I’m in Melbourne visiting the flatmate who isn’t my flatmate anymore. We have a peculiar kind of relationship. We shared a home for seven years, so she knows all my quirks and has forgiven many of them, therefore I can be completely myself and know she is always ready to expect the unexpected.

I head home tomorrow and sigh, leave her here pottering about with her life and I will go home and continue pottering about with my life.

We spent yesterday out and about. We went to a suburb that smells really bad. I can’t remember the name of it but it was bizarre. One smell would leave your nasal passage in time for the next one to begin an assault. But even through the queer little smells, there was a striking sense of community and just… people in the suburb. I did lots of people watching, and not any two people looked the same or dressed the same or had the same expression on their face. And yet it all worked beautifully. These are the times when I am particularly proud to be a member of the human race.

And then, there are two other members of the human race waiting to be shot to death.

I’m finding it really hard to develop a firm opinion on the impending execution of the two representatives from the Bali Nine, who smuggled drugs into Bali and got caught. Death doesn’t seem like a suitable punishment here. These men are humans and they have family and friends and lives and heartbeats and lungs. And someone somewhere says that this must be ended because they broke the law.

Now, they chose their acts knowing the laws in Bali.

But I’ve done things wrong, too. And without a chance to learn and reform, I’d still be shitting in a nappy and finger painting the walls of the nursery.

I don’t like drugs. I don’t like the havoc and damage they create. And people can die because of them. And people do die because of them. So there has to be deterrents and penalties in place. And sure, being shot to death is a deterrent, and they still made the choice to follow through. So according to the law of the country they were in, they are to be put to death.

Then there’s humanity.

There’s respecting life and respecting breath and beats and hearts and lungs. And then I think about people who have died because of drug use, and my brain starts to think about the people of Bali who could have died as a result of using the drugs that were smuggled in. And I’m hearing calls to boycott Bali, for Australians to refuse to travel there anymore. But wouldn’t that just create innocent victims? Wouldn’t that impact the people who rely on the tourist dollar to survive?

I have a feeling that there is no clear thought to have about this one. There is no clear answer and no simple summary. Except for this: Most people fight like hell to avoid death.

That’s all I’ve got.

Now it’s off to another grey day with the flatmate who isn’t my flatmate anymore. There are laughs to be laughed and adventures to be had.

And the whole time, I’m going to remember to be thankful. Because there are people in the world not sure if this could be their last day on earth.


3 responses »

  1. I don’t support the death penalty. I’m glad someone else has similar conflicting feelings. I heard a radio announcer ask about the morality of putting them to death because they are now Christians and doing good works among (perhaps buddhist or moslem?) prison inmates. I ask myself about the morality of becoming a Christian because you have been condemned to death. Would these guys have turned their lives around if they had only got a couple of years? Will they be happy to stay there and serve a life sentence doing good work or will one day the agitation begin to get them out?


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