10 Nov 2005

The Right of Reply

I noticed that from the new postings about the death penalty mentioned the "problem" of arguing for Nguyen and not arguing for others. Somehow my name got mentioned.

I don't know whether you were there at Asia Hotel, but my opening remarks were exactly on this point. I did in fact mention specifically Took Leng How's name and asked the audience to think carefully what they really stand for. I also read out the names of two africans who were sentenced to death in late July this year, again for drugs. One of them is only 19 years old. I asked the audience, would they be equally vocal when it comes to their cases, or - and I remember my words well, because I had planned them - "are they different, because, let's say it, they are darker than us?"

The forum was meant as a "Save Nguyen" forum, so the speakers felt obliged to abide by the brief given by the organisers to focus primarily on the Nguyen case. This does not mean that the speakers do not feel equally strongly about other cases. I know I do. If one looks at what I am writing about, I focus on the inhumanity and the poor justification of the death penalty, not the specialness of any particular case.

Au Waipang

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