Wed, 07 Jun, 2023

The Suicide Tourist

By Sneha Parajuli

Photo Courtesy: “I’m tired of the disease, but I’m not tired of living. And I still enjoy it enough that I’d like to continue. But the thing is, that I really can’t.” Craig sighs. “The Suicide Tourist” (2007), a documentary by John Zaritzky, mainly reflects the act of mercy killing, also known as Euthanasia. Euthanasia is a practice of ending one’s life intentionally in order to relieve his/her pain and sufferings. A man named Craig Ewert acts as the suicide tourist who is suffering from a chronic Paralysis Inducing Disease. In this documentary, the pain and suffering of Mr. Ewert is clearly reflected as he has no hope of surviving. He admits the fact that he is suffering from an incurable disease and wants to die a peaceful death. This documentary shows assisted suicide of Craig Ewert, who was 59 years old. He was a retired university professor of Computer Science who had been suffering from motor neuron disease. Craig was taken care and emotionally supported by his wife who seems to be quite strong and brave enough. They lived in a peaceful environment in London while their son and daughter lived in The United States. As his life struggles to hold him, he chooses “mercy killing” as the only option. “At this point, I’ve got two choices,” Ewert reasons. “If I go through with it, I die, as I must at some point. If I don’t go through with it, my choice is essentially to suffer and to inflict suffering on my family and then die — possibly in a way that is considerably more stressful and painful than this way. So I’ve got death, and I’ve got suffering and death. You know, this makes a whole lot of sense to me.” A renowned institution named Dignitas for mercy killing in Swiss capital, Zurich, was his last and final destination. He chose Euthanasia because he didn’t want to suffer anymore. He was tired of living such a painful and troublesome life. Euthanasia is only processed through the sufferers will. At first he was given to swallow a lethal dose of “sodium pentobarbital” and that lethal sedative eventually killed him. Assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland and several other countries, as well as in two U.S. States. Only Switzerland allows outsiders to come to end their lives, leading to criticism about “suicide tourism”. This has become a very controversial matter as other countries have been putting pressure on Switzerland to reject foreign petitions to die in their country. This scrutiny has made it difficult for the clinics like Dignitas. Fortunately Craig met Dignitas’ criteria and got what he had come for. There may have been some people who still think, well, I wouldn’t have done that, or he shouldn’t have done that, or something. But I think Craig himself, is very articulate, and parses some strong arguments, for his decisions and his opinions on living, suffering and on dying. This documentary is a strong and an exceptional example, which portrays the right of every individual to “die with dignity” and it demonstrates good arguments for why Euthanasia should be legal everywhere around the world. It is a very moving and emotionally powerful documentary, chronicling the final days, and eventually assisted suicide of Craig Ewert.