It is 7.30 in the morning here in Australia as we wake to the news that the Indonesian President decided that execution by firing squad of 8 people, including two young Australians, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, should go ahead.
I am heart broken, gutted, angry.
Like most stories, the one we see is not the truth. Behind the tabloid news is the story that is rarely told. We must seek it before we easily cast judgement.
The story untold is one of systems built on scarcity, on lives of desperation, of scapegoating, of corruption, of using people with less access to money wealth and power as the noisy distraction from the real issues.
Where are the real powers behind Chan and Sukumaran’s ill fated drug trade? Seriously, were the right people ever on trial? Of course not, free as a bird they are laughing all the way as their pawns look down the barrel of the executioners gun.
On this my anger becomes enraged. Around the world we are watching those with less access, including less access to justice and rights, being exploited, incarcerated, bombed, starved, raped…and executed. It is happening a thousand times a second…
On a more hard core legal side about this issue..Geoffrey Robertson, QC, said this.
The executions of Chan and Sukumaran would breach international law in three ways:
- Because capital punishment should be kept to the worst offences, such as murder and terrorism, not drug smuggling
- Because no execution should proceed while legal procedures are underway (i.e the Constitutional Court appeal due to be heard on May 12)
- Because people should not be executed after a prolonged stay on death row, because “the constant alternation of hope with despair [amounts] to mental torture, and [is] contrary to the convention on torture”
I don’t know the truth behind this story, I don’t know why the Australian Federal Police decided to give their information to Indonesia so these Australians could be captured in Indonesia rather than in Australia, knowing full well that this may mean death.
What I do know is that killing these men and the 6 others changed will do absolutely nothing to stop the trade of drugs.
These two young men made really bad decisions. Look back into your youth and tell me you did not make really bad decisions? Did you deserve a second chance?
The greatest part of this story is how they became honourable men in the constant face of execution. (10 years on death row – this known in International Law as extended torture.)
In my despair I take some measure of solace that in their death perhaps humanity will move one step closer to compassion and kindness.
I pray it is so.
Photo credit: The last painting by artist Myuran Sukumaran before he was executed. The Indonesian flag, bleeding.
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