Tonight my heart is heavy. The executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran are imminent. I have long been of the view that the death penalty is state sanctioned murder. It is archaic, abhorrent and cannot, in my view, ever be justified. As Dr Martin Luther King said “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.”
This post isn’t however a post about the death penalty. This post is about Helen Chan and Raji Sukumaran, two mothers whose sons will soon be taken. On Monday night, Peter Morrissey, a lawyer for Andrew and Myuran spoke about his clients as ‘the boys’. That phrase struck a chord with me. We often refer to our three sons as ‘the boys’. Yes, Andrew and Myuran are no longer boys, they are young men. But to Helen and Raji, they will always be boys. Helen and Raji’s boys committed crimes 10 years ago for which they are deeply remorseful. Those boys are rehabilitated and have shown themselves to be compassionate and courageous men.
I cannot comprehend the grief and utter despair Helen and Raji must feel. I’ve no doubt that if Helen and Raji could put themselves in front of the firing squad, in the place of their sons, they would. No parent should bury their child. Helen and Raji will forever pay the ultimate price for their son’s foolish mistakes. We all make mistakes and we all deserve second chances.
My heart goes out to the brothers of Andrew and Myuran, Michael and Chinthu. The bond between my three sons, even at such a young age is fierce. They protect and love each other. The biggest lad refers to his younger brothers as his best friends. Michael and Chinthu must feel great anguish at being unable to protect their beloved brothers.
In the early hours of the morning, Helen and Raji will lose their sons. Michael and Chinthu will lose their best friends. It’s a wretched, senseless act.
I gave my little lads an extra cuddle tonight. I held back tears as I sang “please don’t take my sunshine away”. I will hold my little boys tenderly tomorrow and think of Helen and Raji, who will never be able to hold their boys again.