My go-to spot is the top of a steep hill that offers a wide view of Brisbane’s city. At night it glows beautifully with life and lights. The feature is the Story Bridge which also changes colours – sometimes to reflect a particular theme. During the Olympic Games for example, it’s gold and green. Last night it was blood red. A sense of sadness came over me as I sat down.
I try to avoid spending too much time following the news or debating – so I’ll pass on the politics of the situation and just share a few of my thoughts on Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan (aka the Bali 9) as people who were in an unfortunate situation.
I’m people too.
Like Myuran, I’m actually also of Sri Lankan decent with a close friend who, like Andrew, is Chinese. We too went overseas together, but the difference is that we didn’t try to return to Australia with several kilos of heroin. Actually, there are a few key differences: We didn’t go to lesser privileged schools, grow up in low social-economic areas, or fall under the influence of organised gangs. Actually, I once, in a way did. Well, the worst of it was $3,000 of damage done during mindless vandalism. It was at the school that I attended, but my concerns were only about winning the favour of my friends. I was lucky not to be expelled. I was stupid. I was just a kid.
Myuran and Andrew were kids too.
I grew into a better person and so did they. The potentially devastating consequences of their actions are undeniable, but so are the proven positive contributions that they’ve made since their arrest and rehabilitation.
Sure, the world is better off and safer without some people.. but I believe that Myuran and Andrew were definitely worth keeping – and deserving, at the least, of a life behind bars.
Rest in peace boys.
Thro’ many dangers, toils, and snares,
I have already come;
‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
– Verse from The Amazing Grace, which the two hummed while facing the firing squad.
Yes they were kids, but not when they committed the crime. They were old enough to know right from wrong and most definitely knew the potential consequences for getting caught.
Would people show the same compassion for child rapists? Ones who have made ‘proven’ positive contributions? I highly doubt it.