What a sad, devastating, brutal, heartbreaking week.
If you’ve caught a news bulletin or picked up a newspaper, you’ll know not only about the now-dead Bali Nine pair Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, who were executed in the early hours of Wednesday, but you’ll know about the devastating impact on their families.
Whether you support the Indonesian government’s use of the death penalty or not, it is hard not to feel for the mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters of the eight men shot by a firing squad.
I cannot comprehend the despair of the mothers of not just Chan and Sukumaran, but the mothers of all eight men.
Do you remember Van Tuong Nguyen? He was hanged in Singapore on December 2, 2005, after being caught at Singapore’s Changi Airport with almost 400 grams of heroin strapped to his body. He was in transit and was trying to bring the drugs back into Australia.
I couldn’t even recall his name when I thought back on the incident, but I certainly recalled one fact: It was reported at the time that the Singaporean authorities refused to allow Van’s mother the opportunity to hug her son during their last visit.
It struck me then, as it still does now, as a cruel punishment for the man’s mother.
My heart breaks for these families.
But, of course, it hasn’t been just the Chan and Sukumaran families whose heartache has dominated the news this week.
There is an appalling tragedy unfolding in Nepal after a massive earthquake struck the Himalayan region on Anzac Day.
Already more than 5000 people are believed to be dead and it was reported the toll was expected to exceed 10,000.
Again, thousands of families are devastated and while the case is completely different, the mourning for those who have been lost will be the same.
Of course, the earthquake has not only taken lives, it has caused massive damage to infrastructure in an already poor region.
There isn’t much we can do to alleviate the sadness of the families, but we can at least provide assistance. Our government has already provided $5 million and charity organisations are appealing for donations.
It may not help with the pain of losing loved ones, but at least practical aid will put shelter over people’s heads and food on their plates. – Jody Springett
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