"THE END OF THE LINE". A film about euthanasia in Belgium presented as practical work for the completion of studies in international journalism.
Courageous Amy De Schutter, clear minded young thirty years old woman, who in an immodest, "impudic", shameless way, dare to confront the public, all of us, silent majority, tackling in a kind of “coming out”, something as intimate as the psychic sufferings she lived with since her 13 years, the social incomprehension and the resulting exclusion she went through all this time.
Wednesday the 23rd of November 2016, at lunchtime, Bethan Wainman, Reporter, Sian Victoria Traynor, Camera and Lukas Muller, Editing, international journalism students, studying at the Danish School of Media and Journalism in Aarhus, interviewed me at home about the suicide of Edith and her euthanasia requests.
“We have found your story extremely sad and interesting and were wondering if it would be possible for us to get an interview with you, sharing your personal experience and opinion about the current euthanasia laws in Belgium and what needs to change.”
They send me a copy of the documentary “The end of the Line” about euthanasia in Belgium presented as a practical work for the completion of their studies.
Unfortunately is this documentary piece for their university assignment still private so I thus far can’t share it on the blog about Edith.
I was so impressed by the documentary produced by those three students that I can’t avoid sharing my first hand impressions when I discovered it.
Marvelous documentary on so a terrific theme.
As a reminder, a first definition of euthanasia : "Euthanasia : the practice of intentionally ending a life in order to releave pain and suffering. Euthanasia comes from the Greek "The good death". It refers to the situation when a doctor induces the death with a lethal injection, of a patient who is suffering unrelievably and has persistently requested the doctor to do so. Also a second definition of euthanasia : Also called mercy killing. The act of putting to death painlessly or allowing to die, as by withholding extreme medical measures, a person or animal suffering from an incurable, especially a painful, disease or condition. Painless death.
Thank you Bethan, Sian and Lukas, for the human approach you followed during this reportage to help the public walk through and along the complex paths of suicide attempts and euthanasia requests.
Totally impossible to understand for “normal” people outside those psychic sufferings.
Thank you Bethan, Sian and Lukas, for your intellectual honesty, inviting the public to listen to different points of view, men of the church, psychiatrists, family members, the patient herself.
I'm taking for sure this documentary can help the public to really think about the issues of euthanasia and suicide. That it can help better understand what is really at stake for those so different actors, on the one side, the external actors, kind of onlookers, like the clergymen, the psychiatrists and the parents and on the other side, the real actor, the person in psychic sufferings herself, the one who exactly know what it is all about.
Temptation is great for us “normal, healthy, sound” people, to try to convince other “abnormal, insane, sick” people that we have/ possess the “truth, knowledge, skills, divine revealed inspiration”, through our faith, through our training, through our parental care... to decide beyond any doubt what is good of bad for the others...
The way this reportage is build, is subtly constructed to help the public think about those topics and to help understand that the priority advice to be listened to is the point of view of the person in psychic sufferings herself.
We all needs a huge humility, as pastor, psychiatrist or parent, to try (to learn) to listen, letting say without reacting, so as to become able to realize what is really at stake for the person in suffering, what she precisely tries to share.
Time to realize and to accept that we are completely unable to understand what it feels like to suffer that much when one is young, healthy, intelligent, gifted, beautiful, beloved...
When Amy De Schutter speaks about her sufferings it sounds real. So real. Bright. She expresses very well the unacceptable a priori prejudices and misunderstandings that still exist in our society opposite to psychological suffering. Amy is an extraordinarily subtle, insightful, courageous young woman who witnesses convincingly and with moderation. I enjoy reading or listening when Amy bears witness because it appears to me as a mirror image of what I understood about mental suffering and the subsequent social exclusion. Result of years of endless conversations with Edith and the resulting long periods of existential introspections. I try to express what Edith entrusted us, her family, all along those long years. It required years to begin to understand what Edith’s life really looked like. I convince me every day that I now have the duty to share around me what Edith helped me to understand. For Edith is it a little too late, but for many other people in psychic doubts and sufferings and their loved ones is it the time. Amy helps me come back to the very source of Edith's message and recharge my batteries. What her ultimate choice could be - "Stop ou encore" - I'll forever be grateful and obliged to her. A light in the dark. A voice in the isolation and solitude.
Time to realize that psychic sufferings doesn't mean one is not sound of mind.
The reportage help the audience understand that we have to quit the “You shalt not kill” certitude to enter a more really and actual human compassion scenario where we give space to “You shalt help die in dignity” when people in unbearable and hopeless sufferings feel abandoned when being condemned to stay alive at any cost for them.
Help to die in dignity doesn't mean that at the end of the line, death is necessarily expected to be involved. Much more subtile as it was expressed by Andrew Denton “ It led me to a question I had never considered before: what if the offer of euthanasia could actually save lives?” Or, according to Marieke Vervoort « Thanks to my euthanasia papers I regained peace ». Euthanasia is legal in Belgium, and eight years ago Vervoort signed the papers which will, eventually, allow a doctor to end her life. It's not that she wants to die. She wants to live. But she wants to live on her terms.
At the very end of this reportage, listen to the last words of Amy, the young women with an “Ok to run for one euthanasia” in the pocket. "When I had a consultation with the psychiatrist, and she handed me the piece of paper... and then I cried... I was like so happy... I don't have to commit suicide... I felt an enormous relief...
This ticket helps her realize that she was listened to, that her sufferings where recognized, and with this one way ticket in her pocket she is ready to give a new chance to life. Even if she realize that it wouldn’t be easy because she has to learn again to have future prospects. “I’m scared because I’ll have to think about future again”.
Well done young woman…
With all my best wishes for your rebirth.