Chee Siok Chin
I know there are many people out there who are just as outraged as I am about the execution of Amara Tochi.
I understand the overwhelming sense of helplessness and frustration that threatens to overwhelm us, if it hasn’t already. I know what it is like to feel powerless to stand up to this grave injustice, and, yes, anger at this disregard for a life.
I knew that if I allowed these feelings of despondency to consume me, I would soon fall into the trap of despondency. But then, that would be victory for those who have gone out of their way to ensure that the populace continues to feel powerless and ineffective.
A few of us decided we would not be rendered voiceless. We decided that we would speak up and be heard. That is why we held several activities. This included the fasting and 24-hour vigil we had kept with Tochi.
Taking action is the most effective way to make our voices heard, that is, non-violent, peaceful action.
We did this for Tochi and although we did not manage to save his life, our humble act of protest will add to the attention, both domestic and international, that is growing on the mandatory death sentence in Singapore. Each little action will accumulate and eventually untie this ugly noose around our nation.
I firmly believe that our actions have contributed to the calls made by Amnesty International, the United Nations and even Nigeria’s President to stop Tochi’s and Malachy’s executions.
That the Singapore Government chose to demonstrate its superciliousness by taking such extreme measures to kill small-time drug mules reflects not on us thinking individuals, but on its own insecurity and misplaced sense of justice.
We did not allow the authorities to suppress what our conscience demanded of us. We did not allow the government to corrupt our sense of right and wrong. By acting on our conscience, we may eventually prevent future state murders.
I’ve read a few postings by some who are more than upset by the senseless cold-blooded murder of Tochi and Malachy.
There are some of you who feel that talking or writing about the injustice may be cathartic. But there are also those of you who may want to do something about it. The only thing that is preventing you from coming forward is your fear.
I, too, know what it is like to be fearful, to be afraid of being singled out, to invite the retaliation from the authorities, to jeopardise our own livelihood, and to face resistance from family and friends.
But courage does not mean the lack of fear. It means acting on our convictions and our sense of justice despite the fear. Perhaps you don’t know where or how to start. We’ll tell and show you how because we’ve been down this road before.
Let’s not let Tochi’s death be in vain.