As I woke this morning, my first thoughts went directly to the executions that took place in Indonesian overnight. It was over! We had failed! The Australian men were dead, as were six other foreign nationals. Deep down I always thought failure was to be the final achievement and death the final act. But, still I hoped and prayed for it to be different. It wasn’t.
My heart is filled with pain, not for Andrew Chan & Myuran Sukumaran , because they are now in God’s arms – but for the people all over the world, that still see the death penalty as a viable option. The governments and regimes that use sanctioned murder as a justification to score political points around the world.
I am not naive. I understand that governments have the right to run their countries as they see fit. They put clear warnings at their airports for foreign travellers. I realise that, the so-called Bali Nine, were drug traffickers and the two dead men were the ringleaders that had threatened violence and harm to the family members of the other seven. I know that the death penalty goes on in other parts of the world – all the time – without me focussing on it.
Before I stopped reading blog and newspaper comments online last night, I was saddened but not altogether surprised, to read that some Australians felt that Andrew & Myuran have been made into public heroes. That the focus of our side of the world has been deflected away from the earthquake in Nepal or the tragic deaths from cancer or the violence towards women or the forced closure of remote Aboriginal communities. I could go on!
I do not agree with this.
I believe these are all terrible events that need our attention and will continue to need it for many months & years to come. But for once, from my safe home in Australia, I feel close to the death penalty. That is not something I have to think about very often because it has been abolished for many years in my country. But today two Australian men had the death penalty carried out on them.
Ten years ago, a group of young Australians decided for whatever reasons to attempt to smuggle drugs. Many of them are the same age as my sons! I think back 10 years to some of the foolish, dangerous, harmful things that my sons did to themselves and others …. and that’s just the stuff I know! They made mistakes. They hurt themselves and others. They sometimes dabbled in the dangerous – even if they knew it could hurt those around them.
Then I think back to when I was 19 – 20 years old. I was a dangerous mess at times. I did things that could have changed my life for ever. I often, didn’t think about those around me or the consequences of my actions. But I was lucky – I didn’t get caught. I turned my life around. I kept my faith in God. I rehabilitated just like the men that died this morning in Indonesia did. I lived! But because of a barbaric law in another country – they died!
I don’t support the drug trade and over the years have lost many friends and acquaintances to the grip of addiction and ultimately death. It is not about leaving criminals unpunished – they deserved punishment for what they did. But NEVER the death penalty in any circumstance for me!
NEVER the death penalty for me! Isn’t it our job as humans, to show compassion to those around us? Isn’t it my job to care about the needs of others? I am sad this morning but I am grateful because this terrible situation has made me aware and care deeply about something that is not a day-to-day issue in Australia but is in many other parts of the world. The Death Penalty. Never again will I be able to deflect my feelings on this matter. It has come to my country through Andrew Chan & Myuran Sukumaran – not as heroes or martyrs but as a spotlight on a terrible occurrence that happens all to frequently in other parts of my world. My head is out of the sand and I can see clearly.
So I stand for mercy! Today, everyday, everywhere! I choose to think total failure comes only if the death penalty slips from my mind again and I am lulled into a false sense of thinking … this doesn’t happen to me in my country! I have chosen to have faith in humanity – that one day the ugly blight on our society that is the death penalty will be removed forever. Until then, I pray, I hope, I support …
NEVER the death penalty!