Dignity and privacy


Reading the words of Mary Ewert - the wife of Craig Ewert – one is struck by the intelligence and thought that clearly went into his decision to end his life. However, it is not only his decision to die that is causing a furore, but the decision for his death to be broadcast on Sky television.

I did not watch the documentary. This is simply because it was of little interest to me. As a (relatively) young and healthy person, I did not want to sit and watch the end of this man’s life. However, when father time, faulty genes or the pleasures of life catch up with me, if faced by a similar choice to Mr Ewert, this documentary will prove a rare and vital source of information.

Much has been written on this documentary breaking the taboo of death. Yet this documentary in fact breaks the much larger taboo of ignorance. Death is often degrading and unpleasant; those close to it are immersed in a blanket of silence and misinformation. This documentary allows people facing degenerative life to make their decision with the facts in mind.

It was surprising to hear on Radio 4 Phil Willis – Craig Ewert’s former MP – bemoaning the lack of privacy that this documentary shows. The point about privacy is that it is ours to do with as we wish. Willis’ convictions are his own, while the Ewert’s convictions are theirs. Politicians have a lot answer for in regards to protecting our privacy: a politician defending privacy is hypocrisy on stilts.

Those who were liable to be offended by the documentary should not have watched it. Unlike death and taxes, it could have been easily avoided.