I am the first to Om’bak post-execution. So it is inevitable that it be what I write about. Inevitable, but not enjoyed. You just can’t have a website that encourages discussion between Indonesia and Australia without mentioning the executions of the Bali bombers.
I don’t believe in the death penalty, and I hate talking about executions past saying “I hate talking about executions”. Violence is futile.
A lot of the media coverage since Sunday morning has centered on the media fiasco — as if the media is separate from the media itself.
According to political experts quoted in The Jakarta Post on Monday, the government and the media are responsible for turning the three convicted Bali bombers — Amrozi, Ali Ghufron and Imam Samudra — into “martyrs”.
Critics blamed the increased support for the three terrorist on the government’s months of indecisiveness, sympathetic media coverage and politicizing of the issue by certain groups.
And they would be right to do so.
In an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald, Ken Ward, a former senior analyst with the Office of National Assessment, highlighted how the bombers became celebrities before their deaths and the conditions that allowed them to do so. “The three enjoyed a lot of freedom in prison.”
From behind bars, the flow of information was barely tampered. They were media interviews and access to telephones and the Internet. And Imam Samudra published his memoirs to “justify” the attacks from the inside.
In an editorial titled “Good riddance“, The Jakarta Post again writes about the public parade, about how the spectacle can finally end following the executions.
The final paragraph reads:
Good riddance. The world is so much better without them. The pain and suffering they have caused many people all these years can only begin to heal now.
The Bali bombers never publicly expressed remorse for their actions. The editorial says the men are evil and, therefore, deserve to die.
But the issue of media access to the bombers is separate to the death penalty debate. And they shouldn’t be confused. It is important that the media, and everyone, makes the distinction.
I agree that is wrong that the bombers were granted access to lines of communication to promulgate their “message”. The debacle, however, shouldn’t have ended with bullets.