The Last Chance to Save Van Nguyen

29 November 2005

There's not a lot I can say about this, with so much that has already been said. There's an excellent website,
Australia Unites, which has a case background, news links and an petition you can sign, for what it's worth now; even though it seems like all hope is lost now, "as long as there is life, there is hope" and in any case, no matter what happens, in signing the petition, you can record your disgust about the execution.
So what I want to post here, is something I posted on the Necro forum:

Regarding this case, I felt an emotion I never expected to feel: I felt sympathy for Ray Martin.

Allow me to explain...

Last week I was channel surfing, when I happened to land on A Current Affair (which I don't normally watch, The 7:30 Report being rather more how I prefer to get political insights). But anyway, Ray presented a clip of the family visiting Van in prison, then went to the results of an SMS poll of viewers, question being: "Do you believe that the Singaporean Government is justified in executing Van Nguyen?"
The results were 56% YES, 44% NO.

Ray then remarked, "Well, that's a very close result..." (No, a 12% margin is not a close result. But the thing is, I've seen Martin comment on polls with much closer margins, where he has been in favour of the majority decision, as being "overwhelming majorities". Anyway, I'll go on...)

Ray continued, "How can we expect the Singaporean government to change it's decision, when opinion at home is so divided?" He was visibly upset. I've watched a little more of his, as I'll call it, "execution coverage" since then, and it's clear that Ray Martin himself is NOT in favour of the execution, that he feels it's rather barbaric, and so I felt sorry for him, being so upset by the unexpected opinions of his audience, in light of the rather sympathetic covereage that ACA has shown towards Nugyen.

But then it occured to me, my sympathy is rather misplaced. Not in the sense of feeling sorry for Ray Martin when I should be feeling sorry for the poor young man's family (though of course I do) but feeling sorry for Martin, being suprised by the reaction of his audience. HE has created an audience of right-wing, ill-informed reactionaries, by presenting stories on single mums robbing the system, prisoners living in luxury, etc. And now he only has himself to blame, for the fact that those viewers now believe that the death penalty is just what Nugyen deserves.

Well, that was my opinion on the forum. I can't say anything more. It just upsets me too much. But I will be observing a minute's silence, even if by myself. Please sign the petition, if you can't do the same.


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