Like many of you, I woke up with a hurting heart this morning, having had a fitful sleep filled with strange dreams. On waking I read the reports coming out of Indonesia about the execution of Myuran and Andrew. I am trying really hard to make sense of it. I knew I had to write something about the whole travesty, but I struggled trying to put into words, what was going on in my head.
And then I got an email from a reader, and with her permission, I am honoured to be able to publish her words. Her message is what I am trying to say. She just says it better than me.
My heart is heavy with the sadness for the lives taken overnight when the death penalty was finally carried out in Indonesia. It goes without saying that these men all knew the risks and most likely believed that they would be the ones not caught. They chose to roll the dice and gamble that they would get away with it. They didn’t they and many others got caught, they have spent 10 years in jail for those crimes.
During those 10 years they by all accounts have turned their lives around and become not only model prisoners but better people generally than many people living and walking the streets every day. It can be argued that they have only turned their lives around because they got caught, this may very well be true but the point is they took the last 10 years and chose to make better choices and prove to their loved ones that they are right to love them and support them.
The appeals for clemency that have been desperately made for these men have fallen on deaf ears for whatever reason. It needs to be remembered that at no point were these men asking to be let out of jail they were simply asking that they be allowed to live out their days in a jail in a third world country. That doesn’t sound particularly nice to me. It doesn’t sound like the picturesque tropical island holiday that people imagine, it really sounds only one step up from hell. Sure, they would be alive and sure they could continue their good works and rehabilitation of other prisoners giving other people hope for a future but they are still little by little dying on the inside in a third world jail.
Why do I care so much about second chances and redemption? Recently, I had a significant breakdown that resulted in me being hospitalised for nearly two months and have a long recovery in front of me both physically and mentally.
It turns out that this breakdown was the culmination of a few years of bad choices and somehow I had been operating almost as two people during this time. The drs tell me that I had/have dissociative personality which meant that I was able to do things that were and are completely out of character for me the person who I think I am.
Turns out that some years ago I got to my tipping point of coping and slipped into a major depression with generalised anxiety. The main problem for me was that I was so used to putting on a brave face and pretending that I was ok and being there for everyone else that I either didn’t recognise it in myself or chose not to or pushed it aside and continued on until my brain simply could not cope anymore and I had a total mental and physical breakdown. I managed to lead a double life and did things that were completely out of character for me the person that I believe I am and people know me to be, I am now having to face up to the consequences of these actions. The consequences are loosing my job, breaking the trust of my family and friends, disappointing those closest to me, and could in fact be criminal charges but I am hopeful that won’t be the case.
Sure my case and the young men in Bali are different in that mine was a mental health issue and theirs was motivated by greed but ultimately they are both criminal and in a civilised society both deserve the opportunity for redemption.
What defines us as people is not what we have done and the mistakes we have made be they big or small. Everyone makes mistakes no-one is perfect (let he who is sin free cast the first stone) but it is the unwritten story, what happens after the mistake that defines us as a person.
For me I have a long journey back to wellness and sure at the moment on this journey there are days, hours, and even minutes where I truly believe that my family and friends would be better without me and that I am not worthy of their love and support because of my mistake. I am assured constantly that this is not the case so I continue to work hard on my recovery so that my unwritten story can be one where they are all proud of me and proud of the person I am, not one defined by the mistakes I have made. But I am lucky, I am getting the treatment, love and support I need to make this journey whatever the outcome.
This leads me to reflect on these young Australians who overnight were executed they made a mistake, sure for them it was big one and one had they gotten away with would have had far reaching consequences for so many families but it was a mistake. The legacy that I believe these men need to be remembered for is their unwritten story, once they were arrested they took ownership of their crimes and made a decision to turn their lives around.
They were by all accounts rehabilitated in a prison system that at its core is not about rehabilitation, they rehabilitated other prisoners, they studied, they kicked a drug habit with no support, they became men that their families could be proud of and fight for.
Everyone deserves a chance to make their unwritten story different to what has been. #istandformercy is not about condoning their crimes but it is about finding compassion in our hearts to show love and mercy and remembering, but for the grace, it is not you or your loved one.