FOLLOWING the executions of drug traffickers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, a grotesque and sickening phenomenon is taking root in some sections of the Australian community as the deceased duo are eulogised, feted and — insidiously — revered. Opinions on the death penalty are one thing, but this pair peddled and profited from a scourge that kills far, far more youngsters than the two grubs shot for their crimes on Wednesday.
Those who follow me on Twitter will have probably seen, in the course of the past week, that I have been called all kinds of things for my stout refusal to buy into the bullshit surrounding the executions of recidivist drug traffickers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in the small hours of Wednesday morning; about the nicest thing someone called me was “a heartless prick — even by degraded Tory standards,” and believe me when I say that some of the names I was called (by people since blocked from interacting with me on Twitter) were unprintable.
Suffice to say, the “C” word was deemed by more than a few to be aptly descriptive of both myself and my views.
I have found myself talking in this column quite a lot of late about standards: standards of decency, of governance, and standards in ordinary society and around our communities, and it really does bother me that not only do accepted standards seem to be breaking down, but the people responsible for breaking them too often seem to be people who should (and perhaps even do) know better: parliamentarians, educators, legal practitioners, clergymen. The list goes on.
Yesterday, one of my favourite columnists — Sydney Daily Telegraph writer Piers Akerman — published one of the best articles I’ve seen on the subject, and I want to share it with readers this evening; just as I have talked extensively about standards when I have posted here lately, I have also been forced to regularly make apology for missing a day or two once or twice per week on account of my other (revenue generating) activities.
There are other issues I’d like to cover before the weekend is out, and I am acutely conscious of the amount of time we have spent on a couple of worthless criminals who no more deserve to be remembered by the community than they deserved the excessive and costly expenditure of resources squandered by the government on their behalf.
People can, as I have now said a number of times, support or oppose the death penalty as they choose; in that vein some of what has been said, written and/or done in the name of Chan and Sukumaran is perfectly acceptable, and — whilst I disagree — is more than appropriate as a platform from which to advance anti-capital punishment arguments with a tangible case to point to by way of reference whilst so doing.
But all of this has, regrettably, gone far beyond mere arguments over the legitimacy of capital punishment; rather, there seems to have been a concerted attempt to immortalise and elevate Chan and Sukumaran in death beyond what they were in life — a filthy pair of repeat offenders trading in the misery and destitution and broken (or lost) lives that collectively constitute the trail of destruction blazed by the illicit narcotics that were their stock in “trade.”
Piers spoke of the infection of NSW classrooms by this insidious disease, with the words “merciless,” “barbaric,” “futile” and “weak” posted on the electronic billboard of the Castle Hill High School, where the principal and her teachers apparently took it upon themselves to advance a particular position over the Bali Nine executions after students “expressed horror” about them.
By way of justification, principal Vicki Brewer claimed “a number of students felt like they had a relationship with (Chan and Sukumaran) because they had seen them on TV and seen their parents and families,” to which I can only respond that of course they did: of course these kids would feel a bond of sorts with convicted drug traffickers under the tutelage of an education system awash with the reprehensibly negligent left-wing objectives of a majority of the staff who “teach” in it, where the emphasis placed on personalising and advancing a political agenda is given far more weight than course content and other quaint concepts such as reading, writing, arithmetic, and a factual version of history undistorted by socialist perversions and bias.
And before Piers wrote about them, I’d heard about the “scholarships” being offered by the Australian Catholic University in the names of Chan and Sukumaran specifically for international students from Indonesia, so the pair could “live on” constructively whilst raising awareness in Indonesia of “the sanctity of human life:” these fully paid four-year scholarships would be awarded on merit, and weighted against the completion by candidates of an essay on — you guessed it — the sanctity of human life.
I actually hope no-one applies for these scholarships: the whole idea, let alone forcing Indonesian kids to write an essay in effect opposing the policies of their own country in order to skip four years of tertiary study invoices is patronising, condescending, and once again looks like Australia waving its finger at the rest of the world and demanding its position be accepted simply because we, in Australia, deign it to be so.
Zero applicants would be the uptake rate the ACU deserves for such an arrogantly demeaning and wilfully insulting sleight to Indonesian kids who had nothing to do with the executions of Chan and Sukumaran.
But the aspect of this I really wanted to focus on was the message being conveyed to impressionable young minds; teachers and university academics seem content to hold Chan and Sukumaran up as the victims in the whole tawdry catalogue of their criminal endeavours, whilst others whose lives have been wrecked or ended by the drugs they peddled — to say nothing of the families of those people, who invariably get left to carry the can and pick up the pieces — are ignored.
Quite aside from the obscene disrespect for Parliament that candlelit vigils conducted by Australia’s most senior political figures at that institution exhibited, these kids were sent the unmistakable message that even if “drugs are bad” (to use a South Park idiom), in some respects it’s OK because the attention and resources and political clout of an entire country will swing behind you if smuggling them through countries with a harsher penalties regime than ours lands you in trouble — and onto death row.
The nation’s allegedly best and brightest entertainment figures will come out in support of you, recording and posting meaningless statements of support that falsely blame everyone else on your behalf, but which make you look like a hero who has been grievously wronged.
Apparently a shrine to Chan and Sukumaran has been assembled in Sydney’s Martin Place, adjacent to the actual memorial to the victims of the Lindt Cafe siege there last year; aside from the utter disrespect to those innocents who were needlessly hurt and/or killed by the brutal actions of a “lone wolf” Islamic terrorist, no international drug kingpin can or indeed should have any monument erected to themselves simply because they were punished, and much less because some people disagree with the fact that that penalty was a capital penalty.
Yet everywhere you look, evidence of the calls for Chan and Sukumaran to “live on” and to “be remembered” is everywhere, and why? There are some who believe they were “completely rehabilitated,” and for all I know, after ten years in prison, they might have been.
But as we have observed before, Australia — with its relatively lax approach to custodial sentencing, penalties and parole — has a long history of releasing “rehabilitated” characters into the community merely to see them reoffend, often with desperately tragic consequences that could and should have been averted by keeping dangerous criminals behind bars in the first place: and for all the kindergarten-standard pictures Sukumaran could paint, or the religious “conversion” Chan ostensibly embodied, nobody could guarantee that had they ever been released they wouldn’t simply revert to type.
There has been a plethora of pictures and stories about Chan’s wife, Feby — whom he married two days before he was executed — all written from a “poor Feby” perspective, and these have appeared across the full spectrum of media outlets in Australia irrespective of what partisan stereotypes might otherwise apply to them: Feby was a victim, you see, because the evil Indonesians shot her husband (the storyline ignores the fact this was due to occur at the time of her marriage) and because the cruel, heartless government didn’t do enough to get Chan and his equally undesirable accomplice off death row.
It’s all bullshit.
Feby is no more a victim than Chan and Sukumaran; this pair of disreputable specimens knowingly, deliberately and repeatedly flouted laws in Asian countries to smuggle heroin, fully cognisant of the fact that if they were caught they were likely to be executed.
Chan, especially, was the ringleader and key figure in a cartel that recruited students and other young travellers to transport heroin by swallowing condoms filled with the drug before boarding commercial flights: completely cavalier to the risk of one of them bursting in transit and instantly killing the person who ingested it.
And both Chan and Sukumaran, as was shown in previous reports of their offending prior to their capture in Indonesia, conveyed highly developed contingency plans to subordinates in the event they were apprehended — and these, too, called for the murder of law enforcement officials in certain circumstances if the imperative to abscond unimpeded made such actions unavoidable.
So if we want to talk about the sanctity of human life and Chan and Sukumaran in the same sentence, let’s have some perspective: they certainly had no care for such a concept.
I understand that arguing that because Chan and Sukumaran had little respect for human life might grate with those opposed to the death penalty, and let me assure those readers that it’s not the sort of tit-for-tat argument they suspect.
But what I am saying is that Chan and Sukumaran were bad to the bone, rotten, evil and I believe irredeemable creatures who fooled enough people in their time in prison to elicit the sympathy and support of a contingent in Australia that accepted their “transformations” at face value and that — just like the national shame of the Prime Minister, opposition leader and other senior political figures lighting candles to drug traffickers — is an indictment when it comes to the signals and messages being sent to impressionable young people supposedly learning right from wrong, and finding their own ways in life.
What a terrible example. What a horrible precedent.
Australians should not revere Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, but curse them; they should not hold them aloft as fallen heroes, but instead spit upon their graves.
In the mad rush to capitalise on the opportunity to decry the death penalty, too many influential people have made the mistake of instead building this murderous duo up as heroes, and in seeking to make a case on the former have instead encouraged the deification and worship that goes along with the latter.
This is not the act of a rational, mature, civilised society, and as much as those who choose to may rail against capital punishment and the executions that occurred in Indonesia this week, no-one should lose sight of the fact that Chan and Sukumaran were filthy gnomes who, directly and indirectly, profited from ruining and ending far more lives — and inflicting far more misery — than the penalty they paid with their own.
The fact they knew their enterprises could end with a bullet through the heart, before they even started, should act as a substantial counterweight to the imbecilic idea they are worth remembering at all, or celebrating, or teaching kids a story in which the purveyors of evil are the victims of the world around them.
They are nothing of the kind. Chan and Sukumaran were human filth. It’s a reality that does not preclude arguing against capital punishment, but of course too many people appear to lack the basic intelligence to draw the distinction.