Updated: Because it’s a matter of life and death

UPDATED ON 9/22/11 at 11:00am (after the fold)

On Wednesday, September 21st at 7pm, the state of Georgia plans to end the life of Troy Davis. Davis’s only hope at this point may be if prison staff refuse to carry out the execution, if they courageously stand up for what is right, rather than blindly follow orders. He has stated many times, They can take my body but not my spirit, because I have given my spirit to God.

No, Troy Davis is not a Sikh nor does he or his case have any direct connection to the Sikh community. But I am writing this tonight, after his final attempt for clemency denied by the state, to ask you to keep Troy Davis in your thoughts and prayers and to take action in whatever way you see fit. You can immediately sign this petition, you can call or emailJudge Penny Freesemann at [email protected] and urge the halt of the execution, you can attend a local rally, you can include Troy in your ardas.

Why?

Because since Davis’s conviction for the murder of a police officer in 1989, seven of the nine witnesses that testified against him have recanted their testimonies.

Because no murder weapon was ever found, and no DNA evidence exists connecting Davis to the crime.

Because some witnesses say another man committed the crime, a witness who testified against Davis.

Because many witnesses have stated in sworn affidavits that they were pressured or coerced by police into testifying against Troy Davis.

Because Troy Davis is a 42-year-old man who should have many more years to live on this planet.

Because as Sikhs, it is our duty to stand up for what is right. The planned execution of Davis is a tragic symptom of a broken and inhumane criminal justice system (which I’ve discussed before here and here). This is a Sikh issue. Indeed, Harinder Singh of the Sikh Research institute states,

As a Sikh, I must fight for criminal justice reforms, as the founders of my faith set the precedent when confronting the Mughal dynasty in South Asia. Guru Nanak confronted Emperor Babar over mass incarcerations, and Guru Hargobind championed prisoners rights by challenging Emperor Jahangir; both Gurus, founders of Sikhi, were imprisoned for doing so.

What are we willing to do for Troy Davis and the Troy Davises of the world?

It’s a matter of life and death.

UPDATE (9/22/11, 11:00am)

The state of Georgia killed Troy Anthony Davis last night by lethal injection at 11:08pm. I am at a loss for words. There were rumors in the evening that the US Supreme Court had granted Davis a temporary stay, but those hopes were crushed a few hours later. The time has come to accept this tragic and unjust reality and pray for Davis and his family. The fight is not over, as this is much bigger than Troy Davis.

As Ben Jealous, the head of the NAACP, stated last night as Davis’ execution began, “The world is ashamed of our nation tonight… [Davis] said, ‘They can take my body but not my spirit, because I have given my spirit to God.’ We certainly cannot allow this to take our spirit either. This has to be a night when we finally recommit ourselves to the nonviolent struggle for justice in this country, and we commit ourselves not just to abolishing the death penalty in our lifetimes or in this century, but in this decade. And we can do it if we’re focused.”

As Davis’ life came to an end, according to journalist Jon Lewis who witnessed the execution, he said to the family of slain police officer Mark MacPhail ” that he was sorry for their loss, but also said that he did not take their son, father, brother. He said to them to dig deeper into this case, to find out the truth. And then he said to the prison staff the ones he said, ‘who are going to take my life,’ he said to them, ‘may God have mercy on your souls,’ and his last words were to them, ‘may God bless your souls.'”

I will close for now with this shabad that I have been reflecting upon since last night.

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Simar simar daataar manorath poor-i-aa||
Meditating, in contemplation of the great Giver, the heart’s desires are fulfilled.

Ichh punnee man aas ga-e visoor-i-aa||
The craving and hopes of the mind are realized, and sorrows are forgotten.

Paa-i-aa naam nidhaan jis no bhaal-daa||
The treasure of the name is obtained after a long search.

Jot milee sang jot reh-i-aa ghaal-daa||
My light merges with the Supreme light, and my labors are over.

Sookh sehaj aanand vutthae tit ghar||
Peacefully I take abode in the house of bliss.

Aavan jaan rehae janam na tehaa mar||
My comings and goings have ended and there is no more birth or death.

Saahib saevak ek ek dristt-aa-i-aa||
The Master and the servant have become one, with no sense of separation.

Gur prasaadh naanak sach samaa-i-aa||21||1||2|| Sudh
By the Guru’s grace, Nanak is absorbed in the true Divine. ||21||1||2||Sudh|| SGGS||524


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17 Responses to “Updated: Because it’s a matter of life and death”

  1. satinder singh says:

    hi ca i ask how o you created the explore tlh circle

  2. Jugroop says:

    How can you compare a person who killed a cop who was doing his sury to the Sikh Gurus
    Shame on you

  3. tarlock says:

    shame on you jugroop becauce we are all human beings

  4. Sukh Lally says:

    I’m sure if he was innocent his solicitors would get him off

  5. avigdor weber says:

    the man is never wrong. there is no such thing. the act is wrong. the act of murder is wrong. the murder isn't.. the murder is learning a lesson. we all do things that are in many eyes wrong. and after the fact when we sit back and contemplate the actions we have taken, we understand that it was a lesson implemented for us to grow. many things occur in our lives all of which is our own fault. the good the bad times are flowers from seeds we sowed. you can not recieve what you do not deserve. everything is meant to be just the way it is. it is through compassion and love that we understand the plights man faces and wish them the strength and courage to carry the torch home.

  6. Blighty Singh says:

    Have absolutely no idea what any of this has got to do with me as a Sikh. All it reminds me of is what our teachers used to teach us about America when I was at school. At that time we (in the outside world|) associated America with Iran, Saudi Arabia and Sudan because those 4 were the only countries on earth that regularly locked up its children in adult jails. Clinton put an end to that shame of America but the shame that pervails is that it (America) has the infamous world record of imprisoning more of its citizens than any country in the history of the world……ever ! Perhaps then Americans do understand irony after all….when they call themselves the 'land of the free' ? More importantly, however, as every schoolchild on earth knows, there are more black American 17 year old boys in jail than there are in college. With statistics like these…..the ballard of Troy Davis comes as no surprise to anyone. Campaigning for clemency for him would barely be scratching the surface. Its hardly worthwhile. The whole system is rotten to the core.

  7. Mohinder Singh says:

    [Edited by Admin – your comments are inciting hate which breaks our commenting policy]

  8. brooklynwala says:

    Also it's worth noting that those calling on a halt to Davis's execution include the Pope, Jimmy Carter, former FBI director William Sessions, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

  9. Sukh Lally says:

    I ain’t being racist Tarlock?

  10. SinghIsKing says:

    Troy Davis was put to death today. A very sad day

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