Do you feel that the usage of death penalty is problematic?
This is an open letter to everyone out there, who object to the use of death penalty in the US. This letter was written by me on October 26th, 2011, in protest to the occasional protests against death penalty. It is a call for mobilization to abandon capital punishment, once and for all.
We all need to protest to evey execution to keep the death penalty in the past and not bring it with us into the future!
Dear fellow abolitionists,
I saw the impressive fight for Steven Woods, whom I never got the chance to know personally, and I cried when he was pronounced dead. I saw the collective force of solidarity that stood up for Troy Davis and I cried when our voices were not heard. I felt the sunny joy of hope when Duane Buck recieved a stay. And I know many of you shared those emotions with me.
At the same time, I noticed that we use the arguments of the abolitionsts to promote our cause; but we do not fight for everyone. I saw that many of us ignored Lawrence Brewer. I saw that Joseph Murphy’s petition didn’t get many signatures. I saw that death row inmates in Mississippi only receive 150 signatures on their petitions…
Brewers’ execution got attention due to the horrendous cruelty of his crime. The abolitionists, some of them, stood up for him as a question of principal, but where were the others who said they opposed the death penalty?
Yes, we were all busy fighting for the innocent and wrongfully convicted, but that is also the very weakness of our movement. What comforted me, after the tragic losses of Bloody Lethal September, was that the massive protests had left small, but still visible cracks in the system. There were no longer only doubts about the guilt of Steven Woods and Troy Davis; there were real doubts about capital punishment.
The Establishment can disregard our protests if they are only occasional–although, some of those occasional peaceful protests will leave a mark which some will not forget– if we only fight for certain individuals, our arguments will be swept away like dust on the Governors’ bookshelves.
We talk of everyone’s right to life as a human right. We mention the suffering of lethal injections. We argue for rehabilitation and every indivudual’s possibilty to grow as a person and everyone’s abilty to change their life. We say and salute the principles of Hope, Humanity and Care. ”No one should be executed, especially not when there are doubts about guilt”, says a letter I got during the campaign for Troy Davis, my question is, how can anyone believe a sentence like that if we do not object to every execution?
We talk about the death penalty as ”the madness”, ”a cruelty” that must be stopped but still our fight is in most cases for certain individuals only. Of course, we have to fight for those individuals but it must be for all individuals until we see the complete abolition of capital punishment.
A month ago, I wrote to death row inmate Frank Garcia and I found that he was almost entirely alone facing execution in Texas. When this note is written there are two days left to his execution, not much noise is made about the fact that this man is soon to be pronounced dead after a lethal injection. Only one article has been found and it does not oppose his execution.
Our hope to save Frank Garcia is minimal, but what we should have done is to show authorities that we fight for every inmate facing the death penalty. We must peacefully demonstrate that we oppose the death penalty in every form.
My short but intensive acquaintanceship with Frank Garcia showed me the very weakness of our grassroot organization: We are not fully mobilized and our actions are not collected. We must be totally consistent so that every case is fought with equal determination and resolve. It is not important to know every fact in each specific case but it is our resolve to oppose the death penalty in each and every case which will finally win life for all prisoners.
Since I entered this grassroots movement I have met so much determination, pain, love, fighting spirit, anger, sorrow and care. I have heard the word ”solidarity” being saluted from every corner of our world. I honour and respect all of you, who fight so tirelessly for individuals in stormy weather and in sun, in sorrow and in joy. You are a true inspiration. It warms my heart and I pray you will never stop honouring humanity. What I ask is that we open our movement and that we all fight together.
United, we will continue to create cracks in the system.
United, we will see the system fall apart piece by piece.
United, we are strong.