Read the Letter That Napalm Death’s Barney Greenway Wrote to the President of Indonesia

  • Axl Rosenberg

walikota-solo-jokowiUs ‘Muricans were all pretty darn proud of ourselves when we elected an African-American man to be President in 2008. But we should really not be patting ourselves on the back, ’cause last year, Indonesia proved itself to be the coolest country in the history of ever when they elected a metalhead named Joko Widodo to their nation’s equivalent office. Now that shit made me tear up. I never thought I’d see the day when a headbanger was elected president; I would have guessed a black lesbian Jewess had a better shot of attaining such a lofty political position.

I mention it because President Widodo recently received a letter from Barney Greenway, the vocalist for one of his favorite bands, Napalm Death (yup, the photo at the top of this post is totally real!). The reason for Greenway’s correspondence? Two other Napalm Death fans,  Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, were busted smuggling heroin into Indonesia, and have now been sentenced to death. And Greenway, y’know. Wants them not to be killed.

Before you freak out and assume Barney Greenway is a junkie or whatever, you should know that he didn’t ask President Widodo to let Chan and Sukumaran off the hook entirely — just that they not suffer any capital punishment. Which is the stance you would expect from a member of Napalm Death, long of metal’s most passionately liberal bands.

Here’s the letter from Greenway to President Widodo in its entirety, courtesy of Metal Injection:

“Dear Mr. Widodo,

“I am appealing directly to you to please spare the lives of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, the two Australian citizens who are currently awaiting the death sentence in Indonesia for heroin smuggling. As a follower of our band Napalm Death, you would appreciate that our lyrics and ethos challenge the unbroken cycle of violence in the world, whether it comes from a state or as an individual. If these things are not challenged and ultimately changed, I believe we will never truly move forward as humankind.

“I understand that you are standing as a leader determined to change things for the better, and so I believe granting clemency would be a major step forward in this pursuit of betterment. I appreciate that heroin can be damaging on many levels, but I believe that this is a much deeper issue that cannot be changed or altered by simply taking away the lives of people.

“Again, I respectfully ask that you make a real difference and overturn these sentences.

“In hope and peace

“Mark ‘Barney’ Greenway (Napalm Death)”

No word yet on how President Widodo has responded to Greenway’s letter. Personally, I think he should not only excuse Sukumaran and Chan, but demand that British Prime Minister David Cameron appoint Greenway to be the UK’s ambassador to Indonesia (he should get President Obama to do the same with one of the members of Lamb of God, of whom President Widodo also speaks highly). That’s reasonable, isn’t it?

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