Murder in China and the Birth of The Optimism Club

Picture courtesy of Getty Images –

Tonight has been energising, exhausting and emotional. While a band of sturdy campaigners have stood an actual vigil for the reprieve of Akmal Shaikh outside the Chinese Embassy in London this evening, I’ve been proud to keep my own personal vigil of sorts online, in the company of a whole crowd of Tweeters determinedly plugging the #SaveAkmal hashtag.

At time of writing, we still do not know if the Chinese have actually gone through with the Sentence of Death they confirmed at 2.30 am. We’re all watching various news sources which cautiously suggest it must have happened. But still no official word. Which gives rise to the last strand of hope that the ultimate clemency may have been granted. Who knows right now. Poor Akmal. Poor Akmal’s family. Poor China. But, y’know what? It’s not in vain. Energy doesn’t vanish, it is simply transformed.
The hope and the tentative positivity displayed this evening showed me that there can always be optimism. And that optimism drives an energy and a force of its own. And that with a medium like the social web at our disposal, we can create the domino effect. We can target and challenge death penalty issues wherever we feel they might have most effect. I truly believe this. So tonight will see the birth of @TheOptimismClub. The tweeters who were standing virtually united to promote the cause of Akmal Shaikh in his tragic final hours (we assume) are by default some of the founding members of that group. 
There are a whole lot of haters and vicarious murderers out there – the black-aura’d ‘hang-em-high’ gang. But I for one won’t stop opposing capital punishment until I die.
The Optimism Club gives me a channel to focus on my death penalty interests separately from my regular Twitter ID and invite contribution from others who want to challenge the death penalty’s persistence worldwide. Gonna be a task and a half. And now it’s 4 a.m. so more on this anon… Comments are welcome!

December 29, 2009 - Posted by | Akmal Shaikh, death penalty, The Optimism Club, twitter

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