An existentialist classic I sadly didn't read when studying existentialism, Camus' The Outsider grips you like a cold hand on your heart - your own hand, finally feeling the blood pumping and oozing through and around the organ, the crude nature of that symbol of your loves and passions palpable in its offal nature.
I finally read it for the first time last week when, at the same time, I kept feeling a similar pall of reality observing the brief scenes and frozen shots of Saddam Hussein (about to be) executed that declared all media outlets open for business in 2007.
When I'd seen him in court during the trial, he was visibly shaken, confused and angry, pathetically attempting to disrupt proceedings with his shouts and slogans. The thought kept coming back to me that this was a man who was finally being confronted with the fact that he was just a man, having did what he did because he did and it was wrong; all reasonings, justfications and grand plans whether ideological, spiritual or material, were a nonsense.
Read the book. Watch the footage if you must. Both have enforced some of my increasingly entrenched views. I do not believe in the death penalty. I do not believe in the right of one person to take another's life. I do not believe in the death penalty as a/n effective punishment.
A friend bought me The Outsider a relatively short while ago. I would recommend it to anyone who feels the disquiet of the current cultural atmosphere (whatever is post- post-modern vs. fundamentalism) and especially anyone affected by the brutal execution of this misguided world leader.
Coming soon: how I learnt to forget about world worries and love Google's RSS reader.