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Tag Archives: Bali 9

Politics, Excution Squads And Why How Things Are Framed Is Everything!


Let’s get really, really angry at the Indonesians. They killed two of our citizens.

How dare they! I mean, the death penalty is wrong, isn’t it? (Unless you’re Derryn HInch who’ll be arguing for it and telling you that most Australians are behind it, according to a recent poll of people who are stupid enough to listen to his program.)

Ok, I’m trying to back up here and work out – not just how I feel – but also what I think.

Mm, it’s terrible to hear that two young men who seemed to have turned their lives around and were offering a lot to their fellow prisoners were executed for crimes they’d committed almost a third of their lives ago. Yeah, I can probably get pretty upset about that.

And I certainly don’t support the idea that they were responsible for the deaths of heroin users because they were the ones importing it. After all, if we go down that path, pub owners are responsible for a significant number of road deaths and a fair amount of domestic violence. And yes, yes, I know that one is a legal product whereas the other is illegal. And yes, they should have known the consequences.

Yes, we can certainly bat this back and forward over the dinner table, with some people applying more spin than a Chinese ping pong player.

I read about how we need to try and eliminate the death penalty in our region. I look at the front page of the Murdoch paper with a painting of the Indonesian President and the suggestion that he has done something terrible by carrying out the death sentences.

Yes, I think, he should have granted them mercy. But I also know that when they were sentenced to death, there was precious little protest then. Was that because we could accept their deaths, before they’d had the chance to rehabilitate themselves? Or simply because we didn’t have a front page figure to blame?

But I also can’t help but wonder about the selectiveness of the paper’s outrage. Why are we not – for example – suggesting that we can’t possibly enter into any treaty arrangements with the USA while they execute such a high number of their citizens? Why are there suggestions that we boycott Bali, but not Mcdonalds?

Is it that we care more about the lives of these two Australians?

Or is it that we’ve been told who to get angry at? And rather than asking the sort of questions that may actually stop this happening again, we’d rather just find someone to hate, because that’s the easy thing. (She’s a witch, burn her!)

Yeah, we shouldn’t question our WAR ON DRUGS and taking a tough stance; it’s only Indonesia that have gone too far. Like Baby Bear’s porridge and other possessions, we’re always just right.

In spite of the UN protests, the executions went ahead. I guess the Indonesians, like Tony Abbott on asylum seekers, were sick of being lectured to by the UN…

“No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.”

John Donne

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Selective compassion

We must ask ourselves, are we truly a compassionate nation?

I am against the death penalty. I always have been and I always will be. I cannot see how we can say murder is a crime, yet kill people as a punishment. As expedient a solution as the death penalty may be, we should not be killing people.

That said, I cannot reconcile in my mind the public outcry over the looming executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran and the lack of public outcry over the incarceration of innocent children.

Despite Jeff Kennett’s rather flippant comment six days ago, we cannot deflect the blame onto the parents of the children. If we do that and follow that logic through, we should blame the parents of Chan and Sukumaran for raising children to become drug mules and clearly that is neither appropriate nor realistic.

Yes, the parents of the children took the children on a dangerous and torturous journey, seeking a safe haven. The parents are not responsible for locking the children up behind bars. No more than the parents of Chan and Sukumaran are responsible for Indonesia having the death penalty.

I understand there is not overwhelming concern in the community for the two people in Indonesia, yet there does seem to be far more concern than for the many hundreds of children suffering in detention. The Forgotten Children report, released by the Australian Human Rights Commission this month, provides comprehensive and horrifying details of the damage to these poor innocents.

Read the comments on articles about either situation. There are people who don’t see anything wrong with the executions or with the incarceration of the children. Yet it seems to me far more people in Australia are expressing anger about the executions than are irate about The Forgotten Children. Is this because in the case of the executions someone else (Indonesians) is doing the “bad” thing, while we (Australians) are doing the bad thing with the children?

Why this selective compassion? A life is a life. Many Australians are equally concerned about both situations, but it seems to me too many are not.

Under international human rights law neither the executions nor the incarcerations should be happening.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1948, recognizes each person’s right to life. It categorically states that “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” (Article 5). In Amnesty International’s view, the death penalty violates these rights.

The children haven’t committed ANY crime yet are being subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

We should be witnessing equal outrage for both situations, surely? I understand death is final, incarceration is not. Yet many of these children may be damaged for life. In one situation we are talking of two lives, in the other many hundreds of lives. Some of those children are highly likely to die in detention, probably more than two.

I do not understand the selective compassion. Do you?

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