Tak Beda

Tak ada yang spesial dalam hidupnya.

Ia pikir, ia sama dengan kebanyakan orang lainnya. Makan dan minum di tempat yang sama. Tempat yang sedang terkenal pada saat itu. Menonton film yang sama, yang ditonton jutaan orang lainnya. Dijejali dengan berita-berita yang sama: fokus di ibukota. Terekspos dengan iklan-iklan yang sama, yang menawarkan hiper-realitas kepada calon konsumennya. Membaca buku klasik yang sama, pengetahuan yang sama, paradigma yang sama.

Ia pikir, bagaimana mungkin seseorang berbeda?

Ia sedikit iri pada Meursault. Meursault terasing, tercerabut dari realitas di sekitarnya, dan merdeka. Orang-orang kemudian mengatakan Meursault tak punya hati nurani. Menurut ia, Meursault berbeda. Itu sebabnya ia digantung sampai mati.

Menurutnya, hidup tak punya makna.

Ia ingin mati muda.

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Indonesia Should Abolish Death Penalty for Drug Mules

Only 32 countries in the world still enactideath penalty as punishment. One of them is Indonesia.[1] InJanuary 2015, there were 133 people on death row still waiting to be executed, 57 of whom were involved in drug offences, 2 in terrorism and 74 in general crime.[2] Data shows that there have been an escalating number of people sentenced to death because of drug offences. The majority of drug offence cases are drug mules or couriers. A drug mules is a person who hands over illicit drugs including a person who transports illicit drugs across international borders. Death penalty for drug mules has proven not to solve illicit drug trafficking. Death penalty also cannot explain drug mules as “the most serious crime”. Therefore, Indonesia should abolish death penalty for drug mules.

For those who support death penalty for drug mules might say that drugs undermine the future of young generation and the nation itself and for that reason, I totally agree. We have to minimize its harm to the lowest level and the solution of this problem is by controlling illicit drug trafficking. But unfortunately “controlling illicit drug trafficking” means incarcerating, criminalizing drug users and sentencing drug mules to death. There is no sign that there is a reduction in the number of drug mules by death sentence. Indonesia has even done gross violation of human rights to the actual victims of drugs and this is not the answer of illicit drug trafficking.

Second, death penalty cannot explain drug mules as “the most serious crime”. Article 6 in International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) statesthat death penalty only imposed for “the most serious crime” but the problem is the term “most serious crime” can be interpreted . According to the Safeguards Guaranteeing Protection of the Rights of those Facing Execution of 1984 (ECOSOC Resolution 1984/50), the scope of the death penalty “should not go beyond intentional crimes with lethal or other extremely grave consequences”. In his sixth quinquennial report, the UN Secretary-General stated that “is intended to imply that the offences should be life threatening, in the sense that this is a very likely consequence of the action”.[3] Unfortunately, Indonesia does not acknowledgeof drug mules. Most of their motives are poverty, not their intention to kill other humans. The Safeguards also said that “capital punishment may be imposed only when the guilt of the person charged is based upon clear and convincing evidence leaving no room for an alternative explanation of the facts.” Incases where the drug mules are being duped, it is hard to prove that the drug mules are not guilty. But Indonesia still impose death penalty for drug mules that have great possibility of being innocent.

Third, there have also been an escalating number of women involved in drug In illicit drug trafficking, it is more “advantageous” to use women as mules than men. Women are more vulnerable because of their gender and patriarchy. Bell Hooks in Understanding Patriarchy explained that “Patriarchy is a political-social system that insists that males are inherently dominating, superior to everything and everyone deemed weak, especially females, and endowed with the right to dominate and rule over the weak and to maintain that dominance through various forms of psychological terrorism and violance”. Therefore women are in vulnerable position that they often bring violated by society itself. Many of them are forced to bring even if they are pregnant. Women will also be less suspicious. A lot cases show that many female drug mules are being duped and cannot prove that they are not involved inillicit drug trafficking. Incarcerating female drug mules will also affect their families because the role of the mother in the family are gone.

Finally, death penalty does not solve the main problems which are illicit drug trafficking and poverty. Indonesia execute people at the bottom of drug trafficking hierarchy while letting drug dealers still manufacturenormous illicit drugs. Most of the drug mules come from develop countries such as Indonesia and most of them are poor. As long as there , there will always be drug mules.

It can be concluded that death penalty for drug mules does not solve drug trafficking. Death penalty executepeople who are poor, have a high possibility of being innocent, and do not have the intention to kill other humans at all. Death penalty is inhumane, cruel and ineffective punishment for drug mules. Therefore, Indonesia should abolish death penalty for drug mules.

[1] IHRA, Death Penalty Global Report

[2] http://news.okezone.com/read/2015/01/21/337/1095128/133-terpidana-mati-belum-dieksekusi

[3] Capital punishment and implementation of the safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty, http://www.uncjin.org/documents

The Negative Effects of Criminalizing Drug Users

What first comes to mind in when you hear about drug users? A criminal, or, someone in great pain? The criminalization of drug users has been a continuous debate since President Nixon declared a “war on drugs” in June 1971.[1] Over 1.6 million people are arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned, placed under criminal justice supervision and for deported each year for drug offences.[2] All this effort is to aimed towards one goal: to control illicit drugs trafficking. While criminalizing drug users has proven not to solve this problem, it also has done more harm than problematic drug use itself. This essay will elaborate more on the negative effects of criminalization of drug users from a number of viewpoints.

First, criminalizing drug users will escalate HIV infections. Research has shown that fear of arrest force drug users away from public health services, away from HIV testing and HIV prevention services and into hidden environments where HIV risk is increased. Research also proved that criminalizing drug users created barriers to HIV treatment such as Antiretroviral Therapy (ARV). Prohibitions on providing sterile syringes to drug users caused an escalation of syringe sharing. Lack of HIV prevention measures and treatment in prison also lead to HIV transmission among prisoners, linked to syringe sharing.[3]

Secondly, prisons are overcrowded with drug offenders, lead to inhumane prison conditions. Over 50% of inmates in federal prison in United States, for example, are drug offenders including non-violent drug users.[4] This situation also occurs in some countries such as Indonesia and China. Instead of putting drug users in rehabilitation institutions, drug users are likely to be incarcerated. Overcrowded prisons are a stressful environment and affect the psychological state of the inmates. They are also at high risk of being infected by various illnesses and face a substantial risk of violence.[5]

Finally, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has identified many serious negative “unintended consequences” of the drug war, including the stigma and discrimination faced by drug users.[6] A movement called countthecosts.org found that “A system appears to have been created in which those who fall into the web of addiction find themselves excluded and marginalized from the social mainstream, tainted with moral stigma, and often unable to find treatment even when they may be motivated to want it.” After imprisonment, drug users also face difficulty to find jobs because of their criminal records. “Criminalisation – and the associated stigma and discrimination – frequently pushes drug use into unhygienic and unsupervised marginal environments, increasing risks. It can additionally deter the hardest-to-reach individuals from seeking treatment, for fear of arrested.”[7]

The “war on drugs” which criminalizes drug users has been used to control illicit drug trafficking for almost 50 years. During that time, there were millions of people who arrested, prosecuted, imprisoned and even executed because of drug offences. Criminalizing drug users not only has not solved illicit drug trafficking but also raised some negative effects. Instead of treating drugs users as criminals, we need to find a more effective way to reduce the harm of illicit drugs.

[1] Brief History of the Drug War, http://www.drugpolicy.org/new-solutions-drug-policy/brief-history-drug-war

[2] Mass Criminalization, http://www.drugpolicy.org/mass-criminalization

[3] Report of The Global Commission on Drug Policy, The War on Drugs and HIV/AIDS: How the Criminalization of Drug Use Fuels the Global Pandemic, June 2012.

[4] Just How Much The War On Drugs Impacts Our Overcrowded Prisons, In One Chart, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/10/war-on-drugs-prisons-infographic_n_4914884.html

[5] UNODC, Handbook on Strategies to Reduce Overcrowding in Prisons

[6] The Unintended Negative Consequnces of the ‘War on Drugs’: Mass Criminalisation and Punitive Sentencing Policies, March 2013, http://www.penalreform.org

[7] The War on Drugs: Promoting and Discrimination, http://www.countthecosts.org

Drug Policy Comparison Between Indonesia and Switzerland

Since 2000, there have been an increasing number of new HIV infections. The AIDS epidemic in Indonesia is growing at the fastest rate in Asia.[1] The Ministry of Health estimates that Indonesia will have almost twice the number of people living with HIV and AIDS in 2014 as compared to 2008, rising from an estimated 227.700 to 501.400.[2] People living with HIV and AIDS are mostly from key populations that vulnerable to HIV transmission such as sex workers. Half of the total people living with HIV, about 52.4%, are s,[3] so there is a strong connection between drug policy and increasing number of HIV infections. One of the States that is considered to have an effective drug policy is Switzerland. In the late 1980s, the numbers of people with HIV were greatly increased along with an increasing number of injecting drug users[4] but it has been reduced by over 50 percent in 10 years.[5] While Indonesia faces an increasing number of people living with HIV, Switzerland proves that their policy in drugs could lower the infections. So, there are some differences in drug policy between Indonesia and Switzerland.

Firstly, Indonesia and Switzerland have different perspective towards illicit drugs. Indonesia has embraced the so-called “war on drugs” which criminalizes drug users. Drug users tend to get imprisonment and they are seen as criminals. However, in Switzerland, the State sees drug addiction as health problem. Switzerland prefers to use “harm reduction” to prevent HIV transmission by rehabilitation, low-threshold methadone treatment and providing sterile syringe instead of imprisonment.

Secondly, Indonesia and Switzerland have different policies about cannabis. In Indonesia, cannabis, heroin, amphetamine, cocaine and other drugs classified as Type 1 will be punished by the same sentencing. However in Switzerland, “possession of cannabis is considered as a minor misdemeanor that will not go on a person’s criminal record. Anyone found with up to 10 grams of the substance will be able to avoid all formal proceedings, instead paying an on-the-spot fine of CHF 100.”[6]

Finally, Indonesia and Switzerland are slightly different in treating drug addiction. Both of these countries use low-threshold methadone for heroin addiction. Switzerland also uses heroin-assisted therapy (HAT) which uses the heroin itself as therapy. This kind of treatment does not exist in Indonesia. At the beginning of the trial of this treatment, in 1990, government of Switzerland was met with a torrent of cricism especially from International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) for its “controversial experiment” in legalizing heroin as therapy. However, WHO undertook an evaluation of this policy. The result was quite surprising because WHO concluded that HAT could improve health and social functioning of the participants in treatment programs.[7]

It can be seen that there is currently a huge difference in on drug policy between Indonesia and Switzerland. Switzerland is willing to experiment at the border of the law and to be guided by an experimental outlook; this is something Indonesia could learn from. As a result of decriminalizing drug users, the number of HIV infections and death because of HIV have decreased dramatically in Switzerland. Indonesia should consider reforming its drug policy in a way which is in accordance with the needs of the community and which would also reduce the prevalence of HIV/AIDS.

[1] UNAIDS, Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic, 2008.

[2]National HIV and AIDS Strategy and Action Plan of Indonesia 2010-2014, pg. 11.

[3]Ibid., pg. 14.

[4]Open Society Foundations, “From the Mountaintops: What the World Can Learn from Drug Policy Change in Switzerland”, 2010, pg. 7.

[5]Swiss Drug Policy Shoud Serve as Model:Experts, http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/10/25/us-swiss-drugs-idUSTRE69O3VI20101025.html.

[6]Switzerland Changes Law to Decriminalise Marijuana Possession, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/switzerland-changes-law-to-decriminalised-marijuana-possession-8856308.html.

[7]Op.cit., Open Society Foundations, pg. 22.

Saying Goodbye

What a terrible thing it is to botch a farewell. I am a person who believes in form, in the harmony of order. Where we can, we must give things a meaningful shape. For example – I wonder – could you tell my jumbled story in exactly one hundred chapters, not one more, not one less? I’ll tell you, that’s one thing I have about my nickname, the way the number runs on forever. It’s important in life to conclude things properly. Only then can you let go. Otherwise you are left with words you should have said but never did, and your heart is heavy with remorse. That bungled goodbye hurts me to this day. I wish so much that I’d had one last look at him in the lifeboat, that I’d provoked him a little, so that I was on his mind. I wish I had said to him then – yes, I know, to a tiger, but still – I wish I had said, “Richard Parker, it’s over. We have survived. Can you believe it? I owe you more gratitude than I can express I couldn’t have done it without you. I would like to say it formally: Richard Parker, thank you. Thank you for saving my life. And now go where you must. You have known the confined freedom of a zoo most of your life; now you will know the free confinement of a jungle. I wish you all the best with it. Watch out for Man. He is not your friend. But I hope you will remember me as a friend. I will never forget you , that is certain. You will always be with me, in my heart. What is that hiss? Ah, our boat has touched sand. So farewell, Richard Parker, farewell. God be with you.

I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye.
(Yann Martel, Life of Pi)
—————
First time i saw this beautiful movie, i keep wondering, why he conclude his journey with those words? I mean the meaning of this movie is much bigger than that. About searching for faith, and struggle, and keeping alive.

But i finally understand now, painfully.. How painful not have a chance to say goodbye for someone the truly means to us. Or for worst, not trying hard enough to have one last word.
Regrets always come late, and i really regret it, my lovely grandma, for not saying goodbye. For not asking how have you been recently. For acting indifferent and selfishly just think about myself, how fucked up my life is. And i’m sorry for that.. I’m sorry..
I love you so much, Nek. You are so kind and funny, and now i can’t see you anymore. And the very worst part is, i lost a reason to come back home..

May Allah always taking care of you there.