Gilles Vandenoostende

Hi, I'm Gilles Vandenoostende - designer, illustrator and digital busybody with a love of language, based in Ghent, Belgium.

A petition signed by over 21,000 people asked the UK Government to grant a pardon to Alan Turing. That request has now been declined.

In the UK and in many parts of the world a great deal is being made of the fact that this year, 2012, marks the 100th anniversary of Alan Turing.

Turing, the father of computing as we know it and hero of World War II, was chemically castrated and stripped of his rank and clearance when he was discovered to be homosexual in 1952, which lead to his suicide 2 years later. The reason the lords give for denying this simple pardon?

In the House of Lords on February 2nd Lord McNally stated that the government had already considered this in 2009 and continued:

A posthumous pardon was not considered appropriate as Alan Turing was properly convicted of what at the time was a criminal offence. He would have known that his offence was against the law and that he would be prosecuted.”

By the same logic, I guess Germany should have never apologized* for the Holocaust**, as I’m sure those jews should’ve known they would be persecuted.

There isn’t a facepalm large enough.


* I realize a pardon isn’t the same as an apology, but if a post-humous pardon isn’t an apology than what the hell is it?
** Usually I’m loath to make nazi-comparisons, but considering the historical context I think I can get away with it here, if only for rhetorical purposes.

One Comment

Excellent. Thank you.

Posted by Stephen Mann at February 15th, 2012 at 8:50 am.

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