After a walk through “the little world of poverty enclosed within the workhouse walls”, Charles Dickens concluded that “We have come to this absurd, this dangerous, this monstrous pass, that the dishonest felon is, in respect of cleanliness, order, diet, and accommodation, better provided for, and taken care of, than the honest pauper.”
So President Obama has decided that he will not release the image of Osama bin Laden’s body. The reason, he says, is that it could be used for propaganda purposes by terrorist organisations. How about the fact that making public the blood-stained and damaged body of a human being is just plain unpleasant, undignified and quite wrong?
"Know that you are dust and to dust you shall return", the church says in its liturgy. Where else do we speak of such things in public? asks Giles Fraser, reflecting on our cultural habit of shrinking from the reality of death.