Well, I am not supposed to be blogging about socio-political issues, so I will keep this post short. The young Australian Nguyen Tuong Van has been in the news recently - he had been sentenced to death for drug trafficking and the government of Singapore has refused to commute the sentence. Now anti-capital punishment groups are getting into action here in Singapore, organising events and so on. Read Omeka Na Huria or Singabloodypore for more details.
I've said it before and I'll say it again - I don't like the death sentence myself. But among these Nguyen Tuong Van supporters, I sense that there is a lack of clarity in thinking. Many of these people haven't really worked out for themselves where they really, really stand. They say that they are absolutely against the death sentence and that Amnesty International says that the death sentence is a violation of human rights etc etc. That's all good and well, but ...
... where were they when Took Leng How was sentenced to death for killing Huang Na, an eight-year-old little girl? How come they didn't organise a solidarity event for Took?
See, if as a matter of principle, you stand against capital punishment all the way, then you can't pick and choose your convicts. You can't say, "Ooh, I hate people who kill children, I shan't support Took. But Nguyen looks like a handsome young man and he has a twin-brother sob story, so I'll support him. Shanmugam Murugesu has two kids and a poor old mother - I'll support him too."
That's nonsense. If you stand against capital punishment - you stand all the way (like Amnesty International does). It shouldn't matter what the crime was, or whether the criminal has a sob story or looks handsome or not - you stand all the way. On the basis that a life is a life. Took's life is a life too.
I'll be very impressed if along with calling on the Singapore government to commute Nguyen Tuong Van's death sentence, those folks in Singapore also call on Took to be spared the death sentence (I'm assuming Took hasn't been hung yet). But somehow I don't see that happening. Do you?