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Book review: Bill Moyers Journal

Thomas Cahill and the case of Dominique Green

Dominique Green was 18 years old when he and three other teens were robbing people in Texas. 
Then one of the committed murder, Green was 
arrested and charged with life sentence, later on he was given the death penalty. No one else was sent to trial. 

Thomas Cahill presents the relationship between cruelty, death penalty and race in the United States. He took Dominique Green’s case when he sent a letter to an Italian newspaper when he found out that death penalty is forbidden in Italy. Thomas Cahill was working with a non profit called “Sant Egidio” a Catholic organization fighting against capital punishment. Cahill joins forces with Green, later on asking a good friend of his, Desmond Tutu, to visit him in jail.


Two of the teens that were arrested for the murder, made a statement against Green to get lighter sentences, the other teen was white and never charged with anything. He is still alive but can’t be found.

In jail, while waiting to be executed, Green comes across many books, one of them was a book written by Desmond Tutu. He starts reading more and more about what Tutu stands for and started to change. When Green is executed, he is a different man. Can change happen while waiting for one’s execution? It can, probably, especially when you presume to be innocent of a crime you never committed.

Dominique Green died at 30 years old, he was executed by lethal injection at 7:59pm on October 26th, 2004. His story was never told until now.

Cahill explains how modern democracies has abolished capital punishment, but not the U.S. in the U.S you can still be executed, especially when you are poor and have no proper representation. Cahill says “We kill people because we want to kill them”, we get a kick out of people dying in places like the Roman Coliseum for example. Today, in Rome, the Coliseum is lighten up whenever someone is executed somewhere in the world. This is very powerful if you think that, today, we are supposed to have come far from the way we treated others decades ago. “The real evil in the world is cruelty”, he says, referring to the fact that not only are we satisfied when we kill someone regardless of whether or not that person was in fact guilty, but  we send them to death row first and we torture them for many years by isolating them, forbidding any kind of contact with the external world, we push them to their limits and then we kill them.      

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