Maybe it’s true that people criminalize one who has won a war, saved thousands of lives, contributed a revolutionary literature in scientific inquiry, and caused a city to exist ’til today, but honor those who stole millions from people, preys on the state and its resources and do injustice to the poor.
This is evident in Alan Turing’s life. A mathematician who, with the help of his colleagues and friends who has the best cryptographic minds in Britain, decrypted the German enigma machine and led the Allies to victory during World War I. Many high ranking officials in Britain’s top secret program doubted him and his machine. He worked for his machine for two years, and when the officials got impatient that the machine haven’t shown results, they forced Turing to stop the machines’ operations and tried to imprison him. His colleagues once got tired with him because they spent days producing nothing. Some also accused him of being a Soviet spy. Attempts have been made to fire and put him down. But after all, he designed a machine that broke the German enigma machine’s codes. The enigma machine was believed to be impossible to solve. He “shortened the war by more than two years, saving over 14 million lives”. Indeed, the line that was repeatedly said in the movie is true, “Sometimes, it’s the people who no one imagines anything of, who do the things no one can imagine.”
However, despite making the world a better place, he was criminalized for being different. He was sentenced for indecency just because he’s homosexual. He was then made to choose either to go to prison or to undergo a hormonal therapy. He chose to go through hormonal therapy. The medication had negative effects on Turing. His hands and eyes started to twitch, and his mind began to blur. This then caused him to get depressed knowing that there’s something wrong with his existence; that no matter how he tries to contribute for the betterment of the society, regardless of how hard he works, he’s still unappreciated, just because he’s different.
A year after he was mandated by the British government to undergo a hormonal therapy, he committed suicide. He was just 41 years old that time. And in 2013, Queen Elizabeth II granted Turing posthumous royal pardon, to honor his unprecedented achievements.
The pardon gave him justice, but not what he actually deserves. Saving millions of lives is not easy. He deserved to be recognized, to be honored, and to be given the long life he deserves.
People may not have heard of his name ever since, but he’s the reason why you can surf the internet now. “Alan Turing’s work inspired generations of research into what scientists called “Turing Machines”. Today, we call them computers.”