The End of Terror? 

One Man's Web > Politics and Ethics > The End of Terror?

The End of Terror or A New Beginning?

Amrozi has been sentenced to death. Informed observers seem to think the trial has been fair. It is a matter for rejoicing that some justice has been done. A death penalty is not a matter for rejoicing. Refusing a penalty of death is a mark of civility. It says that despite the barbarity of Amrozi's beliefs, and the unspeakable cruelty of his actions, we will not stoop so low. Life is sacred. In the heat of battle if you burst into my home I may kill you so my child survives. But in the measured deliberations of justice when you are powerless and at my mercy in prison I will bring you and your conspirators the message of life and all its sacredness. Perhaps what you have done and may do again is too evil to ever allow your freedom on this earth. But I will not descend to simply winning over you and those like you. I will risk instead seeking to win you over. And if that means I must also change to allow true justice in the situation, then so I will.

When Australians cheered at the guilty verdict and death sentence for Amrozi it was an understandable response for families whom he has caused irreplaceable loss It is OK to respond like that. But now, days later, to still agree to the sentence is to be Amrozi. It is to claim in utter self contradiction that humanity is made greater and better and safer by inhumane acts.

The truly human person in this scenario is magistrate Brian Deegan who said "I do not agree with the death penalty under any circumstances, and especially not in the name of my child." In contrast the Australian government is silent, implicitly supporting more barbarity. There appears to have been some reluctant move on their part to protect David Hicks from the death penalty when he is finally subjected to an American Kangaroo court. One assumes this is because of Howard's sensitivity to domestic sentiment. No such reprieve for Amrozi.

It is situations like this which truly frighten me about Australia. No matter how one approaches the situation of refugees there will. be pain and suffering. The injustice of the American empire that is built into the fabric of our world and fuels, often very understandably, the hatreds of a J.I. or AI Quaeda, is so breathtaking as to be almost impossible to address. But the Prime Minister appears to be making life and death ethical decisions about these things based on the effect at the ballot box- and we let him. A life is a life, whether here or Indonesia, whether Hicks or Habib, citizen or refugee. In today's Australia one might wonder if a life's worth is counted in the votes it will win or lose.


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