Have Mercy, Australia

Have Mercy, Australia

I am a member of Gen-Y who lives in the largely socially-conscious city of Melbourne. As such, the circles I associate in are primarily made up of welfare-dependent students, welfare-dependent creatives and those who have only just come off welfare and entered the job market. This is a typically left-wing demographic whose interests include music, travel and recreational substance abuse. These interests would, I assume, be shared by nearly all those who listen to the national radio station that represents not only my demographic, but my generation: Triple J.

Yet a poll conducted by this radio station over the Australia Day weekend – a weekend on which most surveyed were probably off their tits on Class As – revealed that 52 per cent of people felt Australians convicted of drug trafficking overseas and sentenced to death should be killed. A glance through my Facebook newsfeed doesn’t quite echo these figures, but the sentiment is still there.

That law existed before they strapped drugs to their bodies. When you travel you should respect the laws of the country you visit…even if the law/punishment seem [sic] inconsistent with what we have in Australia. Good news is it’ll only be one bullet each.

Yes that is great news Ben. I’m sure those convicted feel the exact same.

I’m wondering what all the humanitarians would be thinking if their children became addicted to heroin, ice or other hard drugs that smugglers take into and out if countries [sic]? Maybe they need a chat with families that have lost loved ones or are living with drug affected family members, I reckon they wouldn’t be so quick to want mercy for the two in Indonesia, live by the sword, die by the sword, by the way I am actually a very caring human being BUT drugs are the evil of society … Anyone who boycotts the beautiful people of Indonesia don’t deserve to enjoy their beautiful sanctuary [sic].

Mm yes Tanya – so caring.

Don’t get why the media is making out like the two guys are victims – the world will be a far better place without them.

What the actual fuck. Would this sentiment be the same if the two men were to be shot on Australian soil by Australian executioners under Australian law? Even Tony Abbott has been on his hands and knees pleading for clemency (though has gone about it the complete wrong way, the prick), yet the majority of us remain unfazed by the looming executions – or, to call a spade a spade – murders.

But why? Why are we – in 2015 – indifferent to the systematic, state-sponsored execution of human beings? Why don’t we care about whether Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran live or die?

An article written by Brisbane Times columnist John Birmingham yesterday came up with a sickening answer. They are not us. Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran are not Waspy McWasps whom we can imagine boogying down at Falls Festival, going for a surf at The Pass and cracking a few cold ones when the sun goes down. They sound alien – foreign – unAustralian.

We can argue until we’re blue in the face that the load of smack they were going to import may have killed a bunch of users, but I thought the whole “eye for an eye” thing went out the window with the Old Testament. In a civil society, criminal sentences are not just designed with retribution in mind – they also focus on rehabilitation, which is exactly what has been achieved in the case of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan if anyone can be bothered to look into it. Execution – especially death by firing squad – is a horrific and unacceptable assault on not only their dignity, but that of humanity.

As an Australian who is planning to relocate to Indonesia in just five weeks, I am shuddering at the thought of moving somewhere that condemns drug smuggling yet condones murder, especially when I am coming from a country with a majority who would be indifferent as to whether I lived or died if I committed a crime there.

I am not saying what they did is acceptable. What is unacceptable, however, is their punishment, and worse, our reaction. For fuck’s sake – have mercy.

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