Eli, Eli Lema Sabachthani

Screenshot 2015-02-07 20.51.23

(Image: Staples, 2015)

Up until now I reserved this website for more educational based writings but the events of recent times involving two of my fellow countrymen, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran have led me to put my thoughts down in a post.

Both these men are known to nearly every breathing Australian. Known as the “Ringleaders of the Bali 9” and currently smelling the incense of death as they have been sentenced to execution by firing squad. These two men allegedly tried to smuggle eight kilograms of heroin into Indonesia. They were found guilty…accepted.

But through the media we hear of their transformation as human beings and the transforming effects they have had on other human beings especially those sharing the stench of prison surrounds.

Tonight as I read a Tweet posted by a friend, where he sits in prayer, in a vigil organised for them and my hearts cries out “Eli, Eli lema sabachthani” just as Jesus apparently cried out when he was on the cross. This means “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me”.

My God, where are you to show me that these men are worthy of salvation. How much more worthy can a person be? I hear the limp reasons for supporting their execution. That they put other people’s lives at risk. How many of us have never put another person’s life at risk simply by speeding along a freeway; or not regularly checking the rubber on our vehicles’ tyres. No comparison I hear you say, I beg to differ! I was young and stupid once too but disguised as mature, responsible and job holding. Now I see the error of my ways but when I was younger I just smelt the fresh air in the open window and music to singalong with as I drove along the road. Not heroine, correct but still a deadly weapon was my car. How many truck drivers take drugs to keep to a deadline. Yes, workers trying to feed their family but still a deadly weapon when they fall asleep at the wheel of a truck. How many foreman have allowed their construction workers to work in unsafe work environments without harnesses or head gear. Not heroine but still a deadly weapon. And the list goes on. Do we accept execution for these people?

The argument continues that if my “child” died from one of these overdoses would I feel differently about them. My answer is no. My “child” made that decision just as others in my community choose to take alcohol in excess and put their own life and put others’ lives at risk.

I’m not contemplating that these men should be freed and perhaps, maybe through some mystical presence Joko Widodo may inhale this thought. Perhaps these men’s purpose for existence in life was to be caught and be imprisoned so that they could do what others have failed to do. To save; to show compassion and dignity to other inmates; to transform the lives of so many; and to challenge our laws for the rights of the ruah of the human being. Would I have been writing a post about people in a prison if they hadn’t transformed my own life and the answer is quite clearly no. These men, like so many “misfits in a perfect society” have served their fellow man in ways many of us can’t imagine let alone achieve. And I ask, if someone like Jesus came across these men what would he say to them? I have no doubt that they’d be embraced with the most outreached arms and a forgiving heart. The thought of even possibly hearing that they have been executed makes my heart stop. I pray every day as I don’t want to cry out “Eli, Eli lema sabachthani” if that time comes.


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