Thursday, 2 August 2012

Erwin James at Greenbelt

Greenbelt is a UK arts festival of long standing, with I understand a broadly Christian focus, and faith as one of its elements.  I have never been to it.  I might go to an arts festival, I might even go to a Christian festival, but it seems to me that any festival which tries to combine the two is unlikely to succeed.  However.  It has been going for 40 years. Someone called Erwin James is going to appear there this year, and I was struck by this piece on Harry's Place, "the murderer at Greenbelt".  Erwin James is the nom de plume of James Monahan, who is indeed a convicted murderer and who is thus given a platform by the Guardian.  I wouldn't know, as I do not read that filth.  But he is.  He has been writing for it since 2000, we are told.  The murders Monahan committed, in the early 1980s, appear to have been of the homophobic persuasion.  So naturally just right for the Guardian.  Their favourite Islamist hate preachers must just love him.

Now if someone has committed a crime and served their time, they should return to society and have the opportunity to make a contribution in whatever way they can, right?  Right.  But the piece raises issues which are kind of interesting.  Monahan appears to have made up some of his history.  He won't be the first or last ex-con to do that.  But there appear to be those, at the Guardian and at Greenbelt, who know this and are conniving at it.  Why?  Monahan appears, from the quotes attributed to him, not only to have no remorse  (I do not think remorse is always compulsory) but not to believe that he has committed a crime at all.  Here we are getting into a whole other scenario.  That of the psychopath.  That of the abuser who genuinely believes the victim wanted the abuse.

Welll, it made me think, anyway.


Damian Griffiths said...

I saw him at Greenbelt, and he was clear that he had committed terrible crimes. He held himself responsible for the deaths of two men. I don't know where you are getting the idea that he thinks his victims wanted their abuse.

Jane Griffiths said...

where did that come from? I didn't say it.

Anonymous said...

I saw hin at Greenbelt and I think you are grossly misguided or misinformed to believe that he neither admits what he did nor feels remorse.

He freely and openly admits his despicable crimes - though he doesn't go into details about the incidents he encourages you to look him up on google and make of it what you will.

He believes he wasn't 'born bad', but doesn't say he has not done bad things. His main gist is that we should spend time and money investing in children and young people to prevent them walking his path, and that we need to re-examine the prison system which as it stands is NOT workin (up to 90% reoffending rates in some age groups).

Erwin James Monahan, was not asking for forgiveness nor making excuses, he was simply telling his story in the hope that it might prevent other people suffering at the hands of people like he used to be. And prevent other people like him being so damaged in the first place.