Nelson Mandela has surely been one of the great leaders to have shaped history from a prison cell. Another great leader from history was Mahatma Gandhi the leader of nationalism in India prior to independence, imprisoned in 1942 by the British and assassinated in January 1948. In more recent times, Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese opposition leader, was held for many years under house arrest, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. She wrote: “It is not power that corrupts, but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”
Who will replace these non-violent subversive figures in the internet age? Julian Assange is surely a candidate, currently trapped inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been granted diplomatic asylum. But an even more unlikely figure is visible on the horizon, who might become a figurehead for the problems of domestic violence, judicial inequality and corruption in US politics. Jodi Arias has started from a low base – donating her hair to charity and selling her art to allow her family to attend trial and buy her edible food. By some fluke of history, the former pizza-waitress has become a national figure – some say the most hated figure in America. She has a legal team, support in the local Arizona free press and a small band of disciples.
There are other implicit causes : the stupidity of the death penalty – some women placed on death row in Arizona have turned out to be innocent, with Debra Milke being the outstanding example, and others will likely also be exonerated. Some 80% of Arizona death penalty sentences are overturned on appeal. A plea bargain for Arias has been suggested to avoid a death penalty retrial, but all that is on offer is a life sentence in prison with no parole, to be served in an Arizona prisons, possibly still the toughest in the Western world – a fate some consider as being worse than death.
Winston Churchill, famously said “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.” Will that turn out to be the case with Jodi Arias and reform of the US political/judicial system?
- Jodi Arias – Post Allocution Interview With Emmy-award winning journalist and ABC15 News weather anchor Amy Murphy
- The Butterfly Effect Weather prediction is an extremely difficult problem – a butterfly flapping its wings in South America can affect the weather in Central Park
- Tom Horne Arizona Attorney General
- Interview: Hans Sherrer with Bill Windsor of Lawless America on a feature length documentary movie to be shown at film festivals, exposing corrupt judges and government officials in every state
Update: On 2 September, Nelson Mandela was discharged from hospital, however his condition, which is said to be related to tuberculosis he contracted during the 27 years he spent in prison, remains critical. See Nelson Mandela spends first night at home in Houghton, BBC News, 2 September 2013.
Update: On December 5, 2013, Nelson Mandela died peacefully at his Johannesburg home after a prolonged lung infection.