0 4 mins 13 yrs

I read with interest the many comments following David’s assessment of the execution of ‘Briton’ Akmal Shaikh.  Those dissenting voices criticising the Chinese decision came from the usual predictable quarters.  For my part, I would like to give my own opinion on the matter, given that I have something most of the contributors to David’s thread will not have – personal experience of working with those affected by the cancer of drug use.

Some of you will know (many may not) that before I became team leader with disabled people, I worked as a community counsellor helping those regular drug users who had the determination and the wherewithal to ‘get clean’.  You may recall a few years ago an article I wrote about a lovely girl I used to have on my counselling client list called Cherie Bendig.  Cherie was an intelligent, humorous and streetwise young woman who lost both her parents and her elder brother through tragic circumstances (her parents succumbed to cancer and Richard was killed in a house fire) in a period of less than two years.  When she was at her lowest and most vulnerable, she fell victim to the scourge of local heroin dealers.  By the time I took over her case, she had been an addict for almost five years.  Cherie had started to turn a corner as I left to chart a new path in my career.  Therefore it was a shock to hear that she had died of a huge heroin overdose in February 2006 following a bad relapse.

Cherie embodied the cold, hard reality of drug addiction.  For every one dealer or every one trafficker there is a massive pool of potential victims.  These not only include heroin addicts directly, but their families/loved ones/friends.  They are all irreversibly pulled into the miasmic vortex of depression, despair and, in the cases of the addicts themselves, very often death.  Thus, fans of ATW will not be surprised to read that I regard drug dealers as one of the lowest forms of humanity – right down there with fanatical Muslims.

So please excuse me if I don’t join the wet, liberal chorus currently denouncing the Chinese execution of Akmal Shaikh.  I’m with those like Leo McKinstry, who believe that a serious trangression of the firm laws on drug trafficking in most Far Eastern counties should indeed result in the death of the offender.  Shaikh had enough heroin on him to kill 27,000 people.  Following the cumulative chain of causation encompassing the aforesaid family and friends, how many people’s lives would have been disturbed or destroyed had the stash secreted by Shaikh not been detected by the Chinese authorities?

Using the smokescreen of alleged ‘mental illness’ is no defence at all.  People who don’t work in my field often labour under the misapprehension that a mental affliction is somehow a barrier to conscientious and/or intelligent decision-making.  We are supposed to believe that a man who travelled the world alone and lived in Poland quite satisfactorialy without the need for family support was somehow incapable of conceptualising the ramifications of what he was doing?  Poppycock!

Shaikh is on the Other Side – good riddance.  Thousands will live because his crime was uncovered.  I suggest that after he has played ‘pickle me, tickle me’ with his hot 72 virgins (or is that only for Islamic nutjobs who succeed in killing human beings by the thousand?), he finds time to grovel before the likes of Cherie, who hopefully found a peace and happiness in the afterlife heroin so cruelly denied her in this one.

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