Sunday, September 13, 2009

Allan Turing

I have always been impressed by the story of Allan Turing. And reminded that life is a very lonely experience.

Allan Turing, Oscar Wilde, and others like them. They remind me that life is to be lived and loved today. Not tomorrow. I never plan to be a martyr, because of the simple reason that I will not be around to 'enjoy' my martyrdom.

Recently, the British Prime Minister recognised Allan Turing. Here is the excerpt of the story...

LONDON – British Prime Minister Gordon Brown offered a posthumous apology Friday for the "inhumane" treatment of Alan Turing, the World War II codebreaker who committed suicide in 1954 after being prosecuted for homosexuality and forcibly treated with female hormones.
The mathematician helped crack Nazi Germany's Enigma encryption machine — a turning point in the war — and is considered a father of modern computing.
In 1952, however, Turing was convicted of gross indecency for having sex with a man and offered a choice between prison and "chemical castration" — the injection of female hormones to suppress his libido. His security clearance was revoked and he was no longer allowed to work for the government.
Two years later, he killed himself at age 41 by eating an apple laced with cyanide.
As Britain marks the 70th anniversary of the September 1939 start of the war — remembered as its "finest hour" — Brown said Turing "deserved so much better" than the treatment he received from postwar society.
"It is no exaggeration to say that, without his outstanding contribution, the history of World War II could well have been very different," Brown said. "He truly was one of those individuals we can point to whose unique contribution helped to turn the tide of war."
Brown said Turing was "in effect, tried for being gay." Homosexuality was illegal in Britain until 1967.
"The debt of gratitude he is owed makes it all the more horrifying, therefore, that he was treated so inhumanely," Brown said. "We're sorry, you deserved so much better."
Yeah Allan. You did deserve so much better. From a nation that has just remembered to be grateful to you.


Meg F said...

I've always wondered--perhaps a little foolishly, or at least never dwelling too seriously until reading this--if Oscar Wilde would ever get some sort of public apology or recognition as a public face persecuted for his sexuality by imprisonment? Does his treatment merit one, in your opinion? I think it would be a good start, or a similarly wise move, by a government who's recognizing its mistake in Allen Turing?

Wilde wasn't the only one who got such treatment when he did, but surely recognizing his experience would be a sort of shout-out to his friends who suffered similarly.

Leonard said...

But it´s true...the beating goes on as they most recent band of religious thugs incite crimes of hate and suicide from their contemporary pulpits...Bishop Orombi is a leader in this type of long must we wait until this type of man is made to be accountable for the REAL fear and hate that he generates in the name of selective Scriptural (he of course ignores the parts that don´t sensationalize his bigotry).

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