27th of August, 2002;
Revised verdict of Judge Ahmed Aziz to the 2nd district court,
Concerning, the Late Dr. Yousuf Zaidi,
Status: Executed by the court two days ago due to earlier verdict of being guilty of first-degree murders;
“Everyone attempts to understand human nature at a certain point in time. But, as hard as that sounds, it really isn’t. Human nature is doing what you think is right, but is actually considered wrong by society.
The people here, the judges and all those who are here to send me to the gallows, I ask you this:
Do you know what human nature is? Does anyone of us?
After all, the constant need to define what being ‘human’ really is, and all that talk about what makes each and every one of us unique; it’s still ongoing, because being human, we don’t know what it’s really all about.
If people can be different, if they can choose to be different; then why do we have to shun and deplore them as if they don’t really deserve to live evermore?
All I have to say in my defense is, well, that a man without something unique to vouch for doesn’t really have much going for him.
Before you attempt to understand why I did what I did and what exactly it means to be me, I want you to:
Watch your thoughts before they become words…
Watch your words before they become actions…
Watch your actions before they grow into habits…
Watch your habits, as they go on to define your character…
Watch your character, for it shall turn into your destiny. Your unchangeable, and in some cases, misguided destiny…”
These had been the last words of Dr.Yousuf; a former world-renowned oncologist, as documented by me, the judge who sentenced him to his death in due time.
Yousuf, 35, had been charged last month in the 2nd district court with first-degree murders. He had been accused of entering the cancer patients’ ward in St.John’s hospital, and having them killed by an overdose of radiation during their sessions of chemotherapy. The cause of death, as revealed by the autopsies had been determined as ‘compromised immune system’, which had then made the patients victims to ordinary infections and resulted in their eventual demise.
It could have gone undetected, given that most of the patients had been terminally ill and could’ve died anyways in a short amount of time. But, the synchrony in their deaths gave us the benefit of doubt to devise a possible rational explanation for the whole situation.
There is a reason as to why we had some difficulty in levying the sentence on the said criminal. The psych follow-up had determined Yousuf as not guilty due to possible reasons for insanity.
But, the families of all those cancer patients and the people who knew Yousuf as a person, as well as his personal psychologist, whose testimony had been rather hard to obtain due to patient-therapist confidentiality issues; he was a daily narcissistic plebian and his arrogance had known no bounds. Half the people, including his own family had expressed the desire to get rid of him completely.
“He had no heart”, ex-wife Aisha had vehemently mentioned in her testimony of his ‘flawed character’. “To him, the world was nothing more than a vivid hallucination, which needed a cure before it was too late to save it. His work; he loved it because it gave him the satisfaction of controlling lives of those around him, and acting like some sort of God in the making.”
However, as goes the case with this particular testimony, it could’ve been subject to bias, since she had after all hated Yousuf due to the strained relationship they had shared.
As a judge, I hated Yousuf. I hated him, because he was so arrogant and so confident after committing such a wild atrocity. The way he smiled, the way he had orchestrated himself during his turn to speak in the trials was simply detestable.
But today, as I sit in my office, reading the written testimonies that the court hadn’t been able to review for the case due to the restlessness of the public to have him killed immediately; I can’t help, but feel that the law ended the life of a man who had been nothing short of extraordinary. Not only that, but these testimonies, had they been read in due time could’ve perhaps saved his life.
This judge would like to make the court aware of the grave mistake of overlooking evidence that could’ve led to a change of verdict for the late defendant. Not that it will make much of a difference now, but it is the wish of this judge that the court should know that the person they passionately sentenced to death was perhaps one in a million. He had been original, he hadn’t changed for anyone. And perhaps, he had truly known what it meant to act according to his unique character.
I hope these earlier unchecked testimonies bear proof of the mistake that has been committed here:
26th of July, 2002,
To the Sentencing Judge,
I have known Yousuf Zaidi for three years as a colleague at St.John’s hospital. My apologies for the delay in providing the court with this testament, but I had been out of the country to attend a medical seminar in Ireland.
He is, as you may have gathered by now, not a generally liked person due to his image of an erudite intellectual who walks upon the laws dictated by society without a watch. But, as a colleague who has worked closely with him, I can say that despite being a parasite in the work place, he always believed that he could rail against his patients, because in his own peculiar way, he wanted to save them from the pain and misery he had lived through over the years.
‘Patients and their families don’t know what they want,’ he’d remind me every now and then, whenever we were confronted with a moral dilemma that required the consent of the patient/family member to register treatment that could cause some harm during its application. ‘They are scared of pain, because in the end, pain is what leads to death.’
‘What do you wish to do about it?’ I had asked him on one such particular occasion.
If there was one thing that Dr.Yousuf hated was people asking him questions rather than giving him the solutions to every problem that hitherto presented itself.
‘I want people to understand that hanging on to life, that fighting to stay alive is worth going for. I hate it when humanity gives up just because they can’t bear the pain.’
Of course, as a colleague, there was little he trusted me with. But, little did I know that some tragedy had made him into the hard conceited person that he appeared as now.
In case you are questioning the validity of my statement, I implore you to ask my other colleagues about his prowess as a doctor. Yes, maybe what he did is inexcusable, but he did it as a favor to the pain-ridden patients who could’ve otherwise died agonizing deaths. You could say that it was his way of showing sympathy for them.
I hope you take my testimony of his unique character in great consideration before levying a life-ending verdict for him.
28th of July, 2002,
To the Sentencing Judge,
I have known the defendant for five years, as a nearby neighbor in Phase 8, Defense, where he had been currently residing until his arrest a few days ago. My apologies for the delay in sending the written testament, but I had been undergoing a minor surgery during the incident, and it took me some time to come forward with my opinion on the whole matter.
Admittedly, it’s not an easy job to explain the kind of man Mr.Yousuf is and always has been.
Let me start with this forethought; it’s your typical Sunday morning and everyone is outside, either watering their plants or having barbecue parties with their family and friends. Suddenly, out of the blue a monster appears, sending the onlookers scurrying back to their homes with petrified faces. This monster, he comes up to you, and asks, ‘Do you know who I exactly am?’ ‘No,’ you reply, in obvious anger. ‘I don’t know who you are.’ The monster shoots you a disgusting look then asks, ‘If you don’t know who I am, why are you afraid of me?’ And you look at him with horrified eyes and reply, ‘Because, not knowing, I cannot tell what you are capable of doing to me.’
Of course that begs the question as to why I didn’t mind being around someone like that. Well, that’s because in his own way, he tried doing what he thought was right for both people he loved as well as his own self.
I remember the day he came to me; after my daughter had slammed the door on me, and he told me not to worry about people who didn’t deserve my sympathies. He argued that the only way for me to be happy was to care solely for myself instead of others.
He was blunt, at times rude and arrogant, but unlike most people who lie to each other all the time, he was completely honest in his appearance to people around him. He taught me to never ‘feel sorry for yourself and keep trying to break down barriers ahead, rather than just give in.’
He had shared with me the reason as to why he thought that the best way to live life was to pretend as if there was nothing wrong with him. Losing his mother to breast cancer as a child had caused him to emotionally shut down, and the only way he could allow himself to cope with the fact was to ensure that there was no room for mistakes in his supposedly flawless world.
So, before you make your decision, dear judge, I hope you keep in consideration his funny world, rather than the existing cruel reality around you.
31st of July, 2002,
To the Sentencing Judge,
In St.John’s hospital, I was placed under the care of a reluctant young doctor. Having been already diagnosed with stage two: Leukemia; I voiced my disbelief of having the cancer at all due to my state of shock at that time.
The young doctor simply lost his temper upon my speech.
‘Oh, so you don’t want to live, do you? If you are so sure, then why did you even come here huh? To waste my time?’
I stuttered at the shockingly arrogant response, ‘Doctor, have pity on me. I am young and don’t deserve to die in pain like this!’
He simply fumed and clutched my throat at that response, screaming, ‘Nobody deserves to die. But, if you keep feeling sorry for yourself, rather than staying strong and living with the pain, you’ll die a dishonorable death. Let me know whether you’re worthy of saving, or else just get the hell out of here.’
As a former patient of Dr.Yousuf, I still can’t believe that after saying all that and curing me, he did something so cowardly afterward.
Maybe, the pain got to him and he, like any other person felt pity on those who seemed to be suffering. And, therefore, he decided to end their lives for their sakes as well as his own.
So, it seems he was human after all. He did what his human nature instructed him to do; save people by ending their misery and pain.
And, I believe that by letting him die, you will be saving him from his misery too. So, do him that honor if you think it is right. He truly deserves all the peace and tranquility that can be offered to him.
© Copyright 2016 The Lone Nightingale. All rights reserved.
Short Story / Mystery and Crime
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