Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Old Eskimos on the Ice


Senicide or geronticide is the abandonment to death, suicide or killing of the elderly by culture:
  • The Heruli were a Germanic tribe during the Migration Period (about 400 to 800 CE). Procopius states in his work The Wars, that the Heruli placed the sick and elderly on a tall stack of wood and stabbed them to death before setting the pyre alight.
  • Senicide is currently practiced in Tamil Nadu, a state of India. The traditional practice of senicide by the family members is called Thalaikoothal. In this custom, the elderly person is given an extensive oil-bath early in the morning and subsequently made to drink glasses of tender coconut water which results in renal failure, high fever, fits, and death within a day or two. In 2010, after an expose in Virudhunagar district, the administration set up teams of officers to monitor the senior citizens.
  • A common belief is that the Inuit would leave their elderly on the ice to die.  Senicide among the Inuit people was rare, except during famines. The last known case of an Inuit senicide was in 1939
  • Ubasute (abandoning an old woman), a custom allegedly performed in Japan in the distant past, whereby an infirm or elderly relative was carried to a mountain, or some other remote, desolate place, and left there to die. This custom has been vividly depicted in the The Ballad of Narayama (a 1956 novel by ShichirĊ Fukazawa, a 1958 film, and a 1983 film).