Posted by: Nick Ward | 29 April, 2015

Reflection on Sadness

I find myself wondering why I am so terribly upset. 

It is true that I was very upset when Van Nguyen was executed in Singapore in 2005, and all John Howard could do was say he didn’t agree with the death penalty but, you know, Just Say No To Drugs. But I am doubly upset now. 

I think it is partly because I don’t think the death penalty is justified. Ever. It is barbaric, it is cruel, and it creates murderers of employees of the state. You also can’t undo it if somebody makes a mistake – and people regularly make mistakes.

It is partly also because Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan had shown themselves to have been deeply changed, from stupid and greedy boys smuggling drugs to intelligent talented young men contributing to society. They have not only expressed remorse, but they have acted on this remorse, and shown that people can become reformed.

And it is partly because my sense of justice is appalled that it has been suggested that bribes were sought when determining the sentence these boys were given, that ultimately ended their lives, and nobody in the Indonesian government or judiciary cared enough to fully investigate these allegations before carrying out the executions. 

But most of all it is because this whole affair has felt like something I am all too familiar with: it has felt like a business deal. It has felt like something the Indonesian president decided for business reasons with no consideration to the human hearts his firing squad were told to ‘burst’. I believe in the sanctity of human life, and maybe that’s just me, but even if you don’t believe in that, at least pretend that you give a damn that you’re killing people. Show that you bloody care about the whole matter. And show a little respect to the people you are killing, and the people they leave behind. None of that was visible here. 

I can’t help but feel that as much as these guys did something terribly wrong ten years ago, in the end they ended up being political pawns. They seem to have been made an example of… By the people who decided that the AFP should give the tipoff they received to the Indonesians rather than act to arrest them when they arrived in Australia; By the Indonesian legal system who elected to give them a penalty grossly out of keeping with their crime; And finally by an Indonesian president who said he was ‘fighting the war against drugs’, that same old glib throwaway line that excuses people from reading research on drugs and addiction and allows them instead to buy cheap political capital with the ill-informed. 

Today has left its mark on me. I have visited Indonesia many times, and have loved its great cultural diversity and people. I have visited Bali and Lombok and other islands, I have loved the country’s natural beauty. Yet I have reflected of late how a lack of care for the environment has deeply impacted that beauty. Now I’m afraid I find myself deeply troubled by an attitude I have observed here, an attitude which perhaps is that of just one man, I’m not sure, but it is an attitude of icy coldness which leaves me with no desire to return. With respect Mr President, friends don’t treat each other this way. Life is more than a business transaction, it is more than politics, in my world. 

I’m afraid I won’t be back to Bali any time soon.

  

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Responses

  1. Ohhh I so RELATE!! 😦

    I cried this morning after a very fitful night of sleep, and I have been unable to articulate exactly why I have found this so distressing.

    I 100 % relate with this; ‘And it is partly because my sense of justice is appalled that it has been suggested that bribes were sought when determining the sentence these boys were given, that ultimately ended their lives, and nobody in the Indonesian government or judiciary cared enough to fully investigate these allegations before carrying out the executions. ‘

    So WRONG and unjust.

    Greatpost – thank you for sharing!

    WATCH this – covers so much! – http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/the-projects-waleed-aly-says-andrew-chan-and-myuran-sukumaran-were-let-down-five-times/story-fni0fiyv-1227327278358

    Miss Lou
    x


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