The value of life

I guess many people have read or heard the news about the 23-year old Indian medical student who suffered brutal sexual assault, beaten and thrown out of a bus in New Delhi, India. She was flown to Singapore last Thursday for treatments despite being in critical condition, and died on Sunday morning. Her body was flown back to India and arrived home yesterday, and subsequently cremated.

A lot has been said about the heinous crime which is not what this post is about. What prompted this are the reactions of a few friends after they found out the victim was sent to Singapore. They didn’t think the victim should struggle to live, considering she was in terribly damaged shape. She lost 95% of her intestines from gangrene, suffered from blood infection, and brain damage, among other things, and even had a cardiac arrest before she was transferred to Singapore. Still, when she was conscious, she communicated to her mother that she wanted to live. My friend thought the victim probably didn’t realize the extend of her injuries, and hence she fought to stay alive for so long.

The consensus among my friends is that she should be allowed to die, and in fact she was better off dead because if she had lived, the quality of life would have been severely affected. She wouldn’t be able to eat and drink like any normal person. Basically she wouldn’t function like before, and in a society like in India particularly in New Delhi, where women are suppressed and silenced, her life would be miserable.

To me, the Indian girl is very courageous to try to survive, regardless of whether she knew the extend of her injuries. I believe she was determined not to be defeated by her attackers. If she had survived, her testimony would have been powerful during the trial. There were critics in India who were against the government’s decision to send her to Singapore for treatment, saying it made no sense in her critical condition. They felt that the Indian government was hoping to transfer the problem out of the country. After all if she had lived, she would be a constant reminder of the gross injustices that women there face everyday, and how shitty the Indian police force is.

Admittedly life wouldn’t be fine and dandy had the victim survived. But would life be so depressing that it was better for her to give up, or that she should be put down? Like what my husband said, “when life throws you lemons, you make lemonade.” But to some people like my friends, this ain’t no lemons, this would equate to a whole load of shit, and how do you get over this misery? To be honest, if I was in her shoes, I don’t know if I would be as brave as her. But I’m very touched by her courage, and deeply saddened that her will to live was no match to the injuries inflicted on her.

Life is invaluable, no matter how others view you. I’m not a strong person but I do think it’s a defeatist mindset to give it up when the going gets tough. Many people don’t realize that life is itself a miracle. This mysterious spark of energy has only a finite time span in a human body. It cannot be reproduced nor regenerated. So as 2012 comes to a close, and we usher in the new year with revelry, do bear in mind there are millions of people who are in terrible condition but choose to live.

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