Please don’t support death by firing squad in my name …

I wrote this post a few days ago. I’ve been sitting on it, unsure of whether to hit publish, because, man – so many feelings.

All o’ dem feels, ya know?

There’s just a couple of things that bother me about some of the things being said about the situation with the Bali Nine, and I’d like to address them.

They were no angels, I will not argue that

Firstly, when I see people speak of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, and they bandy about words like ‘brave’, and ‘honourable’ to describe them, I can see why that raises the hackles of those that supported the decision that was made.

I can. I can see why that pisses people off and causes them to scream “Oh, for fuck’s sake …” before they hit their keyboards with a vengeance.

‘THEY WERE SAINTS!” is what the people screamed. But they really weren’t.

Nobody is.

They were men. Men who, from all accounts, ten years ago, were the kind of men that you wouldn’t want to be dealing with. They were men that behaved atrociously, did shithouse things, and made bad, dangerous decisions.

I don’t give a shit if they really were remorseful.
I don’t give a shit if they really were rehabilitated.
I don’t give a shit if they were saints or if they were sinners.
I don’t give a shit if they folded or scrunched their fucking toilet paper.
It makes no mind to me … because they were men.

Human beings.

And no matter what, human beings don’t deserve to be lined up like ducks in some sick, sideshow, shooting gallery to have their lives taken from them … for any reason.


Which brings me to the next thing that has been bothering me. Those who argue “But what about those affected by drugs? If you were the family of someone who had died, you would think differently.”

Bullshit. You don’t speak for me.

I know I don’t speak for everyone who watched a loved one deal with substance abuse. And I certainly don’t speak for everyone who lost a loved one after their battle ended.

But I speak for me. And I speak for my sister.

You see, there were a lot of elements that came together to try and stop my sister’s addiction.

But …

Being a beloved daughter didn’t stop it.
Being a sister who was worshipped didn’t stop it.
Watching her friends die didn’t stop it.
Going to prison didn’t stop it.
Breaking her own mother’s heart into a million pieces over and over didn’t stop it.
Becoming a mother, herself, didn’t stop it.
Loving her children fiercely didn’t stop it.
Having each child removed from her care didn’t stop it.
Overdosing didn’t stop it.
Starting over and losing everything again and again and again and again didn’t stop it.
Being smart, being funny, being kind, being brave, being achingly beautiful … none of that made any difference.

So, safe to say, executing men who had committed a drug crime more than a decade ago would not have even made the tiniest dint in the armour of that fucking addiction. You think one load of drugs kept off the streets would have changed a damn thing for her? Pfft. Gimme a break.

One time, my 5ft’nothing mum and her sister were walking the dangerous back alleys of the drug scene – Andrew and Myuran’s kind of scene – brandishing her picture like some dimly lit shot on CSI, desperately hoping to find her alive. Why? Because she was a human being.

It didn’t matter what arsehole things she had done. It didn’t matter who she had hurt. It didn’t matter what she felt about herself.

She mattered to us. She was important.

She was certainly no saint.

But she was my mum’s baby girl.

mum and karen

When she died, do you think anyone stood shaking their fist at the sky and cursing the dealers, and the traffickers? No, we didn’t. There was just such sadness. Such sorrow. Such mourning. Such a feeling that it was all so stupid and senseless.

And I feel exactly the same way about the executions. That is honestly how I feel. I’m not about Capital Punishment. I don’t get it. I don’t support it.

But if you do, go right ahead … if that’s how you really feel.

But don’t do it in my name. Don’t do it in my sister’s name.

If you support it, then you have to own it, yourself.

I’ve got enough shit to carry on my shoulders.


  1. says

    Well, fuck. That was the most powerful piece of writing I’ve read on this matter. You said everything I’m feeling, but I couldn’t put into words. Sending all my love to ya xoxo

  2. says

    Bravo, I’m sincerely glad that you pressed publish tonight. I used to believe in the death penalty when I was young and stupid. I clearly don’t now and I too stand for mercy. I have never experienced loss at the hands of drugs but I’m grateful for the insight you’ve offered. Thank you x

  3. D says

    Perfectly said. My brother is a drug addict and there is no love from hearing about more life lost. Yes, they fucked up… and no, if they hadn’t been caught they’d probably still be dangerous turds, but by all accounts they did try and better themselves. Rotting away in Kerobokan prison would hardly have been a reward. So pointless, so sad. I fucking hate drugs. My poor mum has gone through hell, we all have, but these two executions have done nothing to stop drugs being distributed.

    • says

      Oh man, it was a tough one. I hope I haven’t hurt anyone in my family – but fuck. Sometimes you just have to write it down, you know it too. I bet.

  4. says

    Good on you for being brave enough to tell yours (and your sisters) story! I’m heartbroken for you…drugs are something that have always terrified me, and now that I’m a Mama, that fear is ten-fold. I can’t imagine the pain and sadness that your family must still feel. That said, I completely agree with you. No one deserves to be shot dead….who the hell are we to make such a decision?! When a mother sees nothing but a healthy son, that she worked hard to bring into this world and love and protect. They died senselessly. Just like your sister….and for what? The world just gets sadder and nothing has changed.

  5. says

    Brilliant piece of personal writing, straight from the heart and Is exceptionally moving; I thank you for publishing it. You have summed up my thoughts perfectly. I stand for mercy. Love to you and your family xx

  6. Karen Boswell says

    I have spent years searching churches, attended university for theological study, undertaken years of academic and cultural endeavours looking to find the type of compassion and forgiveness you possess. Perhaps I should have just spent more time with you. You are one in a million million Reb!

  7. says

    I applaud you as a writer.
    I applaud you as a free thinker.
    I applaud your sensitivity.
    I admire your words.
    I admire your decision to publish.
    I love that there are human beings like you.

  8. Sarah Rosborg says

    I was reading that thinking ‘please don’t let her die please don’t let her die please don’t let her die’ and then i read the last paragraph. excrutiating.

    You rule. So sorry for that sadness for you and your family and that blog post is the best fucking thing I have read on the whole of the internet about the Bali Boys. xx

    • says

      Thanks Sah. She was my sister – ya know. A fucking ratbag. Hilariously so.

      Part of me thought she was invincible. Seriously, she could have died a million times over. So when, in the end, everything caught up to her, it was tough.

      My poor mum. My poor, poor mum.

      And their mums. That footage of their families having to say goodbye was horrific.

  9. says

    Rebel Rebel Rebel …it has been a very long time since a post has moved me so much.

    I can’t even get my words together to comment properly!

    Thank you fellow human being xx

  10. Hannah says

    As a person loving someone who lives with drug addiction I love you piece, as a human bring I love it too.. Thanks for humanising such a painful reality that can so easily isolate and stigmatise. I stand for mercy x

  11. says

    Amazng post Rebel!! I don’t agree with people saying these guys were heroes and should be martyred, after all at the end of the day they were convicted criminals. Also at the end of the day they were human beings and didn’t deserve the death penalty for their crimes either. In 90% of the world they already would have served their time and be back out on the streets. Such powerful writing Rebel and so good to hear another side, I am so sorry for your loss xx

  12. Hope says

    writing this with a tear in my eye…
    I remember your sister, my cousin as a kind, lighthearted person who would do anything for anyone. All I seen were her kids that loved her and never went without. Im sure she wouldnt have wanted anyone to pay for her mistakes. They were her mistakes and she accepted that. I think you have given people another point of view to think about. I dont believe in the dealth penalty but rules are rules macca and they knew that when they did what they did. As for pissing off the family… who cares I will always love you xxx

  13. says

    so glad you pressed publish. This is the best blog post about the whole ordeal. I am so achingly sorry to hear about your sister. But gosh it gives your perspective and compassion and those qualities are to be treasured. What a fabulous post! Xx

  14. says

    This is such an achingly beautiful piece, it gave me chills. I agree with you on every point, every word. I have some family members who have experienced addiction and thank goodness they are still with us for now- but you are absolutely correct when you say that one load of drugs would have saved any addicts. Saying I’m sorry about your sister isn’t enough but I am sorry you lost her. It’s so unfair. Just like it’s unfair to treat humans worse than animals. Men do not have the right to judge other men. Thank you so much for publishing this.

  15. says

    Such powerful writing. My favourite Bit: “But don’t do it in my name. Don’t do it in my sister’s name.
    If you support it, then you have to own it, yourself.” So succinct and so true. I am sorry for your loss and what an amazing reminder that at the end of the day we are all someone’s son or daughter and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Thank you so much for this.

  16. says

    Such a beautiful post, thank you for sharing your pain so honestly. I completely agree – more senseless deaths don’t solve these problems.

  17. says

    Oh, oh. I feel so heartbroken for you. For your mother, for your sister, for her children… I’m just so sad that ALL of you, ANY of you, had to go through all those years of sadness and struggle. Thank you for standing up for humanity and love, no matter what we do. I 100 percent agree with you. And thank you so much for generously helping to give the rest of us some valuable perspective. xo

  18. says

    Beautifully said and beautiful to read. Thank you so much for sharing your story Rebel. I’m so glad you hit that button.

  19. says

    Goosebumps Rebel. I’m sorry I didn’t see this when you published. Incredibly powerful, well done.

    I said this over and over again when this was all going down. That people with addiction will feed that addiction any which way they can. It makes no difference who or where they’re getting it from. They’ll get it. The drugs those boys were carrying were a drop in the ocean.

    It’s all just so terribly pointless and sad. So many lives lost and nothing gained.

    I’m so sorry for your loss and for the heartbreak you and your mum will endure for the rest of your lives. So bloody unfair.

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