I made a big mistake years ago, too. 123



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When I was in my teens and 20s, I made some horrible mistakes. I grew up in an immigrant family who had come from Lebanon in search of a better life. At school, I was bullied for my hairy arms and legs and would be ridiculed for where I came from. I was called every name under the sun and it was painful, and still is. I started a part time job at the local deli when I was 16 and it all spiralled from there when I had a chance meeting with an older man in the parking lot. He was 20 but I didn’t care: he was the first person who actually acknowledged me. He took me in his car and we became lovers. My parents were gravely worried but I couldn’t care less…I had a boyfriend and they couldn’t do anything about it.

Darren was bad, bad news. You could say I was naive, but in hindsight I was just so desperate for attention I would have done anything. One of the first things we did together was steal alcohol from the local pub bottle shop. It was such a thrill and I remember feeling so cool and reckless, but I had no idea what affect it was having on my friends and family. My mother was constantly sitting by the phone as I would get involved in petty crimes. I had to constantly prove myself to Darren and his mates, and had to keep going above and beyond our last crime. I was asked to steal my dad’s car and I did it without question. I took the keys and gave them over. My boyfriend sold it to his neighbour and got $10,000 for it, which we spent on drugs – marijuana, cocaine, heroin – I got addicted to those too.

My family tried to tell the police about the disgusting car robbery but they were far too slack and had no evidence, that was until I tried to steal my 26-year-old sister’s life savings. I assumed her identity and forged her signature and withdrew about $20,000. I hadn’t stepped more than two metres out the door before I was arrested and charged with over 10 offences. I was 19. I was put in jail for 11 years. During my time there, I had quite a lot of time to think. I’d disgraced my family who had come here for a better life, and I’d missed out on so many things. When I was finally freed, I made it my mission to get life on track again. To cut a long story short, I’ve changed immensely in the last 30 years since I got out. I am a law-abiding citizen with 3 children and 5 grandchildren. I am just lucky I got a chance to live. But my point of writing this wasn’t so I could tell this story, it was so I could show how big mistakes can be redeemed.

As those two men sit in a Balinese prison, awaiting their death, so many have been pleading for mercy for them, including myself. They are rehabilitated. And while some may think this is ingenuous of them and that anyone would try to rehabilitate themselves if it meant they could be granted clemency, but I urge you to think about how you can change in 10 years. You would do so many things differently, especially if you had a lot of time to think about it. After I got out of prison, even 20 years later, I was still accused of being a thug by some of my friends and family, despite having changed myself completely. I used to think to myself, what is the point of changing when everyone thinks I’m the same person I was?

I’ll tell you what the point is: you owe it to yourself to be a better person than you were. Even if these men leave this world, their soul will be repaired. They are truly sorry and they do not deserve what’s coming. We all make mistakes. I did, and I did it because I was naive and wanted to fit in, just like Myuran and Andrew. I wanted to be something more than I was, just like them. But what I didn’t realise, like them, was that I just needed to find positive role models and love myself. I made this error, as did they, but now they must pay with their lives. How is that fair?


Did you make mistakes when you were younger? How did you redeem yourself? Are you a different person now? Tell us below.

Guest Contributor

  1. The sad thing is that most of the world’s problems come from lack of self esteem – not loving and honouring ourselves. I cringe when I think of some of the mistakes I have made because I wanted so badly to fit in. I’m glad now of the experiences that have given me empathy and an understanding of others. Becoming authentic for me was hard one and my greatest gift. Those young men – whatever happens- have been an inspiration that things can change and their legacy will live on.

    1 REPLY
  2. If anyone tells you they have never made mistake they are either liars or Gods. We all make mistakes but the best of us overcome those issues in their lives that caused them to make mistakes to start with. Your a brave person confiding in us about this and I believe your cause to get support for those 2 young men is just, thank you for telling us.

  3. I have made many mistakes, I would never judge you accept to say how wonderful you are to have overcome them and that I think the Bali men should be saved also

  4. I think you were so brave and honest to share your story and I do believe those two men shouldn’t be shot . But we don’t know how many times they have done that trip they didn’t care about the seven young lives they were taping all that drugs on and I don’t think it was their first time they did it and what for money. But what is even sadder is the top people who organize this and couldn’t give a damn about them . The trouble with drugs crime it affect so many and there is always someone making big money out of it

    1 REPLY
    • Yes and the trouble with drug crime is tgat only tge little people get caught the big guys get of scott free with only a small dent in their bank accounts.

  5. What a great letter and I applaud her for changing her life. I suppose we should all think of the saying ” there but for the grace of God go I”

  6. Yes that old line about throwing the first stone so true . I have actually found it frightening the hate and lack of compassion that has been posted about those two young men

    2 REPLY
    • Libby I so agree with your statement. I have also been frightened by the level of hate & lack of empathy.

    • So have i the amount of pompous rightousness in the community is terrifying to my mind it shows a terrible lack of god in the oives of these rightous frauds.

  7. You were a young ,naive ,daft teenager.these two are adults,they knew the penalty if caught but went ahead any way thinking more for the money than the misery they cause

  8. There is one big difference to this story & the two young men in Indonesia.
    The laws of the countries.
    Australia does not have a death penalty—Indonesia does.
    I have just recently gone through this with a grandson—he committed a drug related crime—6 year sentence. He served 3 years or so—then he was paroled for the remainder. His sentence finished February 2nd.
    He went to prison as a small, frightened, 20 year old–now, he has grown so big and strong–has a good job—-about to buy a house. He has turned his life around.

  9. I would agree with not killing them as long as they were not brought back to Aussie as before you knew it they would be back out on the streets but as long as they stay in Bali and continue with the work they are doing ok don’t kill them

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