For many months I have been praying...
I went to bed the night before their execution, knowing what was going to happen but still hopeful...still praying for a miracle, not only for Andrew and Myuran, but for the others who would stand with them and face a firing squad. I woke early and turned on the radio and heard the grim news. In the stillness of the early morning, slow, silent tears slipped down my face. Tears that no-one else saw for people I never knew. I felt sick. I felt angry. I felt unforgiving.
Sitting with my cup of tea I thought about the lives of these two men. How, stupid choices when they were young defined the next 10 years of their lives and ultimately their deaths. I thought about how one man sitting somewhere in Indonesia had the power of life and death over Andrew and Myuran. How with a nod of his head he could condemn or save! I wondered at the callousness of a man who could not see beyond "saving face", who dug in his heels and would not see that life can be redeemed.
Sitting...I heard the cries and screams from their families break the morning silence and my heart broke. How did the executioners feel? What kind of people could do this? What sort of justice system allows this killing when their cases were still active in Indonesian courts? So many pointless and useless questions surged through my head.
Yes...what they did was wrong. Yes their crime deserved consequences. But isn't 10 years in an Indonesian prison with the sentence of Death hanging over your head enough of a consequence? I think so.
Their lives over the past 10 years had value. Their lives blessed others and helped to give hope when hope seemed far away. The penalty of death was laid down on an Andrew and a Myuran who no longer existed...they had moved on from those young, thoughtless boys into mature caring adults. The sum of their lives was more that the few foolish years that saw them facing the barrel of the executioners' guns.
The Death Penalty signifies that the sum of one's life is no more than the worst moments of a life. It signifies that there is no hope for a human being beyond their mistakes. It defines a person as having no other possibilities except that for which they were condemned. It offers no Grace. There was no grace for these men.
As I sat on that sad morning I heard that Mary Jane Veloso was saved at the eleventh hour. I thanked God for her life and some semblance of Hope was restored. My anger and sadness remained. My stomach churned as my mind conjured images of bullets and bodies and death.
Life will not be the same. How can it be? There are now mothers and grandmothers grieving for the rest of their lives. Brothers and sisters who now have no brothers. A wife without a husband.
A nation without two of its sons.
Yet...there is this still small voice that tells me there is Hope in this world...that there is Grace and Justice and Mercy...that is it ok for me to be angry and sad...but it is not ok for me to hold onto a vengeful anger in my heart....there is too much of that in our world...
Andrew and Myuran died singing Amazing Grace...the least I can do is live it.
"In the still night air of Nusakambangan island, condemned prisoners sang Amazing Grace just after midnight. They also sang Bless the Lord O My Soul before their song was cut off by the crack of gunfire."