Here’s an odd story for you: an opponent of the death penalty says there’s been too much attention to how it is carried out in the U.S. Elisabeth Zamparutti believes that anti-American bias in the world’s media is hurting her cause. Zamparutti works with human rights leaders around the world to end the death penalty. Her group, Hands off Cain, is based in Italy but operates worldwide. They believe that as part of the positive evolution of the human race, and in order to strengthen the sanctity of the individual, there is a universal need to end capital punishment.
Most of the press coverage is negative towards the death penalty, but it is focused, she says, on death penalty cases in the United States when in fact 97.5% of all executions take place outside the U.S. She calls such coverage “racist” because it ignores what is happening in other parts of the world.
For instance, Zamparutti said she has personally witnessed Palestinian terrorists killing alleged traitors on the spot, a form of death penalty, while death sentences in China are carried out not to punish crime but “to repress spiritual movements.” She says that when the press exaggerates the problem in the U.S. and ignores political prisoners or innocent people being put to death in places like China or Cuba, this constitutes a racist bias in the media. She says the message is that the lives of oppressed Chinese, Cubans, Africans and others don’t matter.
Here in the U.S., extreme activists allied with the Workers World Party, the International Action Center and International Answer successfully get media coverage for their causes, one of which is opposition to the death penalty. Even though the International Action Center and Workers World Party often address international issues, when it comes to the death penalty, they are focused on one culprit: the U.S. Larry Holmes, a Workers World Party activist who was arrested following one death-penalty protest, called Bush a “racist murderer” and the death penalty “an extension of lynch-law justice in the USA.” Yet Holmes’ Workers World Party is allied with the brutal North Korean regime that wipes out people at the simple direction of its maniac dictator.
Gloria La Riva, another activist, also protests many international causes but when it comes to the death penalty, her focus is only on the U.S. In a speech she gave at the 2000 May Day rally in Havana, Cuba, La Riva said Americans were “struggling against the racist, anti-poor death penalty.” La Riva, as usual, had no complaints about Cuba’s brutal treatment of political prisoners and she had nothing negative to say about Cuba’s right to administer the death penalty.
In the hands of groups like the Workers World Party, the death penalty becomes an opportunity for pro-Marxist political activists to falsely accuse the U.S of engaging in the routine incarceration and execution of political prisoners. Some media fall into the trap of covering these anti-death penalty protests, while failing to note that the anti-American groups behind them excuse or rationalize torture and mass murder by dictatorships around the world.