If you live in Australia, you would have heard that Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan—twenty-something Australians convicted of trying to smuggle heroin into Indonesia 10 years ago—were executed this morning. By firing squad, after that long in prison. They were my age.
After months of dread, every time I watched the news—the way I found out about it was:
Corner store, 6:58 am. A placid owner asked a late-to-work, wild-haired tradie ‘How are you today?’
And the tradie said:
‘Mate, I’ve lost some of my faith in humanity.’
‘I wish they remembered what it was like to be young and stupid.’
‘And they had to wait ten years. Ten years. That’s what gets me.’
(You have a great day.)
I once went to a course—the best I’ve ever done—about public health law, which was run by the man who had (literally) written the textbook about it. More than a type of law, he made it sound like a whole new outlook on things—a language. That told us lots of very important things.
Such as drug laws.
At the moment, Australia’s drug laws are all about moral condemnation. A public health approach would make it all about … well, being. Or wellbeing. Either way, approached as a health problem that affected populations, not people (about whom we can make judgements.)
Out of a horrific event that bring tears to my eyes, maybe there are two things that restore faith in humanity:
- People: From drug smuggler to artist to inspiration to other humans. To the people that did not know them, but empathised and felt sad and realised that people can change or grow.
- Policy change: Do you think this could trigger a policy shift in Australia—from drugs as a moral problem to drugs as a public health problem?
Rehabilitation, not revenge.
I don’t know, but I hope so. What do you reckon?