Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Diplomacy or people power?

I signed the e-petition on the Save Van website that I blogged about, and received an email in response (thanking me, and) asking me to support a campaign to have countries sever diplomatic ties with Singapore if they proceed with the execution.

They say:
Nearly 40 contact addresses of World Leaders and Foreign Ministers have been collected. The recipients have influence over their country's diplomatic relationship with Singapore. Please send them an e-mail, asking that all diplomatic relations with Singapore be terminated if Van is hanged.
One of the names on the email is connected with this website campaign to abolish the death penalty: Save A Life - Foreign Prisoners Support Service.

I am impressed with the sincerity of those campaigning against the death penalty and the extent to which they will extend their campaign strategies, but getting countries to sever diplomatic ties with one of the most powerful and riches countries in Southest Asia?

Not likely to happen. Our governments prefer their trade, military/intelligence and diplomatic ties with Singapore, to the life of just one man. As the Cold War taught us about international diplomacy, and the Iraq War teaches us about the 'War on Terror', our governments think lives are cheap.

Is this another effort to direct our frustrated energies, and desires to not feel like our efforts and lives are futile, into another action directed at unyielding governments?

Is getting governments to cut their ties with Singapore going to work, and a useful direction for our efforts? What do you think?

At this time, I'm thinking about how Van could possibly deal with facing his death, and also how is family and loved ones could face it too. The campaign by his lawyers has turned towards accepting that the execution is inevitable, and to getting the Singaporean government to let Van's mother embrace him before he dies. And rightly so.


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