Nation-states and communities throughout the world have reached certain decisions about capital punishment: It is the destruction of human life. It is ineffective as a deterrent for crime. It is an instrument the state uses to contain or eliminate its political adversaries. It is a tool of “justice” that disproportionality affects religious, social, and racial minorities. It is a sanction that cannot be fixed if unjustly applied.
In the past decade 141 of the world’s 192 countries have abolished or ceased to use capital punishment. Some have outlawed the death penalty for the first time; others, having outlawed it decades ago, have taken resolutions never to adopt it in the future. Yet the United States—along with countries notorious for human rights abuse—remains an advocate for the death penalty. In 13 Ways of Looking at the Death Penalty, Mario Marazziti, a member of the Italian parliament, exposes the profound inhumanity and irrationality of this penalty in America, and urges us to join virtually every other industrialized democracy in rendering capital punishment an abandoned practice belonging to a crueler time in human history. A polemical book, yes, yet one that brings together a wide range of stories to compel the heart as well the mind.
A longtime spokesman for the Community of Sant’Egidio, a Rome-based progressive Catholic NGO, Mario Marazziti co-founded the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty in 2002. For many years he was a producer with RAI, the Italian television network. In 2012, Marazziti was elected to the lower house of Italian parliament, where he pursues a broad human-rights based portfolio. He is the author of a number of books in Italian and has written a regular column for Corriere della Sera. Marazziti lives in Rome.
Marazziti will be appearing and speaking at a book signing at Book Passage at the Ferry Building in San Francisco on Tuesday, April 14th at 12:30 pm. The talk will be hosted by William Petrocelli, co-owner of Book Passage, and is presented by Left Coast Writers.
He will also be appearing and speaking at the Hillside Club, 2286 Cedar Street in Berkeley on Wednesday, April 15th at 7:30 pm. The talk will be hosted by Matt Cherry, Executive Director, Death Penalty Focus, and will be presented by KPFA Radio, with ACLU/No. Cal Amnesty International USA/SF, California People of Faith Working Against the Death Penalty, and Death Penalty Focus.
Editor’s Note: A review of Mario Marazziti’s book 13 Ways of Looking at the Death Penalty can be read here.