Saturday, 29 March 2008

Hugo Claus stirs up trouble even in death

I think he would have enjoyed it a lot.

The catholic church has got its knickers in a twist because Claus, suffering from Alzheimer's disease, chose to end his life on his own terms rather than await the consequences of the disease. At a ceremony today author Erwin Mortier told Cardinal Danneels he ought to be ashamed of himself. "Celebrating your own moral superiority over the body of a dear departed is no heroism." ("De eigen morele superioriteit celebreren boven het lichaam van een geliefde dode is geen heldendaad.")

Euthanasia is legal in Belgium. The Belgian Alzheimer's organisation also placed a footnote on the one-sided coverage, arguing there are other options for sufferers of the disease which are being ignored by the media.

Five hundred invited guests, many great surviving artists from The Netherlands and Belgium, and some 400 members of the general public attended Hugo Claus' final appearance on stage. Both Belgian and Dutch TV and radio covered the farewell.

Late last year fantasy author Terry Pratchett announced he is suffering from early-onset Alzheimer's disease.

1 comment:

joe said...

Unfortunately, but perhaps not surprisingly, I'm unfamiliar with Hugo Claus. However, euthanasia is one of those things that I believe most in -- though it's obviously not a picnic or a "desired" situation for anyone to be in.

It reminds me of a deeply moving (and somewhat disturbing) segment of the "This American Life" radio show that I heard a couple of months ago. You can listen to it if you wish at the link below; it's the "Act Two" segment, which would be about 35-40 minutes into the entire broadcast if you choose to listen to it: