lifestyle

Two lives were wasted today. But they won't be forgotten.

There is sorrow and loss, but above all else, there is waste.

Two grown men are gone.

Not vanished, but taken. Not by stealth, but by meticulous premeditation.

For their families, there are yawning spaces that will never be filled. Endless days must be lived through now, with that gap, that emptiness, that pain. There will be babies never born, birthdays never celebrated, arguments never finished.

For the hundreds of people who actively fought to prevent their deaths, even the for the hundreds of thousands who stood against their state-sanctioned murder, there will be a sense of futile loss. Of failure and despair.

But above all else, there is waste.

Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan are gone.

Vale, Andrew Chan and Myuran Skukumaran 

Before they travelled to the island where they spent their final days, Andrew and Myu lived for 10 years in Kerobakan Prison. It became their home. And both men, despite the serious nature of the crime they committed, decided to make it a better one.

Myuran set up an art school, Andrew, deeply connected to his Christian faith, trained as a pastor. Family and friends came and went. Care packages arrived and were depleted. The rainy season poured, and passed. For 10 whole years.

Sydneysiders stand for mercy at Amnesty’s vigil.

These two men left Kerobokan Prison a better place than the one they entered. They both came to reject the drugs that had brought them to this place. Young Indonesians tell of how their lives were improved by the two Australians, how they fiercely fought the culture of drugs in the prison, how they strived to make it a place of learning, not punishment.

Countless young men returned to their homes and communities enriched by their encounters with these men in the most unlikely place on earth.

“All those people will lose the social order and the safety and the drug-free educational environment that Myruan has built on his own,” says his mentor and friend Ben Quilty of life after Myu. “That will fall apart without him in there…”

All gone. Wasted.

ADVERTISEMENT

There is a newlywed without a husband. Febyanti is without the deeply religious man she stood next to at Besi Prison and pledged herself to on the day before his death. A future – even one lived physically apart – of shared work and faith, wasted.

There is talent. Myuran has been painting, at an almost frenetic rate, since he found his passion some years ago.

“It stops me from feeling that I have completely wasted my life,” he told journalist Mike Willesee two years ago. He was man who managed to earn a degree in Fine Arts from inside one of the world’s toughest jails, whose work now hangs on the walls of the great and good, a man who was sharing his gift so generously.

Wasted.

A Myuran Sukumaran self-portrait.

There was the chance for a strong leader to show compassion. For President Widodo, a leader ushered in on so much promise of energy and vision, to extend good-will to nations other than his own, to listen to their pleas for justice and mercy, just as he makes his for his own countrymen.

That chance is wasted.

And above all that, is the waste of two mothers’ grief. So many tears shed in futile fury. Fury at their sons, for making such reckless, ignorant choices. Fury at a system that seems to favour justice for those who can pay. Fury at an unrelenting regime to press ahead despite, despite… sense.

All those tears, and all those tortured nights, wasted.

All that love, wasted.

Wasted, but not forgotten. Andrew and Myu, a nation mourns you today.

We know who you are now. Who you were and who you became.

Your story will become a cautionary tale, but it will become something else. An example of change, of redemption.

And it will become a whole generation’s reason to rail against the barbaric act of state-sanctioned murder.

Because your lives came to mean so much to many. And the loss of them will leave a scar that stretches beyond those who know you.

Lives wasted.  But not forgotten.

Andrew Chan.
Myuran Sukumaran.

If you want to read more about the Bali Nine duo, follow these links.

Myuran Sukumaran has painted a moving tribute to the Indonesian President.

Who is Andrew Chan’s wife?

The TV moment that left us all in disbelief last night.

This is what the world could lose in 72 hours.

A heroin overdose killed by brother. But I stand for Mercy.’

Australian celebrities plead: “Save our boys, Mr Abbott.”

The self-portrait that says more than a thousand words about how it feels to face death.

“My life is an absolute waste”: A letter from Andrew Chan.

 

 

00:00 / ???