President Joko Widodo is Indonesia’s most famous heavy metal music fan. In contrast to his soft-spoken ways and humble manner, Jokowi’s love for bands such as Napalm Death and Metallica is one of the quirks that endeared him to his supporters, and the world, as a real man of the people.
Jokowi has lost a lot of that love in the past month over his unflinching resolve to execute drug traffickers. Critics from around the world, especially Australia, are pouring the pressure on our president to grant clemency to Australian Bali Nine ringleaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran (who are set to be executed by firing squad later this week), but Jokowi shows no signs of reconsidering his decision.
Now, Tony Iommi, guitarist for the legendary heavy metal band Black Sabbath (and arguably one of the people who helped create heavy metal in the first place), has joined others in asking Jokowi to grant clemency to Chan and Sukumaran by writing him a personal letter.
Iommi is not the first heavy metal hero to write to President Jokowi about the death penalty. About one month ago, Napalm Death frontman Mark “Barney” Greenway also wrote an open letter to our leader asking him to grant clemency to Chan and Sukumaran.
Here is the full text of Tony Iommi’s letter to President Joko Widodo:
The President of lndonesia
3rd March 2015
I am writing to appeal to you to grant clemency to Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.
I understand and respect your efforts to combat drug abuse in lndonesia, this is something that all countries are having to deal with.
lndeed, I have seen first hand the negative impacts that drugs can have on people and their families. That is why I understand your strong views on this issue. The lndonesian prison system has had great success in transforming Andrew and Myuran.
I appeal to you, as a forgiving man, to take note of their transformation. They are now reformed men who are making a positive difference to the lives of their fellow prisoners.
That they have been transformed so much is a real credit to the lndonesian authorities.
For this reason, I would ask that you stop the execution of Andrew and Myuran.
Please allow them to serve out life sentences where they contribute to the wellbeing of lndonesia and make good for the error of their previous ways. I do hope you will consider this personal appeal.
Guitarist, Black Sabbath.