Roger Casement

After his arrest Roger Casement  is sent to prison in Britain. The authorities wish to execute him but are afraid to, as calls for clemency are being made by influential people. They have extracts from his diaries circulated which show him to be a promiscuous homosexual.(The Black Diaries) In the climate of the time this causes a huge scandal and calls for clemency cease. Roger is tried for treason and condemned to death. He isn’t shot like the other leaders but hanged like a common criminal in Pentonville Prison.

 

The Black Diaries

 

The Black Diaries are full of graphic sexual references including references to sex with teenage boys. For 100 years a debate has raged over whether they are genuine or forgeries. Those who say the diaries are genuine have always pointed to the huge volume of writing in the diaries, the fact that the diaries were offered to Casements defence team and the other evidence of Casement's being gay; as proof that they were genuine. Then  in 2002 a handwriting expert from Scotland Yard concluded that the writing was undoubtedly Casement’s. This was accepted by the majority. Case closed?                                                     

 

A small group however still claim they may be forgeries citing  inconsistencies between the Black Diaries and his other diaries and the fact that the examination was not a complete forensic investigation and would not meet the standards required by a court of law, being  confined mostly to handwriting (they say handwriting experts have been wrong before). These people call for a full forensic investigation including chemical analysis by modern non invasive tests (e.g a Raman spectrometer  & X-Ray fluorescence) to prove conclusively whether  the diaries were written by Casement or not. This may never be done however as most academics believe the Black Diaries were written by Casement. Even if it were done and the diaries proved genuine there would still be people who wouldn't accept it because they don't want to believe it. Several books and articles have been written about this.

 

Like many people today I believe it doesn't matter whether Roger was gay or not, promiscuous or not. Being gay or promiscuous is a natural human thing, part of life for millions of years, Roger Casement was a great man who led a fascinating life, his sexuality was only one aspect of this. His humanitarian work is much more intriguing.

         Roger Casement a great humanitarian and nationalist. 

 

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