Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Woes of Waiting

Australia is waiting for a few things at the moment.

I give Tony Abbott a week - on or about the ninth of February he will be ousted from office. I'm going by the stars and planets - Mercury goes direct on the eighth - once all the communication stuff ups stop, the path will be cleared.

Well that is my view. When you're being lead by a delusional fool, you may as well place your faith in the stars. The results will probably be better. I can put my faith in the stars - they will be there tomorrow. I'm not sure our Prime Minister will be there much after the fifteenth of March. (Beware the Ides of March....) Haven't checked my tarot cards but I don't think it can be too long - too many gaffes have occurred over the last seventeen months. Australia is finally waking up to the utter tool and his mates that were voted in two Septembers ago.

Australia is also waiting on another rather nasty event to occur, not that the removal of Abbott will be something distasteful - I see a few parties and dancing in the streets.

Nearly ten years ago, a group of nine bogan opportunists were caught smuggling drugs out of Bali. Known as the Bali Nine, six were convicted and sentenced to long jail sentences, three to death - one has since had his sentence commuted to life behind bars. It appears that now, the Indonesians are preparing to execute the last two.

I see no point to the death penalty. None at all. I think it's barbaric that the state can snuff out people's lives. The last person executed in Australia was in 1966. The death penalty was taken off the statues in 1972. Since then, some 43 years later, we as a nation have never discussed bringing it back - something I'm more than happy about.

However, this does not stop other sovereign nations periodically executing our citizens for crimes committed on their soil.

Case in point. The two ringleaders of the Bali Nine. They are days, weeks away from being taken out to some remote location, asked whether they want to sit, stand or lie, wear a hood or not and they will then be shot through the heart. The fact that the Australian public are aware of these facts is not great. Do we really need to know that if the riflemen stuff up and the prisoner is still alive that they are treated to a bullet to the temple to finish off the job?

Death at the hands of the state is never a clean matter. It's always been something of public fascination as well. Think back to the 1800s where mass public hangings were the norm. Or turn to Dickens with is depictions of Les Tricoteuses, the women who sat by the guillotine during the French Revolution, who laughed  and knitted as the aristocracy had their heads removed. In modern times, barely a month goes by when there isn't a story about how executions in America are not going to plan or drug companies are refusing to provide the cocktail of chemicals that will render a person dead in a few minutes.

In more recent times, I can place myself down Rundle Mall on the day that Barlow and Chambers were sent to the scaffold in Malaysia - a picture the following day on the front of paper showed the sheet covered body of one of them with a foot poking out at the back of the van. The picture had a macabre finality about it.

The last Australian to be executed by a foreign nation, Van Nguyen, had a polarising effect in my circle of friends. One person was adamantly for the execution, their view was formed by the effect narcotics had on a family member. Others were outraged that this young man, a pawn in a much larger system, was to pay with their life for an act of stupidity. As much as I abhor the death penalty, I fall somewhere in the middle when it comes to crimes performed in other jurisdictions - particularly drug crimes committed in Asia. If you are stupid enough to willingly commit these crimes, if you get caught, you pay the price.

What effects me most is the grim details we are provided about these executions. The preparation, the effects, the last meals, the last words, all described with ghoulish glee by the press.

Death is a difficult business at the best of times. For those who end up having a peaceful passing, surrounded by family in friends, ready to go, leaving the earth knowing their role on the planet is done, one can walk away, emotional, hurting, but gladdened that their passing was calm.

My heart goes out to the two men who will not be members of the human race in the near future. I feel greatly for their friends and family. I'm upset that these men who have proven themselves rehabilitated will be annihilated by a number of bullets somewhere in a remote part of Indonesia, with very little comfort available to them. I'm particularly angry that the Australian Federal Police didn't do their job and collect these people in Australian Customs, where they would have been spared this notoriety.

Mostly, however, I'm upset that states feel the requirement to murder. Capital Punishment has never been and never will be a deterrent. All it manages to do is disquiet the psyches of the world - not something that the world needs at the moment.

I just wish the waiting was over for all concerned.


Elephant's Child said...

Thank you. And yes - on all counts.
Years back I saw a documentary about executions in one of the US states which still uses the death penalty. The most telling part of the documentary for me was discovering the cause of death which is put on the victim's death certificate. Homicide.
No arguments from me.

Jackie K said...

I totally agree. Capital punishment is barbaric and achieves nothing good. I know these people broke the law, drugs do horrendous damage, and all the rest - but it still takes my breath away when I hear people saying they deserve their fate.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

I also agree - there are people in the UK who believe in the death penalty.

I'm not one of them.