EWH Week 7 Writing Assignment
by Abigail Magsarili
Write a speech explaining how the people of Babylon will benefit from having the Code of Hammurabi.
(This is a transcript from the newscast aired earlier today. You can view this at bww.HLM.mon.**)
* bww.HLM.mon stands for Babylonian Wide Web [dot] Hammurabi Local News [dot] monarchy (as opposed to government).
NEWSCAST ANCHOR FOR HAMMURABI LOCAL NEWS: I’m sure you were all watching earlier today on live television, as the new monument was unveiled in the city square. King Hammurabi previously announced that this stone column was going to change the face of our beloved Babylon. Members of the city have been speculating for weeks as to what it could be, but as it turns out, the spectators have told us that this stone actually bears a set of rules. Our top reporters are here live with the king’s secretary to discuss the significance of the stone.
LIVE REPORTER: Mr. Secretary, why did the king say that this monument will change the face of Babylon?
MR. SECRETARY: You know, Hammy- er, King Hammurabi, announced earlier today at the unveiling ceremony that this code was passed on to him by Shamash, our great god of justice, as the means to rule Babylon. It’s really quite extensive, as you can see. And um, many of the local craftsmen are looking considerably distressed, and hopefully they will be taking their work extra seriously.
LIVE REPORTER: And why is that?
MR. SECRETARY: (laughs) Do you see the north side of the stone? It’s all for the stonemasons and physicians and house builders, so on- and if you’ll notice, the penalty for, let’s say building a house that is faulty and falls on someone, is death. As well, any doctor that performs an operation that kills a patient will suffer the same consequences. It’s really become a risky thing, having an occupation like that. And by the looks of the people, not all of them are pleased.
LOCAL PHYSICIAN: You know, not to be disrespectful, but personally I feel like this is a little too extreme, you know? But really, in things like my profession, we don’t know all that there is to know, and we do our best. But sometimes, accidents happen, and instead of being able to learn from these, now if we have single slip up...
LIVE REPORTER: But don’t you think this will weed out the careless people, and improve your practice instead of damaging it?
LOCAL PHYSICIAN: Well, yeah-
LOCAL BUILDER: Frankly, I’m a little scared to build anything now. (laughs nervously)
LOCAL STONEMASON: You know, everyone will have an objection or two, but if this
came from Shamash then who are we to argue?
LOCAL BAKER: I’m just glad there isn’t anything about a person dying from a loaf of
MR. SECRETARY: The thing is, I personally believe this is a turn for the better. Because
it’ll really make people... be serious about their professions, and make this a better place to be. People will do their jobs the best they can, and we’ll probably see a drastic drop in crime, and silly accidents. (chuckles) Whether it be because of a fear of the consequences, or because of the consequences themselves. I mean, if all the criminals are getting killed, we’ll see a decrease in crime that way too.
NEWSCAST ANCHOR: It seems the leaders all have the same mindset as the royal secretary. The northern governor gave a speech today to reassure the citizens that the Code of Hammurabi it, in fact, a beneficial thing.
GOVERNOR: While this is an unexpected and bold move, we must firstly respect our king and our god. We must trust that they know what’s best for the kingdom (the crowd murmurs). We will be expecting you to be abiding completely by the new Code; for your good as well as that of your neighbors. If you have any questions or comments, please see the committee seated to my left.
NEWSCAST ANCHOR: The governor also read a large portion of the Code.
GOVERNOR: If a judge try a case, reach a decision, and present his judgment in writing; if later error shall appear in his decision, and it be through his own fault, then he shall pay twelve time the fine set by him in the case, and he shall be publicly removed from the judge’s bench, and never again shall he sit there to render judgement.
If any one steal a cattle or sheep, or a donkey, or a pig or a goat, if it belong to a god or to the court, the thief shall pay thirtyfold therefore; if they belonged to a freed man of the
king he shall pay tenfold; if the thief has nothing with which to pay he shall be put to death....
If a physician make a large incision in the slave of a freed man, and kill him, he shall replace the slave with another slave.
If a builder build a house for some one, and does not construct it properly, and the building which he built shall fall in and kill it’s owner, then that builder shall be put to death.
CITIZEN: My one thing, is this law appears to have several holes. For instance, what if the building falls in and kills someone but not the owner? (person next to him snorts) What? I’m just saying! I’m just saying!
GOVERNOR: (still reading the code) In any one hire a ferryboat, he shall pay three gerahs in money per day.
If he hire a freight-boat, he shall pay two and one-half gerahs per day.
NEWSCAST ANCHOR: (VO) Since the announcement we’ve noticed several new polls and internet pages discussing ferryboats, freights, and whether they should all just take swimming lessons. Or, so we’ve heard, get into the boatmaking industry.
GOVERNOR: You can rest assured that we will be seeing a significant drop in crime. Though we may also see a slight rise in deaths before that. However, expect high quality work from any stonemason, builder, or physician you hire. Overall, the people of Babylon will be benefiting from this new Code of Hammurabi, which was unveiled this morning with the promise of a better future, complete with directions for any scenario we shall ever encounter in this life. (cheers)
NEWSCAST ANCHOR: And that’s our top story for today. Small transcripts of the Code will be sent around to the local leaders, though many will find it beneficial to travel to the capitol and see it for themselves. Now, our forecast for this week is, surprising, relatively dry....
Note from Lainie: The assignment was to write a speech, but she asked if she could do a newscast instead. I thought it was brilliant and loved it.
When do you (or do you) stand firm on the "assignment" and when (if) do you give your children liberty to be "outside the box?" Just curious... :)