Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Sick to my stomach: Poor Akmal Shaikh

For the first time I agree with a foreign office minister of this government. Ivan Lewis described his feelings of revulsion with the Chinese authorities. He was, he said 'sick to my stomach.' How I know how he feels. When I heard that the Chinese had executed - or, rather, killed in cold blood - a man with severe mental health issues, my heart dipped downwards. I felt quite coldly sick. This is the twenty-first century. Haven't we learned anything? How can we tolerate a country that murders the vulnerable like this?

The worst, though, is reading the comments at the various media outlets. I would say that 99% of them utterly agree that the Chinese have done the right thing! Would these people concur that the Chinese would have had the moral authority to execute a 53 year old man who, although he had smuggled heroin, had cancer or MS or Parksinsons' Disease? Would there have been a huge outcry if he had been a white Englishman?

The sheer callousness and ignorance of the posters is astounding. I agree, no one should smuggle heroin. Heroin is simply disgusting. God knows what it's done to Zach. Or, rather, what Zach has allowed heroin to do to him. However, there but for the grace of God goes Zach. He says that even in his most psychotic moodswing he would never have involved himself with drug smuggling but having seen him at his worst, when he is unable to determine who he is, then is this likely?

Chinese human rights? An oxymoron if there ever was one. A thirty minute trial? A man, who for two years on death row, was refused psychiatric help for his Bipolar disorder? This is a country that the UK and everywhere else in the world wants to do business with? A juggernaut that rides roughshod over everything. China that sits on the UN Security Council while executing the sick and the vulnerable.

I'm sickened. It doesn't matter how often Bipolar disorder or other mental illnesses are discussed in the media, no one seems to want to understand it. I looked at the photo of Akmal Shaikh in the paper today and it's heartbreaking. Maybe being as ill as he was he was unaware of what was happening to him. Maybe his life was so awful that it's better that he's no longer alive and suffering in the way he was. It didn't sound as though there was a great deal of happiness there. His behaviour was just too manic and his decisions too extreme. Maybe if he'd received treatment here in the UK and was taking the right medication, then none of this would have happened. Who knows? Although from my experience here, it's more than likely that he fell under the radar of the NHS or slipped through whatever basic 'treatment' that is available to the mentally ill. Let's just spend the millions on more beaurocracy and backhanders.


1 comment:

Mia St. John said...

Loved your book! My 20 year old son is bipolar and your experiences with the mental health system in the UK doesn't seem much different than mine here in the US.

I have taken my son to China and many other countries as well and it's all the same or worse : (