Today marked the execution of the famous Bali Nine. Or - as far as Australia is concerned, the Bali 2.
It is a very sad and traumatic day for the families and friends of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. Execution is not something that Wonko the Sane approves of. So it is a sad day for me too. Killing is wrong. End of story. Sometimes you have to kill to protect - so it might be justified - but it is always a failure. Killing is a last resort and a failure of every other solution.
There is a 'but'.
A couple of 'buts' actually.
Firstly, when you enter a country you agree to abide by its laws. You may not approve of those laws but if you break them then you have to accept the punishment that is dealt out to you if caught.
Imagine if someone came to this country and married (and raped) a thirteen year old girl (yes that happened
) and then was let off because in his country it was OK. The argument has been tried in Australia actually and we - quite rightly - do NOT accept it.
Secondly, in the case of the Bali 2 it is also critical to remember that they chose
to be directly involved in the supply of drugs to Australia. They were not breaking the law in an attempt to protect the lives of oppressed people. They were not protesting about immoral/unethical oppression. They were not even ignorant of their crimes. They made the decision to perpetuate the death and destruction that drugs cause in order to line their own pockets. They knew the penalty if caught and - presuming that they were not completely stupid - they understood the harm that drugs do.
So although the death penalty is wrong and should not be applied, we must bear these 'two' buts in mind and not try to turn the Bali 2 (or the Bali Nine) into saints, idols or anything else.
But my title said that over three other Australian's were also executed. And so they were. Statistically - which means perhaps only two or maybe it was five.
Nearly four Australians die every day from overdose. Overdoses out-numbered road fatalities in Australia in 2012. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics overdose deaths totalled 1,427 in 2012, while road deaths, which have been steadily declining, ended the year at 1,338. (Data provided to Penington Institute by Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2014).
Why are Australian's so obsessed about two people who were quite happy to be a part of the murder of these other three 'un-named' Australians? The drugs that the Bali Nine/2 were going to bring into Australia may well have meant the deaths of more than three others. Is it so easy to close our eyes to that simple fact?
The Bali 2 appeared to have devoted their years in an Indonesian jail to wonderful endeavors and that is to be applauded. They should not have been executed - that we firmly believe.
But this is being blown all out of proportion - given that the damage to Australians done by drugs is far, far, far greater than just two people in ten years.
one in five deaths in Australia is drug-related. In 1998, it was
estimated that 17,671 Australians died as a result of harmful drug use
and over 18,500 Australians would be hospitalised for conditions
resulting from harmful drug use."
This is the perspective we need to maintain.