Mercy is not a western value, its a human one

Indonesia’s laws on combating the “moral emergency” of drug use are the stuff of flawed (lost) logic. In useless hindsight, the country would come out of this situation far more respectably if they gave the death row inmates life sentences, leaving the death penalty option unused but still legally active.

But regardless of how the country’s legal framework is constructed, the worst thing about the executions of these 8 inmates will be the effect that it will have on the mindset and the attitude of Indonesian society, particularly on the younger generations.

Many will now think that retribution, and not forgiveness, is the norm for handling one’s mistakes and preventing crimes. They will think that people who make mistakes should be rid of instead of helped or forgiven.

Compassion and mercy are seen as signs of weakness, especially in the diplomatic context, where bowing down to Australia’s, Brazil’s, France’s, Nigeria’s, Ghana’s and the Philippines’ pleas are seen as a sign of a proudly headstrong country bowing down to foreign influences.

But the Indonesian government is made up of human beings, who are supposed to be “weak” in the way that they should be the humblest of creatures, due to their status as the dominating species on Earth, and due to their fragility as creatures.

The human leaders did not teach their people how to be merciful. Instead, they showed how to shun and look away. No amount of tears from the inmates’ families, or from the world will be able to change the outcome. In Indonesia, the suffering of the many outweighs the suffering of the few.

The younger generation is supposed to think more progressively than the old, yet if they are implanted with the same kind of thinking for years to come, nothing will change and we will have the same problems years from now.

These 8 deaths are the result of a stubborn society that is not listened to by an equally stubborn leadership that operates on moral misjudgment and misplaced priorities.

Through the executions, Indonesia did not teach compassion but instead lets seniority, envy, and nepotism breed corrupt thinking into its culture. The country is made worse by a public that chooses to define one another’s character solely by past actions.


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