I don’t have the energy to sound off on the death penalty right now. We know it’s nonsensical and faced with this morning’s harrowing media reportage, I can’t yet brace myself strongly enough to explore with clarity the nuanced, deep and wounding societal implications of something so pointless and entirely avoidable at the stroke of one man’s pen. Therefore, I’m not writing here to speak; I’m writing to think.
Can we make sense of this waste of life?
When I stirred at 4am this morning and read the reports of the murders of Andrew Chan and Myruan Sukumaran, that tiny light inside of me flickering for compassion dimmed. The emotional charge I felt to keep hope alive and to stand for mercy was cut and instead I type this dejected and saddened.
Whilst I have no doubt that what I feel for the families and friends and even strangers who are hurting right now is genuine, I’m challenging myself to really question why my heart is aching so deeply. I think it’s important that in a world where injustices are rife, that I really understand why this particular case makes me feel so much.
This is a selfish quest to engage with in order to come to terms with two very tragic deaths.
It’s easy to settle on thinking that through compassion alone I ache over these men as Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran leave behind a beautiful legacy of ministry and artistry that has helped other prisoners suffering in Bali gaols. But when I stop to contemplate this path of reason, I find myself maligned to any suggested logic. I’m not ordinarily a particularly compassionate individual and there are thousands suffering in Nepal right now whom I have not aided, which leads me to believe that my yoke here is not burdened by society’s loss, but instead, primarily by my own.
I’ve spent time dwelling in this thought this morning and my only resolution is that I feel so impacted by the executions because I’ve been reminded that in death, like these two men have experienced so publicly, we are all forced against our will to pass on.
I will feel at some point that same unimaginable ushering towards life’s exit door which Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran must have felt this morning.
I feel sad because these men are dead, and nobody wants to die, but I sit here truly shaken, however, because I’m reminded of my own mortality. It’s possible that this is an over-simplification of my feelings to distance myself from the complexities of pain and injustice in the world, however in any case the lives of these two men do not go wasted on me.
In the wake of their executions this morning, my initial, albeit hastily constructed takeaway from this abhorrent mess is this:
We need, with more urgency than ever before, to find out what we want to do with our lives and how we can be the best versions of ourselves that we can possibly be for the benefit of others, because we all have our day of execution.
I hope that I can achieve half as much as these two reformed men have in their rehabilitations. Rest in Peace Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran and thank you for your legacies.