Two hours ago, I was in a rush to get to the gym. I forgot my towel, a friend was waiting for me and my hair was still wet. I was driving needlessly fast when I heard 6 words on the news radio; ‘Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan executed’.
Myuran’s mother’s cries for mercy from last night kept reverberating in my head. I pulled over, called my friend to cancel, did a U-turn straight home and started writing.
I don’t know these men, I don’t know their families and I most certainly don’t know anything about their struggles. But what I do know is that I’ve lost a little bit of faith in the ability of people to be compassionate, show mercy and have common sense.
In regards to compassion and mercy, the Indonesian government did everything in their power to torture two young men and dangle their stupid mistake in front of their faces for 10 years. It has been said before elsewhere and I’ll say it here – what they did was undoubtedly unforgivable by endangering lives with the gross amounts of drugs being smuggled into the country. But to then execute them a decade after the fact – when they were both in their 30s, fully rehabilitated and being positive role models in Kerobokan (by more than one account), is absolutely astonishing to me.
Aristotle said more than two thousand years ago, “The rule of law is better than that of any individual”. This can be interpreted in many ways… I’ll give you two. On one hand, you would think it implies that everyone is subject to the same law – citizens, lawmakers, royalty, Miley Cyrus. Not only that, but the expectation is that the rule of law is fair and universal, but sadly Indonesia’s officials don’t own a law textbook. Indonesians expect clemency for their citizens overseas all the time. Indonesia cannot expect clemency for its citizens if they do not grant it to citizens of other countries. It’s plain and simple. What point were they trying to prove? A societal drug problem will not be fixed by shooting foreigners in the chest.
To Australia; where is your common sense? Executions for even the smallest drug offences in Indonesia have been a publicised fact. A fact, that was known well before the AFP tip-off to the Indonesian government in 2005. How dare officials disclose information that could lead to the execution of Australians overseas where an impartial, less barbaric justice system such as ours cannot be afforded to them?
Australians, I’m not done. The Save our boys Mr Abbott video* has left me reeling – placing the blame squarely on Mr. Abbott. Clearly, I’m not a fan of his. At all. I love that I live in a democracy where I can tweet at my leader and tell him that he’ll never be my Minister for Women or that the size of his ears make me uncomfortable. But shockingly, I’m about to stick up for him and Julie Bishop. Celebrities left, right and centre (politically and geographically) had been telling them to bear responsibility for saving those two lives. Saying ‘show some balls!’ and ‘fly to Indonesia!’ was taking it five steps too far. The Australian government (one that was not involved in the tip off, might I add) have gone above and beyond to provide legal counsel and advocacy for these men. Ms. Bishop said it best. “Clearly, if travelling to Indonesia would make a difference, we would have gone there.”
As an aside, how on earth do we expect Indonesia to take anything we protest seriously? They will always remember Australians as the ones who cheered on (or approved by their silence) as they executed the Bali bombers 2008.
The relationship between Indonesia and Australia is a strange but necessary one. In the grand scheme of things, my opinion and a blog post mean nothing. But that relationship is one I will not be contributing to during my break in August. Sorry (not sorry) Bali, I’m looking elsewhere.
Vale, Myuran and Andrew.
The header photo is of Myuran Sukumaran’s final painting on death row; the Indonesian Flag.
*Link available at time of posting.