 2015

The ethics of killing innocents / La ética de matar a inocentes

Francis is a lumberjack who, while in the forest, stumbles upon a group of children being attacked by a pack of wolves. Trying to stop the latter, he ends up killing one of the former too. 
Francis has killed an innocent. Is he a murderer? Did he act immorally? 
 Frank is radiotherapist, and irradiates hundreds of patients after surgery to avoid recurrence. Among these, a few dozens would not have had any recurrences independently of having received the radiation, and a few develop leukaemias and die because of it. 
Franklin has killed innocents. Is he a murderer? Did he act immorally? 
 Frankie is a policeman commuting back home when, in the central station stop, he finds an armed man with an explosive-belt coming out of the train's bathroom. Thanks to his training, the individual is shot down before he can detonate the device, but the bullets with which he was killed bounce and kill several of the passengers. 
Frankie has killed innocents. Is he a murderer? Did he act immorally?
 Franklin is a lietunant in the US army who has been charged with taking a nazi concentration camp, which is being quickly "emptied" due to the proximity of the allies. Between his troops and the prisoners sit several Wermacht divisions that have entrenched themselves in an idyllic French town, which is bombed to the ground to free up the way. 
Franklin has killed innocents. Is he a murderer? Did he act immorally? 
 François is the president of a republich the armed forces of which have global power-projection, and is aware of some religious fanatics that enslave and rape thousands of girls and crucify in a systematic-genocidal way all the ethnic-religious minorities they come upon, besides imposing their maedieval "justice" to millions of people under their yoke. He decides to bomb key positions of these terrorists to stop their activities, killing several civilians in the process. 
François has killed innocents. Is he a murderer? Did he act immorally? 

 One last question (a leading one, I admit): 
What is our objective, to clean our hands and feel we are good, or to get them dirty and minimize death and pain? 


 Patxi es leñador, y se encuentra en el bosque con unos críos de excursión que están siendo atacados por una manada de lobos. Intentando parar a éstos últimos, acaba matando también a uno de los primeros. 
Patxi ha matado a un inocente ¿Es un asesino? ¿Actuó de manera inmoral? 
 Francisco es radioterapeuta, e irradia a cientos de pacientes tras ser operados para evitar recidivas. De entre estos, unas docenas no habrían tenido recidivas independientemente de haber recibido la radiación, y unos pocos desarrollan leucemias y mueren a causa de ella. 
Francisco ha matado a inocentes ¿Es un asesino? ¿Actuó de manera inmoral? 
 Paco es policía, y está de vuelta a casa cuando, en la parada de la estación central, se encuentra con que del baño del tren sale un hombre armado y con un cinturón explosivo. Gracias a su entrenamiento, el individuo es abatido antes de que pueda accionar el detonador, pero las balas con las que le han matado rebotan y matan a varios de los pasajeros. 
Paco ha matado a inocentes ¿Es un asesino? ¿Actuó de manera inmoral? 
 Frank es teniente del ejército estadounidense, y le han encargado tomar un campo de concentración nazi, el cual están "vaciando" rápidamente por la proximidad de los aliados. Entre sus tropas y los prisioneros se encuentran varias divisiones de la Wermacht que se han atrincherado en un idílico pueblo francés, el cual es bombardeado hasta los cimientos para dejar pista libre. 
Frank ha matado a inocentes ¿Es un asesino? ¿Actuó de manera inmoral? 
 François es presidente de una república cuyas fuerzas armadas poseen proyección global, y sabe de unos fanáticos religiosos que esclavizan y violan a miles de niñas y crucifican de manera sistematica-genocida a todas las minorías étnico-religiosas con las que entran en contacto, además de imponer su "Justicia" medieval a millones de personas bajo su yugo. Decide bombardear posiciones clave de estos terroristas para frenar sus actividades, matando en el proceso a varios civiles.
 François ha matado a inocentes ¿Es un asesino? ¿Actuó de manera inmoral? 

 Una última pregunta (capciosa, lo admito):
 ¿Cuál es nuestro objetivo, lavarnos las manos y sentir que somos buenos, o ensuciarnoslas y minimizar la muerte y el dolor?

viernes, 31 de julio de 2015

Pedro Ezkurra Areitio R.I.P.

My grandfather did not have an easy life. 
Pedro Ezkurra Areitio was born in 1922, in the "Galarra" farm, the youngest of 9 brothers and sisters, and since his earliest years he had to work with tools closer to the middle ages than today. When he was eight, his father was killed (we know not who, how, or why) and, as if this were not enough, so was his mother when he was fourteen (in this case we do know: The fascists shot her because she was "red"). The farm was completely destroyed during the civil war and the eldest brother (Joxe) had to flee to France, even though he went from one war to another. After taking part in the resistence Joxe could never return, and my grandfather Pedro didn't hear much of him until he received a letter about paying his funeral. 
Faced with all this hardship, showing a force of will I shall never possess, Pedro didn't give up and kept working hard to move forward his whole life: He worked as a servant in another farm until military service, and taking advantage of having learned to drive there, he started transporting scrap metal for the light industry of Elgoibar. After a few years, he started working for one of those factories (the sewing-machine manufacturer SIGMA), and there he met my grandmother Maria Llusia ("Marialui"). They had six children, and these in turn nine grandchildren, among them me. 
Albeit he had no formal education, Pedro always had had a terrific curiosity, and he showed this throughout his life. Due to an accident he suffered at work, he learned a lot about massages and he ended up being the masseuse of many Basque sportsmen (among them, the boxer Urtain). He was very keen on mechanics and technology, and he invented and tried to patent a safety-belt (sadly, he did not manage to do the latter). He also had a great interest in astronomy and space, and when I was little he taught me what he knew (e.g. that Phobos and Deimos are the moons of Mars), so that some years latter I'd gladly answer his always interesting questions (e.g. How does a missile propel itself in space if that's a vacuum?). 
When my grandfather was born Pluto was unknown (it was discovered in 1930); two days before he died, I showed him the first photos of it and Charon. If I wanted, I could give some poetic significance or something to that event, given the role of the eponymous two mythological characters, but, as you might have guessed, my grandfather was quite a clever man, and he didn't believe in gods and such. Therefore, I will say this: 
Thanks to millions of people like my grandfather, millions of people like me live better than ever, not having to suffer any of the war, famine, or illness they had. 
No, my grandfather did not have an easy life, but there is nothing that is worth it that is. 



Nire aitonak ez zuen bizitza erraz bat eduki. 
Pedro Ezkurra Areitio 1992an jaio zen, "Galarra" baserrian, 9 anai-arreba artean gazteena, eta txiki-txikitatik lan egin behar izan zuen erdi arotik gaur egunetik baino hurbilago zeuden tresnekin. Zortzi urte zituela, bere aita hil zuten (ez dakigu nork, nola, edo zergatik) eta, hau nahikoa ez balitz, hamalau urterekin bere ama ere (kasu honetan badakigu: Faxistak, tiroka, eta "gorria" izategatik). Gerra zibilean baserria guztiz suntsiturik geratu zen eta anaia nagusiak (Joxe) Frantziara ihes egin behar izan zuen, nahiz eta horrela guda batetik bestera igaro. Erresistentzian parte hartu ondoren Joxe ezin izan zen inoiz itzuli, eta nire aitona Pedrok ez zuen beraz ezer asko jakin bere hileta ordaintzeko gutun bat iritsi zitzaion arte. 
Zoritxar guzti honen aurrean, nik sekula edukiko ez dudan kemena erakutsiz, Pedrok ez zuen etsi eta aurrera egiteko gogor lan egiten jarraitu zuen bere bizitza osoan: Beste baserri batean morroi bezala aritu zen soldaduska arte, eta bertan gidatzen ikasi zuela aprobetxatuz, Elgoibarreko industria arinarentzat txatarra garraiatzen hasi zen. Urte batzuen ondoren, industria horietako batean (SIGMA josteko-makina ekoizlea) lan egiten hasi zen, eta bertan ezagutu zuen nire amona Maria Luisa ("Marialui"). Sei seme-alaba eduki zituzten, eta hauek bederatzi biloba, ni barne. 
Nahiz eta ikasketa formalik burutu ezin izan, Pedrok beti izan zuen egundoko jakinmina, eta hau bere bizitza osoan zehar erakutsi zuen. Lanean jasan zuen istripu bat zela eta, masajeei buruz asko ikasi zuen eta euskal kirolari askoren masajista izaten amaitu zuen (Urtain boxeolaria barne). Mekanika eta teknologia oso gustuko zituen, eta segurtasun-uhal bat asmatu eta patentatzen saiatu zen (tamalez, ez zuen azken hau lortu). Astronomian eta espazioan ere interes handia zeukan, eta txikia nintzenean berak ikasitakoa erakutsi zidan (adibidez, Martitzeko ilargiak Phobos eta Deimos direla), handik urte batzuetara nik bere galdera beti interesgarriak (nola propulsatzen da misil bat espazioan hau hutsik badago?) gustura erantzutea lortuz. 
Nire aitona jaio zenean Pluton ez zen ezaguna (1930ean izan zen aurkitua); hil baino bi egun lehenago, honen eta Karonteren lehen argazkiak erakutsi nizkion. Nahiko banu, esanahi poetikoa edo eman ahalko nioke gertakari horri, bi pertsonai mitologiko eponimoen zeregina dela eta, baina, susmatuko zenuketen bezala, nire aitona nahiko pertsona argia zen, eta ez zuen jainko eta halakoetan sinesten. Beraz, zera esango dut:Nire aitona bezalako milioika pertsonen ahaleginari esker ni bezalako milioika pertsona inoiz baina hobeto bizi gara, beraiek jasan beharreko guda, gosete, edo gaixotasunik gabe. 
Ez, nire aitonak ez zuen bizitza erraz bat eduki, baina ez dago pena merezi duen horrela den ezer.