Andrew Chan, an Australian man executed by firing squad along with seven other men in Indonesia last week, wrote a letter in 2006 that began with “Dear Me.” The letter goes on to describe the effects of drug use and drug smuggling had on his life and the lives of those who loved him.
Chan, who was said to be a “model prisoner,” became a Christian and ordained minister while in the Indonesian prison, and started a program for drug abusers that were behind bars. He was just 31 when he died, and he wrote the letter nine years prior in hopes that children would read it and be dissuaded from using drugs.
“Dear Me, when you are older you will be in a Bali prison and you will be executed. This happened to you because you thought taking drugs was cool. Your drug taking made you think that it was OK to import drugs and make money from this. Your family and friends are heart broken and your life will be ended by a firing squad. Underneath you are not a bad person but drugs makes you different. My name is Andrew Chan.”
He was convicted in 2006 of co-leading a drug smuggling ring in Indonesia that was known as “The Bali Nine.” He was sentenced to death at that time, but only knew 72 hours prior to his planned execution when it was going to happen. He was married just 48 hours prior to his 12:35 a.m. execution on Wednesday morning. Although people around the world scrambled to beg for his clemency, it was given to just one of the sentenced, a female who has not been cleared of her conviction but was granted a stay of execution. His letter went on to describe how his life would never know normalcy or love like others could have.
“I have missed weddings, funerals, just the simple presence of my family. The hurt and pain that I don’t just put onto myself but my family is agonising. A simple touch such as a hug is not possible for a condemned man like me. I have nothing but an iron bar to hug rather than to be embraced by those I love and who I miss. Most likely, I won’t have the chance to see such things such as the birth of my first child, let alone have a child.”
He ended the letter with a simple but profound message about the stark nature of his non-future.
“My life is a perfect example of an absolute waste. That does not have to be for you.”
As the men were led to their execution by firing squad, they refused blindfolds and sang “Amazing Grace” as they were gunned down.
Australia denounced the killings, and Prime Minister Tony Abbott has withdrawn Australia’s ambassador from Indonesia.
[Image via The New Daily]