Troy Davis is now dead. In my layman’s language, the mighty, glorified American justice system refused to revoke his death penalty, and last night around eleven, in an American prison, he was straddled on a chair and given a lethal injection. Troy died ten minutes later.
Just before his death, from his death bed, he gave a final statement proclaiming his innocence once again. He said he did not commit the crime. He implored us to “look deeper” into it.
Even though I did not know Troy, a black man in Georgia who was convicted of killing a police officer in 1989, only four years after I came to America as a foreign graduate student, over the years I’ve heard about him and the alleged flay of justice he went through for twenty years, and wondered about the mighty and glorified American justice system. I read about the civil rights movement and Dr. Martin Luther King when I was in India. I remember I read in our Bangla newspaper about his assassination in Memphis when I was in elementary school. I heard about the assassination of John and Bobby Kennedy. I read about slavery in America, and how black men and women were subjected to racism, bigotry, exploitation and violent repression. Much later, I read about Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation.
I sort of always wanted to believe that America had changed for the better. I sort of wanted to believe the U.S. justice system was actually mighty and worth glorifying.
Since yesterday, I put a status update on my Facebook page, and changed it three times. I did not know of any other way to show my fleeting emotions. First, when I came to know that he was likely to die in a matter of a few hours, I wrote:
“Abolish the Death Penalty Today! It’s barbaric and primitive. Want proof? U.S. India, China and Saudi Arabia still have it. The entire Europe, South America, Australia and Canada banned it.”
I posted a number of links to prove my point: (1) U.S. India, China and Saudi Arabia still have it. The entire Europe, South America, Australia and Canada banned it (why was it banned?); (2) how fanatics and fundamentalists across religions use similar logic to support the death penalty; (3) in a high number of cases, how DNA fingerprinting exonerated convicted, death-row inmates. I put link to a TV news story I did about ten years ago for ABC TV.
At 6 P.M., when it was all news that they were going to kill Troy at 7 P.M., I updated my status:
“At 7 P.M., America will execute Troy Davis. I’ll observe a moment of silence.”
I was feeling very tired just by imagining what Troy was going through at that time. I was internalizing the feeling of sadness, hoplessness, frustration about the mighty, glorified U.S. justice system, and a bone-chilling feeling of death — as if Lord Yama the god of death was knocking at his doorstep, to fetch him. I could not take it anymore. I went to sleep.
At 8 P.M., I woke up and realized that he was still alive; I read that they had delayed the execution because of an appeal to a superior court. But because I never believed in miracles…my life has been so mundanely lacking miracles…deep inside I knew the end of Troy Davis’ life was near. But I was hoping to believe in miracles, only for his sake and for the sake of his family.
But I was feeling very tired and exhausted again just to think about the roller coaster emotions they were all going through. I was imagining the pounding hearts of the hundreds of thousands of supporters and activists who were rallying in Georgia, in Washington, D.C., and in other parts of America; in fact, people against the primitive and barbaric death penalty were rallying and protesting all across the world. In the name of Troy Davis, a black Amercan man in Deep South, the world’s conscience was coming together.
It was too much for my emotional, impractical, old-fashioned heart to beat normally. I went to sleep again.
I woke up at 6 A.M. this morning. I knew it was all over.
I did a final update on my Facebook status:
“A primitive, barbaric system put Troy Davis to death. I hang my head in shame. This is a dark day for America.”
Repeat statement: Troy Davis is now dead. In my layman’s language, an American court refused to revoke his death penalty, and last night around eleven, in an American prison, he was straddled on a chair and given a lethal injection. Troy died ten minutes later.
I just gave you a synopsis of my fleeting emotions surrounding Troy’s death. My fleeting emotions will not let me remember for too long this alleged flay of justice by the mighty, glorified American justice system.
But right now, as of this moment, this is my life’s status update. This is my life’s raw, real emotion. My life spoke for a poor victim of a primitive, barbaric system — in real, raw terms.
For you, Brother Troy.
Brooklyn, New York