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The Tragedy of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran

The tragedy of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran is nearly at an end. Do they really deserve to die? Damian Smith reports.

I have watched with great interest, and even greater despair, the tragedy of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. It tells us a great deal about the society that we live in and the people we have become.

It has been, if nothing else, an opportunity, to paraphrase one of my Facebook journalist acquaintances, “to prune my feed of cretins”.

Make no mistake, this is a tragedy. For in one singular instance we see both the triumph of the legal system and its catastrophic failing. Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan are paragons of what the penal system aspires to be, of what it should be – a place of rehabilitation and reform. A place of healing, for want of a better term, where those who have wronged society can turn their path and become better people. That their debt to society can be repaid by becoming better members of it.

This lofty aim has been achieved in Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. Both were convicted as young men, bereft of life experience and full of bluster and folly, however in prison both have become men.

Andrew Chan has been described by prison officials as a model inmate. He is a mentor to other inmates, guiding them through one of the most terrifying and soul-crushing experiences one could ever suffer. He holds courses and takes classes, helping other inmates improve themselves. He leads the prison church services for English speakers and offers spiritual succour to the inmates there.

Myuran Sukumaran completed an Associate Degree in Fine Arts from Curtin University while in prison. He has discovered art and spends his free time painting self portraits. This free time, however, is limited as Sukumaran teaches English, computer, graphic design and philosophy classes to inmates. He organised the implementation of a computer and arts room so that prisoners might develop skills that would help them become better members of society once they are released. He has a business, Kingpin Clothing, which sells clothes and artworks of his design.

Both of these men have used their time in durance vile to better themselves. In their penitence they have become what we should all aspire to be – good people. If prison were advertised on late night television, these two men are the after photos – the testimonial that the process works. That people can learn from their mistakes and change their ways.

And in spite of this both men are to be executed. At some point in the next week, having endured the unimaginable torture of knowing that their end is nigh but not knowing when, they will be taken outside and shot.

Let’s not shy away from this fact, it will be important in a moment. These two men will be shot. They will be woken up in the middle of the night and taken to a remote location in the middle of the jungle. They will be blindfolded, spending their last moments alive in darkness. They will have the choice of sitting or standing, the last act of free will they will ever receive.

Twelve soldiers armed with rifles will stand 5 to 10 meters from the condemned. Only three of them will have live rounds in their rifles, the rest will be given blanks – so that those who believe so firmly in the death penalty can fool themselves into thinking they are not actually responsible for carrying it out.

Then, after a count, they will fire at the condemned’s chest. Three balls of lead, travelling at roughly 120 meters per second will tear into the chest of the condemned.

These projectiles will rip through flesh like paper, lacerating organs and severing arteries. They will shatter the bones of the ribs and fragment, splintering off in different directions to continue to flense the torso from the inside. Still hot from the ignition charge and air friction, they will burn enough to cause excruciating pain but not enough to damage the nerves that feel that pain. This will cause severe bleeding and hypovolemic shock. Death will be caused by hypoxia and exsanguination.

This death, however, will not be instant and the condemned will have enough time to feel all of this happening to him. In fact the condenmed in firing squad executions in Indonesia has survived the process often enough that it is written in the codes and practices of Indonesia’s prisons that should the condemned still be alive, the commander is to walk over and deliver one final shot to the head. Why this is not done at the beginning is a matter of conjecture.

Are you horrified yet? You should be.

Two men who have actually made something positive of their lives will have those lives violently and abruptly ended.

And yet I see in the mainstream media, social media, the comments sections of each, a chorus of everyday Australians who seem to delight in what is happening to Chan and Sukumaran. Who seem to find a macabre glee in their fates. A menagerie of hypocrites and ghouls, with their tumescent death erections stiff as towel racks, delighting in the schadenfreude of two foolish young men about to die. Revelling in the blood like antique Romans.

It is endemic of society that the idea of justice has been supplanted by the notion of vengeance. That instead of reform and rehabilitation we should instead seek swift and brutal reprisal. That a moment of folly deserves a lifetime of retribution. Stray from the path once and you are cast aside, permanently if need be, one strike – no second chances.

That is what I’ve seen in reaction to the Bali 9 case. The social justice warriors of Facebook and Tumblr a morbid choir of condemnation.

“They broke the law” they cry “they deserve this”. Do they? Truly?

Yes, they broke the law. Yes they deserve to be punished. I wholeheartedly concur. It is a cornerstone of civilisation. However with that punishment comes the obligation of reform. That those who do break the law deserve the chance to change their ways, to right their wrongs. For without the chance for redemption we are no longer a civilisation.

If the law is no longer about justice then are we are no more than petty butchers.

“But that’s the law over there” they chant “they knew the consequences”. Yes they did, but that doesn’t make those consequences right. You defend Indonesia’s rights to execute drug smugglers, a crime which carries a 20 year sentence in Australia. In Australia the maximum penalty for theft, the crime most responsible for this Nation’s colonisation, is 5 years imprisonment. In Saudi Arabia it is amputation of a hand. Are we to defend Saudi Arabia’s right to this barbaric punishment?

“It’s their country, their laws, who are we to interfere?” they intone.

Humans. That is who we are. The free peoples of civilised society. We who dream of a better world, it is incumbent on us to call out such barbarism when we see it. To not be good men doing nothing. Are we to stand idly by while Indonesia executes two penitent men for attempting to smuggle an arbitrarily decided illicit substance?

Yet we will take to the keyboard in protest of Saudi Arabia (again) publicly lashing blogger Raif Badawi for the crime of criticising his country’s Islamic Clergy. We are not afforded the luxury of cherry picking our outrage.

The irony is not lost on me that the internet is lit up, the comments sections aflame, with the barely coherent apoplexy towards the Bali 9, so eager are they to see “justice” done, yet these same people at the same time will bemoan that charges for the same offence, drug smuggling, brought against players of the Gold Coast Titans are distracting from the launch of the NRL season. Or do Beau Falloon and Dave Taylor also deserve death?

Cherry picking our outrage indeed.

The tragedy of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran is nearly at an end. Their trial over, their appeals exhausted. Our own trial however, of we as people, as a society, is still very much underway. And on the evidence presented in the last few days, the result could well be damning. For in the course of their sentence these two men have found their humanity, but we on the sidelines, in our relentless pursuit of vengeance, have lost ours.


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  1. Peter Ball

    well said

  2. Barry

    Brilliant writing. Sharing

  3. M-R

    This is a political act, not one of the courts or the law. They gave the Bali bombers a very short time in prison. They agitate for the release of their own drug smugglers from other countries’ death rows.
    This is a political act, not one that can even remotely be likened to justice.

  4. Karen

    Terrible they ask for clemency for their own people and kill everyone else what sort of nation are they peace loving I think not just killer’s

  5. mark delmege

    I’m a little uneasy about the whole thing. It is being used for less than honourable reasons by some. The attention, the granstanding… I am not a supporter of death by state in any form – police, courts or military. There is enough killing that escape public gaze for base political purposes and is swept under the table every day. Massacres. Nuff said.

  6. kmatilda2013

    I read it, i tried to imagine it but my mind won’t let me go there fully as it is too horrible to imagine. I will never forgive Indonesian courts or the President or even the AFP for doing this.

  7. Lyle Upson.

    well put article

    my own selfish interest is the abandonment of prohibition

    in doing so, the nation engages in a discussion on what should be a crime and what should not be a crime

  8. ess page

    My view is how many people have they killed as a result of the drugs they have supplied? How many lives have been destroyed because of it? They were quite happy making money off it, so why shouldn’t they face the repercussions?

  9. June

    Thank you Damian for your thought provoking insight into this tragedy. Well said and well done.

  10. Kathy Cochran

    ess page, how many people have they killed? Well, none in the last 10 years! In fact they have rehabilitated some drug addicts. These men were 21 and 23 when they were apprehended, surely they have earned a 2nd chance! Please also remember, a user CHOOSES to use, if they can’t get their fix from one place, rest assured they will get it from another..and yes, I have had a child that used drugs, I don’t blame the supplier, I blame the user.

  11. Michael Taylor

    Ess, surely you see the injustice in locking these men up for 9 years, rehabilitating them, only to drag them out and shoot them. I agree that they did wrong. I agree that if successful in bringing drugs into the country that some users may have suffered. But fortunately they didn’t. Unfortunately they will pay the ultimate price. Nine bloody years later!

    What else appals me is that our politicians are falling over themselves to grab some political mileage out of this. Where have they been the last 9 years?

  12. Lyle Upson.

    if our recreational drug supply were to be formally regulated by way of the bottlo for cannabis and the chemist for the remainder, there would be no need for the black market to bring drugs across the border

  13. Damo451

    ess page ,dont expect to hear the other side of the argument ,about what devastation and harm the drugs cause in society.
    This stupid article smacks of Bush’s axis of evil rubbish.
    I believe in the death penalty ,but by the same token ,i have seen the photos of both men on the plane with the police Chief and feel extremely sad for them ,they look so helpless and scared.
    However ,i know a thing or 2 about the drug they were trying to smuggle in to the country and the devastation it causes ,and feel a lot of anger towards the scum that deal in it.
    One thing i have found to be common on the forums is the idiotic comment that the death penalty is not a deterrent.
    I have no doubt ,that there have been many people who decided not to smuggle this deadly drug BECAUSE of the death penalty.
    This pretty much guarantees that although the trade continues ,it would surely be much worse if the death penalty were not in place.
    This DOES make it a deterrent.

  14. olive

    Fantastic article and like some of the comments I too ask , why all this last minute rush to access the courts and plead…why now and not months, years back ?..these men were reformed several years back ..why no diplomatic approaches to the then President ? Why did our diplomatic staff in Indonesia not alert us to the fact that the election of a new President of the current ilk would mean draconian arbitrary capital punishment and why did our diplomatic advisors not urge us to seek clemency from previous more conciliatory presidents….why have we been so slack ? What do we pay these diplomats their huge salaries for ? Where was Bob Carr in all of this . ?
    And finally why on earth are we letting these poor men die such a cruel and painful death ? Surely as all seems to be lost some compassionate soul could have slipped them some Nembutal for use at this time giving them a chance to take their own lives in a way that is of their choosing and does not involve the heinous and appalling splintering of their bodies . And perish the thought that some of the crack troops who have been part of this obscene pantomime of removing the men to the island where they are to be filled with bullets, or some of the very firing squad , have not been trained by the Australian Army or the SAS. DO we know this ? What reassurance can our government give us that this will not be the
    case . No wonder the soldiers are wearing black face masks . Well they might .

  15. Barry

    Well said, Olive

  16. mark delmege

    11 men(?) face the firing squad not just 2 and I have no idea who they are or where they are from. Under the circumstances I can’t see the Indonesians releasing two and shoot only 9 that day.

  17. Matters Not

    Seems to me that some Australians, notably politicians on all sides, miss the big picture and at so many levels. And in so doing diminish us all

    While one could canvass whether these two (once were idiots or really devious bastards, intent on advantaging themselves big time) should or shouldn’t be spared, surely we should have the ‘wit’ and ‘wisdom’ to argue from a higher ‘principle’.

    When these two Australians are most probably going to be blown apart by people with high powered guns at close range, they will not be alone. At least seven others will suffer the same fate, this time around. They will be members of a long list. Sad but true.

    Does anyone know their names? If not then why not? Why should only the two Australians be the subject of protest while the others will clearly suffer the same fate?

    The point I am trying to make is that Australia should have (and continue) to advance ‘principles’ rather than plead ‘special cases’.

    All we have done in this sorry episode is to’ lecture’ and ‘threaten’.

  18. Lyle Upson.

    the key principle is to address the prohibition stain on humanity

  19. eli nes

    whew??? I wish was chair of the estimates committee.
    mr the female servants were to be beheaded in Saudi-as is usual from, the asbestos princess, disingenuous claptrap.

  20. Chris McKervey

    These two are guilty and only feel sorry for themselves and how many times have they successfully brought drugs into Australia and how many people have been hurt by this ?? I don’t feel sorry for them at ALL.
    I will be happy when all this is over and we can get on with our lives.

  21. Andrea

    So very well said, where is the humanity have we lost it, I don’t care for or respect the crime but at the end of the day nobody has the right to take anothers life. full stop

  22. Annie B

    Damian Smith has written very well, a confronting, and quite shocking article … He has also devoted 5+ paragraphs to what he calls ” A menagerie of hypocrites and ghouls ” … and produces only one side for the argument – that so many are being vile and reprehensible in their comments ( on social media in particular ? ). …
    I would ask is that ALL he has seen ? …. Damien seems to have condemned the majority of Australians in his article.

    I would also suggest that many of the commenters on this situation are in fact agitating trolls – making comment as to why these two men should be put to death, so they can get their evil ( and sick ) satisfaction from the outrage that repliers will give. That kind of trolling goes on all the time – particularly on social media. …. There would be as many, if not more, people in this country ( and around the world ) who would be as horrified as we all are, at this grotesque situation.

    As for the paragraph about three soldiers only will have live ammunition. ( ref : given blanks to fool themselves into thinking …. etc. ). … A former soldier told me just yesterday, that each of those 12 marksmen will know immediately they have fired, whether they had live ammunition or blanks. …. I believe him – he knows what he is talking about. ,,, It has to do with recoil ….. Some wadding is slightly heavier than other wadding in blanks, and may give a slightly more realistic recoil — I suggest Damien does some research on the subject.


  23. Annie B

    Agree with M-R

    There’s a lot more to this gross situation than meets the eye. … The authorities are dragging this out interminably, cruelly. …In any case it is as much, if not more, political than anything else. It also has religious connotations.

    I have the most horrid thought that the President of that country, is smiling, at what he most likely wants to see as ‘grovelling’ by the Australian Government and authorities. It will be dragged out as long as possible … It is political muscle flexing by a country that doesn’t like us much anyway – we don’t ‘fit in’ to their ideals or ideologies.

    The ludicrous showing of police and military to move two men from one place to another, was an abomination …. AND political.

    There are allegedly, currently foreign nationals in Indonesia from 18 countries, awaiting the same fate as the two Australians – and the others who are to be shot with them.

  24. Liz Franklin

    I do not approve of the death penalty. I understand that the Court appeals system in Indonesia is lengthy though I do not know when it finished for these men. They knew that they were taking a risk when organising the smuggling activities and manipulated others to carry the goods for them. They have rehabilitated themselves in prison which is worthy.

    This Australian govt has lost the respect of Indonesia which also has a new govt. Australian diplomacy has included bullying, lying and “oops, sorry we have crossed your borders with warships” moments. In addition, there was the recent indelicacy, after having been generous donors after the tsunami as individual citizens and as a nation, our PM blunders forth with the statement that our aid is conditional. Indirectly they have closed down channels of goodwill which could have assisted these men.

    The convicted were tried and convicted according to Indonesian law. I do not know if the jingoistic expressions of military strength are a demonstration to the Australian govt to stop interfering, a signal to other would be drug smugglers not to run their evil trade to or from Indonesia, or a display of strength to show their own people that the govt will use the law when necessary.

    Australia is one of a few countries which does not have a death penalty. Many, including the USA, still do. We can only over time perhaps persuade others to change their methods of punishment. We are but a few generations forward from murdering our native populations for their land, and our current offshore detention centre policy is hardly an example of enlightenment and care. Our hypocrisy is there for the world to view. What other methods are there to release these guys, invade and kill a few people perhaps?

  25. John Lord

    Compelling stuff.

  26. BIntimit

    A heart wrenching article that brings into focus the horror which for us safely here in Australia is an abstraction. The hypocrisy is coming from all sides in this, the Indonesians where they lobby for their citizens in other jurisdictions, the press for turning this into a cause celebré, the members of the Australian public who say they deserve the punishment and not least our ruling elite who demonise all & sundry who don’t meet their moral guidelines, happy for asylum seekers to die in their gulags but weep tears & wring their hands over the sad fate of Andrew & Myuran. We are diminished as a people and this is yet another indicator.

  27. Kevin McGonagall

    Are they penitent? Have they truly reformed? I don’t think so. They have only changed to date due to having been caught and imprisoned, otherwise they might be driving BMW M7’s along the road to their mansions, paid for with the proceeds of the most evil drug ever. Their “reformation” has not led to co-operation with the police in naming the organizers and financiers of their drug smuggling operation, has it? No! As for that amazing twaddle about blanks, didn’t you go to school? Never heard about Sir Isaac Newton or his Third Law of Motion? How have the proponents of this amazing “fact” avoided the Nobel prize for overturning Newton? Still, as a former addict I don’t believe they should be shot to death, no, they should be taken to a dirty public toilet block and injected with their own poison until they vomit their guts up on the floor and die in aching misery like some of their victims have.

  28. darrel nay

    reply for Kevin,
    If you are interested in their financiers you could look into fast and furious in America where Eric Holder is implicated in funding Mexican drug cartels or you could look at the reality that opium production in Afghanistan has exploded under the American occupation.

    Prohibition never works

  29. Dr. V. G. Venturini

    Thank you Damian Smith for a moving report. This is my very first attempt at publicly commenting on anything. I do not use social media at all, of any kind. But I am commanded to say something in solidarity with the writer.

    And I leave it to Camus and his reflections on the guillotine. For myself I cannot see any reason to support – let alone justify murdering by The State.


  30. David

    Annie I believe you are 100% correct. This continuous changing of dates for the murder of the two is payback for Abbott. It has nothing to do with problems internally re moving the men, ensuring the facilities are ‘up to standard’ FFS. No its a none too subtle reminder to Abbott not to bully Indonesia, there are ways and means of reprisal.
    Wododo has never had any intention of overturning the death penalty, the huge majority of his countrymen and women are in favour of it. He needs the popularity.
    I deplore the death penalty, n matter what the country. Life imprisonment with no parole should be the punishment.

  31. Ricardo29

    Apart from the inconsistencies around the number to be shot, the bullets vs blanks, I found this a compelling article and agree with those who say it should open up the debate about prohibition and control of the supply of drugs. We know prohibition doesn’t work we know the follow-on evils that flow from illegal drug use, crime, sickness, squalor etc. for years people have been urging state control to take the profits out of the hands of criminals. Successive gutless governments at all levels are responsible for the evil that is the drug trade. And still we spend billions on the war on drugs. Imagine if ice ( or heroin/cocaine/ecstasy) was being prepared in clean controlled environments and sold legally over the counter by chemists, that there was no penalty for declaring yourself drug dependent and that as well as the availability of the drugs there was access to rehabilitation for those who wanted to get clean. If drugs were no longer illegal there would be no incentive for criminals to produce/import/ deal. Sure they would find other sources of funds, but taking drugs out of their mix would have to make things better at many levels for drug addicts.

  32. Andreas Bimba

    I and everyone I have spoken to regarding the pending execution of Andrew and Myuran strongly feel that the Indonesian government has mishandled this issue and should now do the just thing and not proceed with their execution. All of us know the biggest drug criminals avoid justice in almost every country and that they use their wealth to create a mask of respectibility. If these executions proceed it will unfortunately create a great deal of ill will towards the Indonesian government which helps nobody.

  33. Möbius Ecko

    I am totally against the death sentence and thus the execution of these two, but in articles articles I’ve read, like this one, there’s a tendency to play down their role as that of just being drug smugglers when they were the facilitators of drug smuggling, which is why they are being executed and the others are not.

    What they did was recruit as many smugglers as they could full well knowing a percentage of those recruited would be caught thus suffering whatever the penalties for the country in which they were caught. The reasoning was that if one or more got through whilst others didn’t then it was a successful operation. Chan and Sukumaran were facilitators leading people into situations knowing full well they could be put to death or spend long prison sentences in terrible conditions whilst they had very little chance of being caught themselves. In this case though AFP intelligence pinned their role in the drug smuggling and they informed the Indonesian authorities thus sealing their fate. The moral actions of the AFP is another debate.

  34. mark delmege

    After all that has been written and promoted in the media it should be obvious that this is another instance of social control. A propaganda exercise. Led and Fed. Led at the highest levels by hypocrites and we are being fed a daily dose of propaganda. It serves a number of purposes. It’s like the terra terra terra crap of the other week and no more or less sophisticated. I will elaborate later.

  35. Kristy Forbes

    Thank you. You speak for me too.

  36. Lorena and Chris Hunter

    If only Tony Abbott could have the same outrage over Reza Barati, whose murderers go free. If only Tony Abbott could have the same outrage over the children in detention, sexually abused children, instead of turning his attack on Gillian Triggs. I do not agree with State sanctioned killing, but the hypocrisy that surrounds this tragedy is shattering.

  37. Kerri

    Te greatest hypocrisy of the execution of Chan and Sukamyuran is that Widod feels he needs to be tough on drugs to protect Indoensians!
    They were smuggling the drugs to Australia!

  38. Annie B

    Well said – Lorena and Chris Hunter.

  39. lace

    My son can’t do a degree because it costs too much…. So glad my well earned money is going to criminals to pay for their future…. Or not! These men have had too much media… They are criminals… They knew the price the would have to pay… They tell you on the plane or you can even look it up on Google. I’m sick of paying for them, let’s help some deserving people I mean let’s say the Australian homeless, the disabled or maybe the elderly… People who have done nothing wrong but life in an expensive county….

    We’re all only one pay cheque from homelessness…. One accident from being disabled and if your really lucky and get through all that you’ll become old and taxed to death by the Government…. Welcome to reality….

  40. Annie B

    @Mark Delmege … more than interesting comments there – I look forward to more comment from you, as promised. … you so often introduce good debate and diverse aspects.

    – – – – – – –

    In doing a bit of research, I came across two interesting articles – if anyone cares to read them.

    1) …. A long but interesting article.

    2) ….. ( from the U.S. Department of State ). ….

    I am none too keen on the U.S. or its politics, but the 2nd part of the 1st paragraph on this link, made me sit back and think, about the reasoning behind this barbaric practice as it relates to ‘outside’ ( other nationals ) drug dealers being caught in that country. They seek to repatriate their own from death penalties – and if the repatriated are drug smugglers ? … are they too, shot if successfully returned to that country ? …. hmmm.

  41. Annie B

    @ Liz …

    Re : “This Australian govt has lost the respect of Indonesia which also has a new govt.”

    I have to ask how many countries would be troubled by losing the ‘respect’ of Indonesia. ?

    Perhaps it should be somewhat, the other way around – particularly in light of recent events and the blatant tantalising of Australians in particular, and other nations in general. … By this comment I do not in any way, support the way this Australian Government has handled anything with regards to the specifics you outlined. …. The main spokesperson ( Abbott ) … and NOT the Australian people in general, has been the one with foot in mouth disease ( again !! ).

    Just sayin’ ….

  42. Annie B

    @ Liz … ( and I am NOT having a go at you, this is simply FYI, if you want )

    Re : “Australia is one of a few countries which does not have a death penalty.” ………

    Currently there are 193 countries in the world in membership of the United Nations. ( there are a few more, approx. 20 ?, who do not come under the U.N. banner. It can be a complicated analysis, observer countries etc. )

    Of those, 19% maintain the death penalty in both law and practice. … In that 19%, 9 countries maintain the law, but have not used it in 10 years or more, have established the practice of NOT carrying out executions, or the law is under moratorium. …

    In numbers, that reduces the countries actively using the death penalty, from 35 to 26.

    The delightful mobs that carry and use, the death penalty are as follows –

    Afghanistan ………. Bangladesh
    Belarus ………… Botswana
    China ………. Egypt
    India ……… Indonesia
    Iran ………. Iraq
    Japan …….. Jordan
    North Korea ……… Lebanon
    Malaysia …… Pakistan
    Saudi Arabia …… Singapore
    Somalia ……….. Syria
    Taiwan …… Thailand
    United Arab Emirates …. United States
    Vietnam …..Yemen

    So, many more than a few countries do not have the death penalty. And we are thankfully, one of them. …. Unlike our main ally – the U.S. ( 32 of the 50 states maintain the death penalty ).

    ” The United States carries out more executions than any other liberal democracy.” (Wikipedia and other sources ) …

    China carries out the most, but they are NOT a liberal democracy.

  43. Awabakal

    Has it come to anyone’s attention that Sukumaran called his business, in gaol, Kingpin Clothing, as in KINGPIN of the drug smuggling.

    Who is having the laugh here? As well as having a business in gaol after the failed attempt at smuggling some 8kgs of heroin, not lollies, to be released to sons and daughters in Australia.

    Left to spend a life in gaol would be more fitting but that means Indonesia would be looking after our miscreants.

  44. Keitha Granville

    It’s an impossible conundrum,. We cannot argue that these 2 should be freed without arguing for the freedom of all those currently on death row in Indonesia. We cannot say we support their sovereignty and yet we want these men spared from their laws, when we have other nationals in our prisons subject to our laws. We can only continue to argue agaisnt the death penalty per se as a form of punishment. It is not a deterrent, for anything. If it were there would by now be no-one on death row in the USA. And yet there are. I would have thought that the prospect of a lifetime – a natural lifetime – in a Balinese prsion would be more of a deterrent for many. And whether or not these 2 have truly reformed is for their consciences – it seems they have been useful to other prisoners, and therefore maybe that is a powerful argument too. I do not have any family members directly affected by drug use, but I can understand the viscious comments of those who have and who want them executed because of the misery they could have caused. But what does that say of us ? What kind of humans are we ? An eye for an eye ? We don’t have that kind of justice here, it would not be tolerated.
    We are a hypocritical mob, we too often forget to apply the rules to ourselves and our families. How about we start with the tenets of basic humanity to all other humans. Keep on pressing the NO death penalty line with any other jurisdiction – only then can we be seen to have values that matter over and above any sovereignty.
    Do unto others – I think someone quite powerful once said that. It’s a good rule to live by.
    (for the record I am not religious, and I do not believe in a death penalty for anything. Severe sentences and appropriate punishment for all)

  45. patriciawa

    John Lord thinks this is “Compelling stuff!”

    Afraid not! Not for me! At least not as long as it is promoted as ‘this story’ over and over by journalists and program presenters in print, on air and TV.

    I’d happily campaign against the death penalty again, if need be; but not because of all this hype and juicy suspense with accompanying background music that we’re getting around these last days, hours and seemingly minutes of these men’s lives we are being ‘entertained’ with here. Much as I sympathize with them and with their families, particularly with their parents, I hate to see their surely genuine grief being milked for all its worth to achieve top ratings as a news headliner.

    If anything, it seems to me to trivialize the value of human life. Surely many young people watching this will be wondering what all the fuss is about. It’s just another crime story on Channel Nine or the ABC! Hard for them to differentiate, surely?

  46. jenny tibbitts

    I was onboard until the request for donation at the end. I don’t think these two should die for their crimes (and they ARE criminals). However, it’s really easy to be repentant when you’re already behind bars. If they had not been caught, would they be so contrite or remorseful? I think not.

  47. Michael Taylor

    Jenny, the donate button appears below all our articles. It certainly doesnt have anything to do with this particular article.

    It’s to help us meet our running costs. Nothing else.

  48. Annie B

    @patriciawa ….

    I had so much wanted to vent on the ‘bleeds & leads’ opportunism of the mainstream media, but had said more than enough on this post, already.

    You have put forward the case far more succinctly than I could – your comments :

    …… ” juicy suspense with accompanying background music” ….

    …… ” these men’s lives we are being ‘entertained’ with here.” …

    …… ” their surely genuine grief being milked for all its worth to achieve top ratings as a …….. news headliner.”

    …….” seems to me to trivialize the value of human life.”

    Very well said and well constructed post . …

    The MSM should be ashamed of themselves, although I notice they have backed right off today ( Friday 6 March ) from this story. … God forbid they have ‘direct crosses’ to the hour / day that the inevitable happens. I would not however, hold my breath on that.

  49. Becca

    To the people saying they deserve it? Who are you to judge? Have you never made a mistake? Taken drugs? You make bad decisions when you are young. You all deserve to be put to death for them!!! SMH

    It’s actually shameful that there are still so many ignorant people in the world.

  50. Miles

    errr made mistakes? trying to smuggle nearly 9kg is more than a mistake ……they knew about the death penalty but felt the money out weighed the risk. I wouldn’t try smuggle drugs into indonesia for any amount of money because i don’t want to die!!! You are all sucked into the media. What about all the other people who have been executed??? you don’t care about them can you even name them??? If the media never ran a story on them sucking you all into how they have turned their life around you wouldn’t give a shit. If you want to commit a crime as big as that don’t cry when you have to face the punishment.

  51. Caz

    Let us remember … they were trying to smuggle the drugs OUT of Indonesia to Australia. Why didn’t our police wait until they arrived here? Where in Indonesia did they get the drugs? I do not condone their behaviour for one minute, but I do believe their death would be a loss to society

  52. Barry

    @Miles. People’s brains don’t fully form until they are 22-25. Young people do stupid things, they should have a chance to reform

  53. Alex

    A beautifully written piece. The AFP has a lot to answer for…..

  54. Kiah Bourne

    I completely agree. This is an abomination . Boycott Indonesia and their corrupt unjust backward legal system.I am so sick if hearing all the hard liners blurb. They would be the first to cry for clemency in front of the firing squad . We all deserve forgiveness.

  55. jan

    Did the crime .thought they could make money.Pay the sympathy at all

  56. mark delmege

    I was going to write about the politics of emotionalism and its power in propaganda. The never ending pumped up stories for emotional titillation, mock anger or rage. The never ending sideshow of fake news fake events and fake emotions. So easy to conjure up in the public sphere. Another diversion in which to appear good and to point and name and shame enemies. Its so easy.

    The diversion of the public gaze from more important matters of state. Lets not dwell on our failures or even those unfolding around us. We must move on together never looking back. We must move together to find new enemies.

    John Rappoport has a few things to say about the parallel universe. He can be a little hard to follow until you let go of your petty allegiances but he makes a lot of sense. Anyway he does it better than I can on this Saturday morning.

    More fun is the French comedian Dieudonné . Always ready with an ‘up yours’ sneering at the establishment for their crimes. No wonder they hate him so. I’m sure First Dog on the Moon would get a similar reaction.

  57. reality

    comments like Jan above –
    “Did the crime .thought they could make money.Pay the sympathy at all”

    – such a simple black and white view. the real crime here is that drugs are criminalised in the first place. – your sympathy, or lack of it, is of no consequence, other than to highlight your willful ignorance and metal sluggishness in eager acceptance of retarded policies.

    The people that profit most out of supplying drugs, are nothing like the ones on death row in indonesia..

    heres $0.50 cents – go rent a clue.

  58. Kylie

    do the crime do the time these people knew that the death penalty was in that country for trafficking, but they still did it, there are consequences for your own actions. I wish Australia would bring it in there wouldn’t be so many drugs out on the streets killing people every day, the nurses in the hospitals wouldn’t be getting threatened, abused every day from them overdosing, there wouldn’t be so many young kids doing it as they wouldn’t be game. there would be safer streets

  59. Tammy

    I resent your statement ” And yet I see in the mainstream media, social media, the comments sections of each, a chorus of everyday Australians who seem to delight in what is happening to Chan and Sukumaran.” I would argue that Chan and Sukumaran have endeared themselves into Aussie hearts and the majority of them want their lives to be spared.

  60. darrel nay

    Reply for Kylie’
    Fairly heartless comments.
    Are you aware that thousands more people are dying from prescription drugs than are dying from illicit drugs? These prescription drugs are also contributing to the situation nurses and teachers and society in general deal with.

    I agree with the abovementioned sentiments of Reality.


  61. Annie B

    @ mark delmege ..

    Thank you ( I think ) for the links. …. your comments were interesting.

    The first link was compelling and gives much food for thought.

    The second link – I am in THREE minds about that ? …. I am amazed that he is still broadcasting … so ‘in ya face’ are his comments. thank heaven for English subs. Not sure about him – at all !!

    An interesting way to spend a half hour or so, all told.

  62. emily

    We act out the death penalty every day in Australia. Its called legalised abortion
    And they are not even drug traffickers. Just innocents. How hypocritical are we?

  63. Annie B

    Kaz ( 10.47 am ) said :

    ” Let us remember … they were trying to smuggle the drugs OUT of Indonesia to Australia.”

    Perhaps we should all reflect for a moment, on just what that might mean. I am not going to specifically point fingers, but in that statement of fact, lies a great deal behind this horrid situation the two Australians find themselves in – NOW.

    Putting it this way ” hands off our drugs industry ” ???

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    Sure they did the crime, and should do the time – but ‘alleged’ death ? ( and I mean alleged – it all seems a political game to those who want to subjugate their neighbour – Australia, at this time ). …. Days drag on, and – according to one TV report Chan and Sumurukan ” are well, and settled into their new quarters ” ( not verbatim ) …. WTF ?

    Then we have this quote from our non-esteemed leader :

    “Whatever might happen in the next few days,
    the relationship with Indonesia must endure and
    over time it must grow stronger.” ,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,. Prime Minister Tony Abbott

    Not suggesting we go to the brink of war with them – but I think the PM should make up his mind, one way or another. .

    Ooooops — forgot – – – – he is incapable of that.

    I hate to say this, but I think our Prime Monster is revelling in all of this – handing over the hard negotiations to Julie Bishop to deliver … and once again hiding behind a womans’ skirt. …And he – delivering harsh admonishment to that country one day, and cow-towing to them the next.

    Yeah – so what’s new !!!

  64. mel

    What an inhumane and vicious act for these 2 men. What the f#ck is wrong with the people in control of this?? Wankers!!!!

  65. mark delmege

    Cheers Annie. The truth is always such a surprise and so rare. For example saying they (The West) shot a minor Russian opposition politician is so much cleverer than blaming Putin. It is even more likely but have you heard anyone in ‘polite’ society say so? And yes Jacques
    That’s the spirit.
    Getting on a high horse criticising a near neighbour in choreographed displays of emotion is also easy. Its a side show, a circus. Run loud run it often. Never mind Hamid Khazae or Reza Berati on Manus the chem weapons use by our ally, the shelling of civilians by Abbott’s new friend and whose friends include nazi’s and who killed aussies by bringing down a plane. Or our willingness to allow the increased production of smack to be diverted to our enemies via Afghanistan. Forget the destruction of whole countries. No none of that. No outrage here. Look the other way – look over there a … bear. Keep it simple.

  66. Annie B

    Yes Mark …. polititians find it so very easy to forget. …. They train themselves to be that way.

    The ‘remember’ portion of their collective brains ( ? ) simply don’t work. … they move on to the next uproar or contrived uproar, in order to keep themselves in front of the public … who either continue to ‘ maintain the rage ‘ or simply give in and accept it all. … I am quite terrified there will be seen to be more of the latter.

    The horror that is this government, seriously is beginning to make me sick to my stomach, and I occasionally have to back right away from it – for my own health’ sake.

    The only hope there is, is that – given history – Governments, especially those in continual contention, do not last long – so perhaps that’s something we can hang on to for another 18 months ( or hopefully, much less ). .

    I grieve for my grand-children …. but perhaps they will have more nous than we give them credit for. I sure as hell hope so.

    Cheers to you too ….. AB.

  67. judy Fogarty

    Why dont we ban smoking and drinking – they are both slowly killing of thousands of people – just another drug. People always want what they are not allowed or what is prohibited – I still believe if we legalised drugs there would not be a problem as is today.

    Do you all realise the Bali 9 were picked up in Aust by the federal Police and sent back to Indonesia – what a disgrace – knowing what the law is in that country.

    They were young kids really and if not caught sure they could have gone on to bigger things but not so – they were caught and have tried hard to turn their lives around and have I believe.The bible says an eye for an eye – the whole world would be blind at that rate.

    How would you feel if they were your children – think of the families too.

    The fact that the magistrates asked for bribes is outrageous and because it was not forthcoming, handed down the death swntence – they are murderers too – why not shoot them as well!!

  68. Adil A

    Would you still feel the same empathy for the heroin smugglers still on the loose? How much money do they make at the expense of who? Who got murdered for a hit? Why doesn’t everybody smuggle in heroine then? Why are some of us willing to have jobs and earn lower pay but sleep with a clear conscience. Every action has an opposite and equal reaction. Sad maybe, but you can’t have the best of both worlds.

  69. Don

    Where have all the supporters of these “two young men on an ill-fated adventure ” (READ – standover men and international drug traffickers) been for the last nine years …? SILENT. Have any of the bleeding hearts fought for the lives of the other condemned prisoners … or the Bali bombers? I doubt it. Without giving my view on their fate, I see a great deal of hypocrisy here and a hell of a lot of sugar coating…

  70. Lee

    I don’t believe in the death penalty but I have no sympathy for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. This wasn’t the first time they smuggled heroin. They also knew the penalty if they got caught. They had no respect for the lives of anyone who died using what they were smuggling, and they obviously didn’t care about their own lives either.

    Some say they have been rehabilitated. How do you know this? When someone is facing the death penalty and there is a glimmer of hope it may be commuted to a lesser sentence for good behaviour, then it would not be unusual for that person to become a model citizen in prison. It doesn’t guarantee a model citizen outside of prison.

    As for those who say that more people die using prescription drugs than illicit drugs, provide some data to back your statement. Let’s see not only the total number of deaths from a reputable source, but also the total number of users. Far more people are using prescription drugs than illicit drugs. Using prescription drugs isn’t usually associated with ruining the lives of ones loved ones either. But even when users of illicit drugs survive, their habit frequently destroys jobs, relationships and lives.

  71. Katie

    I think some people are missing the point here. No-one is saying the these men don’t deserve to be punished and that they shouldn’t be in prison. They should be, BUT they don’t deserve to be murdered. They have done the crime and deserve the time, BUT they deserve a 2nd chance later on in life, when their prison terms are served. I believe in rehabilitation, where possible, and these men have proved themselves worthy of a 2nd chance at life. Empathy seems to be severely lacking in our community these days. So sad.

  72. Drew

    Well written article. I like that you took time to describe in details the execution process. To continue this theme: Next post could you please post a detailed, graphic account of how little kids in Afghanistan are killed via a Hellfire missiles fired from US controlled drones? I don’t believe we hear enough about those incidents. The victims in that case are totally dehumanised and we don’t hear about them burning and choking to death, nor having their limbs blasted apart because they may have been walking past a suspected terror house when some anonymous operator on the other side of the world decided to unleash hell upon them. All done with the silent complicity of our government and the Australian public in general…

  73. Annie B

    @Drew ….

    I would respectfully ask that you do NOT lump the ‘ Australian people in general ‘ in with the decisions that a rabid Government like we have, make. …

    While they do, unfortunately, represent us – because we voted them in ( a BIG mistake which I think most are now seeing as just that ) … WE do not sit in Parliament and pass laws that allow us to intervene in overseas situations. As for silent complicity – perhaps ‘ secretive complicity and negotiations ‘ would be also be a good description. … We, the Australian people are NOT involved in that.

    We do not do that – the Government does, and they are so very much estranged from mainstream Australia now, that we cannot possibly be seen to be in the same category. ….

    Australians also are suffering badly from that mistake made in September 2013. ……

  74. Annie B

    The detail of execution was included for high shock value only – and to make the article more controversial than it already is. …. Besides which, I believe his take on a person being shot through the heart, was not in fact correct – not by a long way. High velocity, large calibre rifles ( from research, used by firing squads ), will cause such massive and explosive injury to the heart, that the person dies instantly.

    Wounds inflicted by high velocity firearms are vastly different to those inflicted by a hand gun or even .22’s. ( I cannot say at all, what velocity or calibre the Indonesians would use ?? ). However, I would suggest Damian Smith research this a little more thoroughly as well.


    We don’t hear about the horrific deaths of children, ( because of indiscriminate firing from drones ), because a blanket to that type of information is put onto the general media, particularly in the U.S. …. In fact we show a great deal more ‘carnage’ on our TV screens, than they will ever get over there – no matter what the situation ( road accident, riots, war ).

    I am totally opposed to the death penalty – anywhere, for any reason. If someone does the crime, they should do the time – to that there’s no question. But a death penalty is no answer. It’s possible that some crims., in some countries who have the death penalty and use it, commit the most heinous of crimes in order to hopefully face exactly what they face … death. …. rather than ‘death by cop’ … they choose ‘death by law ‘. …. And many would consider themselves heroes in doing so.

    To take away their liberty, their productive years, and to a more extent than happens now, the ‘ normal ‘ pleasures and activities we all enjoy such as computer access, high quality gymnasiums etc., would and should be more of a deterrent to them committing crimes in the first place. …. The judicial system needs to lift dramatically, the sentences imposed. …. At present, in many cases, they amount to a slap on the wrist. Hardly a deterrent ?

  75. Annie B

    Ref : Substance abuse – illicit drugs / prescription drugs.

    While there is not a specific number – e.g. xxx number of people die from illicit drugs vs. xxx number of people die from prescription drug abuse …. the above link does give some interesting % facts about the rise and fall of abuse of a variety of drugs – of both kinds. ….

    Alcohol shows here – ( and on another site on a graph which I don’t know how to insert here ) ….. as the absolutely worst of the worst ‘ addictions ‘ or ‘over-use’. …. I would not have thought of alcohol as being a drug as such – ( although I guess it is, as it can alter brain function, mess with the liver, impair function and decision making etc. ) … but it sure is shown to be the most harmful to the users/abusers and to other people who deal with the alcohol abuser.

    This post is for information only – to anyone interested.

  76. James

    I concur with the writer. I would only add that the president of Indonesia, clearly looking to score points, may indeed need a lot of mercy himself one day.

  77. Lee

    ” I would only add that the president of Indonesia, clearly looking to score points, may indeed need a lot of mercy himself one day.”

    It’s a shame that the Australian government didn’t think too far ahead when they tapped the President’s wife’s phone, or when they showed disrespect for Indonesia’s sovereignty by allowing their naval vessels to continually invade Indonesia’s territory. Indonesia is now showing disrespect for Australia.

  78. Harry Hippy

    Maybe the writer of this article would also like to describe the slower, more horrific and more painful death that drug addicts go through, caused by addiction to drugs supplied by greed driven monsters such as those waiting on death row.

  79. Mark Needham

    “As you sow, So shall you reap”

  80. Terry2

    Have the Australian financiers of this drug deal been arrested ? Have those who supplied the drugs in Indonesia been arrested or is it only the couriers ?

    Why did the AFP brief their Indonesian counterparts and, it seems, encourage the arrest of the couriers before they left Indonesia: why didn’t they ask the Indonesian police to let them through so that the AFP could follow the trail and hopefully catch the ‘big boys’ in Australia ?

    It appears that the actions of the AFP have frustrated the operation which could have seen a major drug cartel in Australia broken up.

    The so called ‘Bali Nine’ are the small fry and it seems that the AFP have gone out of their way to facilitate their arrest whilst ignoring the bigger picture.

    AFP have many questions to answer.

  81. Tony2015

    The only mistake they made was getting caught.

  82. Daphne McKenzie

    Thank you Damien Smith. I have not heard the situation articulated better than you have done here. What is the point of a rehabilitative prison system that destroys its triumphs. I am staggered and sickened by the cold-hearted and short-sighted views of some Australians who believe these repentant, reformed and invaluable ‘new’ lives should be ended, and so cruelly. They too were victims of the hideous drug trade. I don’t accept the argument that these men have been responsible for the deaths of many through drug trafficking. Drug-takers choose to take drugs; they are not forced down their throats. Genuinely reformed criminals like Andrew and Myuran are now much more valuable to society than many of those who have never broken the law but sit back and judge others. I would much rather have Andrew and Myuran as my next-door neighbours than those calling for their death.

  83. Lee

    Things I learned from Daphne:

    Drug takers have a choice but drug mules don’t.
    People who don’t break the law are less valuable than those who do, if they have any value at all.
    Two people who have never been outside of prison since they were arrested 10 years ago are without a doubt genuinely reformed.


  84. Annie B


    Absolutely – the AFP have a lot to answer for over this – but who’s going to look into THEM ? …. Not the Australian Government, that’s for sure.

    Pertinent question too – “Have those who supplied the drugs in Indonesia been arrested or is it only the couriers ?”. ….

    NO country is without its’ baddies / crims …..

    Something stinks to high heaven about all this.

  85. Daphne McKenzie

    Lee (March 9, 2.14pm), if you learned those things from me, I’m sorry, because I didn’t say the first two, and I only stand by the third. Just to clarify: (1) drug mules do have a choice, as do drug takers; (2) reformed criminals who are positively changing others’ lives are, in my view, more valuable to society than ‘many’ – but not all, by a very long way – people who have never broken the law but criticise others; and (3) yes, I do believe Andrew and Myuran are genuinely reformed, as does the Indonesian prison system and all those in Bali who have been involved directly with them.

  86. sandfly

    Things I learned from Lee:

    Exaggerating other people’s opinions to ridicule them just makes you sound nasty.
    I’d rather live next door to Daphne, than Lee.

  87. Lee

    “I’d rather live next door to Daphne, than Lee.”

    Sandfly, if you cannot see that sitting back and saying nothing when people break the law to commit very serious crimes, lest we be passing judgement, then you’re not the kind of person I want living next door to me.

  88. Confused by the media

    The AFP knew they were carrying drugs, and instead of arresting them in Australia, they tipped off the Indonesians so they would be arrested there. They must have known that eventually face the death penalty. The AFP did this deliberately.
    How could they ask for leniency now?

  89. Lee

    Daphne, do you actually realise that you are passing judgement upon people who don’t break the law? You don’t consider that most of them can make as valuable contributions to their communities as a couple of drug smugglers. Do you really have such a low opinion of so many people? Do you think it is reasonable that we allow everyone to disregard laws and commit very serious crimes while we all turn a blind eye to it?

    Good luck to you if you want to live next door to drug smugglers. You risk home invasions from their associates, who may get the address wrong. You also risk drive by shootings, molotov cocktails thrown in your yard or perhaps your home catching fire from one thrown in the neighbour’s yard. Or perhaps you may see something that you shouldn’t and it puts your life in danger. Even if they are genuinely reformed, do you really think that past associates won’t visit and try to convince them to do it again? I speak from personal experience when I say that unintentionally seeing a drug deal I wasn’t meant to see, knowing that those involved in the deal saw me too and it took place very close to my home made me feel very frightened for my safety for several months. It’s quite disturbing that you think no one should be passing judgement upon or criticising drug smugglers. Innocent people get dragged into their mess and hurt when it wasn’t their choice to do so.

    Also bear in mind that Andrew and Myuran have some pretty strong incentive to behave themselves in prison. Even when they knew the penalty for drug smuggling, the promised reward – money – was a much stronger incentive than the threat of a death sentence, what their families and loved ones would go through if they got caught, and the potential death sentence if any of their recruits got caught. The wellbeing of other people just wasn’t on their radar. How can you be so sure they won’t put money ahead of everyone else again? Prisons don’t tend to rehabilitate most people. The problem with punishment is that the rate of recidivism is high. Two of my friends, who are former prison guards and have never met each other, have often said that all prison does is teach people how to be better criminals because they have plenty of time to network with other criminals and learn how to do it better next time.

  90. Matters Not

    What is the point of a rehabilitative prison system that destroys its triumphs

    Can anyone provide me with a link that suggests the Indonesian justice system is more about ‘rehabilitation’ rather then ‘retribution’?

    (In my experience, ‘rehabilitation’ in Asian region (generalisation) comes in the form of a ‘caning’. Anecdote – once met a delegation from Malaysia who questioned as to why we in Queensland abandoned ‘corporal’ punishment for bad behaviour. The explanation that it was the same kids who kept reoffending was greeted with laughter.

    Their explanation of our ‘problem’ and the solution to same was along the lines that we didn’t hit them hard enough. I was assured that a couple of strokes with the rattan was almost an absolute guarantee that kids/adolescents didn’t reoffend.)

    While Australians may have a preference for a rehabilitative system, that ‘value’ is far from being universally shared. Take the United States as an example of where the emphasis is on the retributive motivation. Strangely, the U.S. has more retributive criminal justice than other economically and politically advanced societies primarily because it is more democratic. That is, it’s what the punters want that becomes the motive force rather than what ‘principle’ suggests might be more ‘rational’ in the longer term.

    Why system is better in an absolute sense?

  91. Lee

    ” Anecdote – once met a delegation from Malaysia who questioned as to why we in Queensland abandoned ‘corporal’ punishment for bad behaviour. The explanation that it was the same kids who kept reoffending was greeted with laughter.”

    In some ways that doesn’t surprise me. They have tons of evidence that the death penalty is not a deterrent for drug smugglers. When do they think they are going to get a different result? Criminals never think they can get caught.

    I’m not convinced that Australia has a rehabilitative system either when about 60% of prisoners have done time before.

  92. Matters Not

    Lee I think you missed my point.

    As I understand it, a few strokes of even the ‘light’ rattan delivered by a Malaysian professional really makes a ‘student’ sit up and take notice.

    (Not that ‘sitting up’ after a few strokes is a likely option by the way.)

  93. Lee

    I don’t think I missed the point. I’ve studied psychology and read a lot of papers on punishment. The Malaysians’ beliefs are not consistent with the science, nor are they consistent with RL observations. In my younger years at school, caning was used as punishment. I’ve seen the same students caned many times until they were crying and unable to sit without pain. The next day they were back to doing the same things that got them caned the day before.

  94. Matters Not

    Lee, I’m not in favour of corporal punishment in any shape or form. And while my studies in psychology were limited to my undergraduate years (thankfully by choice), I am always open to different ‘views of reality’ (in spite of psychology).

    No doubt you have seen the same students caned many times ‘until they were crying and unable to sit without pain’ and ‘they were back doing the same things that got them caned the day before’ as I did.

    But the point still stands that the Malaysian ‘educators’ were of the view that the pain we administered then was insufficient to cause a lasting change of behaviour. They believed and argued otherwise at that time.

    I have never been hit with a rattan. As a student, I was caned on the hands and the buttocks but never stroked with a rattan which apparently is an experience never to be repeated out of choice

  95. Lee

    “But the point still stands that the Malaysian ‘educators’ were of the view that the pain we administered was insufficient to cause a lasting change of behaviour. They believed and argued otherwise.”

    A few years ago i read something from Amnesty International from memory, which said that use of the rattan in Malaysia was increasing. It has been used there for many years. If it is so effective, why is it on the increase? It does not deter bad behaviour in children and it does not deter crime in adults either. The person using it undergoes specific training to be able to inflict maximum pain.

  96. Annie B

    “If it is so effective, why is it on the increase? It does not deter bad behaviour in children and it does not deter crime in adults either. The person using it undergoes specific training to be able to inflict maximum pain.”

    Perhaps that’s the way they LIKE to do it in Malaysia. ….. Get some weird, sadistic satisfaction out of inflicting maximum pain. ??

    It’s possible – many of the Asian Pacific countries are not exactly renowned for their gentle caring ways ???

    They are a very very different mob, to us.

  97. Annie B

    @ sandfly – – – ( March 9, 2015 at 7:16 pm )

    Have to say I very much agree.

  98. Terry2

    I don’t think that we can learn much from the Malaysian (or Indonesian) justice systems.

    A few years ago i met with a Malaysian lawyer who, when he learned that a respected Australian High Court judge was gay, said that in Malaysia he would be caned and jailed.

  99. Lee

    Thanks for the link, Andreas. I shall look forward to reading more from Johann Hari. Behaviourists have known this for years. If politicians used science instead of religion as a basis for their policies, we would be much better off.

  100. Annie B

    As I have no idea how to insert an image here, I can only copy and paste a URL. …. It is – er – interesting ?? …. the items of main interest, start half way, scrolling down the page.

    Not for one fraction of a second, would I consider good, the use of heroin, cocaine, cannabis, or formaldahyde ( for gosh sakes ), in the concoctions dreamed up in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s – by many charletons, ‘snake oil’ healers, AND by legitimate medical practitioners and “apothecaries”..

    Thing is they were legal … and became illegal after ( particularly ) it was found that heroin was intensely addictive. … now that was medical progress. Other drugs we know are illegal today, followed suit … and so now, we find ourselves in an illegal drug ridden society, by the very virtue of the fact that these substances ARE illegal. …. Young, and older very stupid people ‘try it’ … and find themselves in trouble. ….

    Before anybody shrieks about the images on this link, being ‘photo-shopped’ I believe they are in fact correct imagery of products sold back then. …. I am still here after being given, as a child by my own mother – a product called “Nux Vomica” … which has two deadly poisons in it … they being strychnine, and brucine, ( brucine is a bitter alkaloid, closely associated to the strychnos nux vomica tree, found primarily in South East Asia. ). This product is still available today, ( e.g. over the counter at Chemist Warehouse ) but has strictly controlled and minute proportions in the ‘herbal’ product. … It is still widely used in India and Asia …..

    It is also a very effective rat poison.

    I would like to find someone who could today, procure pure strychnine – for personal use ?????? Wouldn’t happen. …. It is available as a homeopathic remedy, and as a calmative with minute amounts of the poison in the old “Nux Vomica”.

    The point I am making is that while this was on the market and widely used …. in the 40’s and 50’s, it was not far removed from the cocaine, heroin etc. used just prior to those times. It kind of comes under pretty much the same umbrella, especailly back then when quality control was not exactly recognised too much, nor even used correctly . …


    There is NO doubt that the sale and purchase of illegal drugs around the world, causes untold suffering – to the users, the abusers and the families thereof.

    Is the legalising of these drugs therefore, a viable solution ? While I doubt it, I still have to ask the question. It would certainly help stop the trafficking. …. The authorities don’t seem to be able to make much impact on stopping ANY of it. The legal system is useless at prosecuting, so perhaps there is some other way to curtail these evil activities.

    Look at the indiscriminate use of ‘ice’ ( a step up from ‘speed’ ) …. the ease at which it can be obtained, AND cheaply, and the diabolical effects it can have. Rigidly enforced meth. programmes could help stop this spread, and not just be a ‘choice’.

    Just a few thoughts ………

  101. Mimi

    I’m not very articulate. I will try to put into words some thoughts I have on this heartbreaking case/situation.

    1. I have not read all of the comments today, but can respond with my own view on one that I see often ” how many lives would they have killed and how much money they would have made” When I access that statement, I do agree that many lives would have been wasted and many others left devastated by the domino effect it would cause. However, I do not believe by catching the middle men and sentencing them to death with eradicate the drug epidemic within our global society. In fact, I would go so far as to say that drugs will never be abolished from society. I strongly believe in hard education on such matters. Coaching and teaching from a very early age is the key! Children take so much in younger years. It’s showing love and time at home, gaining respect and trust and introducing your child to the ideas gently of the problems drugs cause worldwide. Education. Let them see and hear and believe in the destruction. Don’t shelter them from it. We need to come at an angle which allows them to see the crimes and deaths and violence and manipulation that comes with the making and distributing and try to reach out to our children to have the empathy for all of those people evolved in the distribution of drugs. If there was no market then there’s the answer. I think we need to take a different approach. If your a user then your no better than the supplier because you are creating a business, which often calls for people whom are vulnerable too, to make a profit and enter an underworld that is difficult to remove yourself from.

    2. I have two children, whom I educate on such such matters. They are too young to discuss drugs, ( 2 and 4). However, we talk a lot about the world and doing Te right thing by others and I plan on elaborating on such subjects slightly every year. Children become adults. You can give them as much info at a young age. They can handle it. Teenagers and young adults are harder to reach. Teach them whilst there are reachable and give them your love and time

  102. Bill

    Thank you for putting into words what I wish I was educated well enough to say myself ,all you have said is spot on ,The hypocrisy of people that I have known for over thirty years is stunning me ,of a dozen people I know I am the only one that holds your view ,,, of the hypocrites I know they are all chanting the same mantra “they knew the penalty so they pay the price ” these same “friends” used drugs recreationally and bought and sold them among our circle of friends thirty years ago thru the 80’s and 90’s. What’s happened to these Australians when did they change I didn’t get the memo I never realised they were the racists and bigots that I hear spew their hate on talk back radio .they rant and rave about halal and how great this country is and hold up the Anzacs like a badge of honour although they themselves have had nothing to do with fighting for this country but these loser “friends”changed from easy going bend or break the rules larakins to some kind of hypocrit conformists so pinned under the thumb that they hate everyone that isnt as miserable as them ,these aren’t the Australians I’ve always known ,that is the ones that’ll accept something off the back of a truck or cheat on some taxes or bend and break a few rules ,these people have now become the people we always despised they think dole bludgers are getting rich on a couple of hundred bucks a week and single mothers are making a fortune out of getting assistance and invalid pensioners are fakers and bludgers they hate Medicare and don’t see why university education should be supported ,they have no compassion and all they think of is sport ,like that somehow helps the world in any way ,,what’s happened to Australians ,,now two young men who have clearly rehabilitated in prison for their errors in life are about to be put to death and the majority of shameless hypocrit Aussies are saying so what ,,well fellow. Aussies it says way more about us than it does about them , how sad

  103. Daphne McKenzie

    Bill, all YOU have said is spot on too. Thank you.

  104. Annie B

    Agree with Daphne @ Bill …. your comments are indeed ‘spot on’ ….

    Adding a little more – that might have escaped notice (?) ….

    Seems that some, including commenters on this site ( not just this article ), have overlooked the driving force behind the country to our north – and their most likely, real reason – for drawing out this diabolical saga, inflicting as much pain as possible on the Australian families of the now dead sons / brothers, and the impact on Australian people in general. … And from the looks of it, the jailers and higher echelon have enjoyed every disgusting moment of it.

    It is not just political – it is a statement of religious mores.

    Have we forgotten ? …. that Indonesia is largely Islamic and most probably wish to quantify their radical beliefs, in this drawn out, cruel and slimy way ? …. They are making a statement, on behalf of religious ideologies – in my opinion, there is no doubt about that. ….

    It is a chance to flex their extremist muscles. !! …. And they do not deny it.


    My comment in no way condemns or vilifies, peaceful Muslims. …. Muslims follow Islam from the Qur’an in a peaceful way ( much the same as most Christians do the Bible ) ….. however – – –

    Both the Bible and Qur’an contain good, positive thought – and also extreme cruelty. …. Both were written eons ago … and should have little impact on life today. …. but then ‘faith’ bibs in, via followers, and followers ( both Islamic and Christian ) can choose one of two paths – that of peace and harmony, and the other of disquiet, barbaric ideologies, and extremist pursuits.

    Let’s not forget that – please.

    I was gladdened (?) by the news that they sang “Amazing Grace” in the face of their killers. …. that spoke volumes, and tells that they knew of the defiance that might have the most impact. I wonder which of the verses they sang in the face of their murderers, I hope it was from the 4th onwards ! … These two men were also denied the right of having spiritual advisors, right up until the last moment. … That is morbid and again underscores the immense cruelty these people are capable of inflicting.

    There’s a great deal more to the killing of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, than meets the eye. … They most certainly should have paid for their crimes, but not this way. …. their deaths will do nothing whatsoever to ease the alleged ‘drug problems’ in Indonesia. …. Might be an idea it the Indonesians looked inward to their own country, to find the root cause of all this drug peddling. hmmm. !!

  105. yee leng

    is very very sad to see both are sentence to death, I don’t agree that, I watch with my tears rolling down my eyes,
    I follow up the news everyday till the last moment, is so sad, they both deserved to live, everyone make mistakes
    and they both have changes their life

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