Post post

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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.

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5 Responses to “Post post”

  1. nyscha Says:

    I agree. I am totally against capital punishment. I think it solves nothing. I don’t have an empirical basis for my opinion, no loved ones of mine have been murdered (God forbid), but killing the killer won’t bring back the victim.

    Perhaps for the victim’s family and friends, watching the person they hate most being shot dead is satisfying or soul-redeeming or something, but I regard death as something inevitable, even sometimes cowardly, it’s not a form of punishment in my opinion.
    Killing a killer just sets their spirit free. That’s it. Nothing bad about that, they don’t suffer. If I had my way I’d reinstate torture chambers and such. Whiplash and metal cuffs hurt more than death, I’m sure.

    Spiritually speaking, I think a human being’s soul isn’t ours to give nor take away. Playing God should stop at the sheep-cloning. Don’t need to expand it even more by passing judgment on who deserves to live or not.

  2. bellesbits Says:

    I keep wondering what impact the Australian government’s response to this (silence) will have when some (or at least one) of the bali nine are executed. (They were caught trying to smuggle heroin from Indo to Aus.)

    There was a lot of diplomatic huffing and puffing when Van Tuong Nguyen was executed by Singapore on drugs charges in 2005.

    You don’t need to point out to me the difference between Nguyen’s crime and the Bali bombers’ actions that night in Kuta — but I don’t think that’s the point. The point is if you oppose capital punishment, you oppose it flat out, not just ‘a bit’. Not just when campaigning against it will help you with voters or donors- where were the bleeding heart Australian pollies and Amnesty International this time?

    All I’m saying it then any diplomatic intervention concerning executions between Indonesia and Australia from now on is tainted. There can be no credible argument now to spare any of the Bali Nine, that ‘execution degrades us all’ or any of the high moral arguments that were used to attempt to save Nguyen.

    Oh really? Where were your high moral singsongs when your ethics were really tested? (Then again… it would have been political suicide).

    But instead, in saying nothing about the execution and the media broadcasting their views we’ve raised a bit of fundamentalist fevour, made three madmen martyr rockstars and failed ourselves.

  3. delilah Says:

    Why in the world, they (govt. + the media) turned those terrorists into celebrities? Did the govt. do it as a way to announce that they finally had the guts to punish those people? And kept pending the execution so that they got more and more coverage? What was the intention of doing that? What’s the hidden massage of that?

    I believe the two elements (govt + media) have a lot work to do.

    I am not a fan of capital punishment but I think a torture chamber (or something like that) is not an answer either. It’s really hard (if it’s not impossible) to think a way that is fair to everyone involved and fix the whole problem. We can set another long endless debate which punishment is better over the other. And it’s almost impossible to reach an agreement in the end of course.

    But to make those three martyrs into celebrities, that’s just way too wrong. It’s something that the govt and the media should be ashamed of.

  4. bilangela Says:

    I think there needs to be more discussion on when and to whom capital punishment is applied. I personally am against it under all circumstances, but why does everyone who opposes CP have to oppose it flat out? Sure, idealistically it makes sense, but I think it’s credible to debate the nuances of it. I know someone who is against CP except in the case of terrorism. Where that may bring about a whole lot of arguments about what terrorism is exactly – you could say the US is terrorising Iraq – I think it’s valid to have an opinion like that.

    BTW, did you know Obama is pro-CP for paedophiles? See, to me, that makes less sense than executing terrorists. I think paedophiles are much more likely, although not necessarily, to have psychological illnesses than terrorists.

    Yes, I think it’s interesting that the Australian government, who is outspoken about opposing CP, did not have the guts to talk about these executions, but as Belles Bits said, it would have been political suicide. With the Bali Nine, the Australian government has a policy of trying to help its own citizens facing CP, but won’t directly interfere with other nationals.

    I think there now pushing for a moratorium on CP and were waiting for the executions to start doing so.

  5. bilangela Says:

    I think there needs to be more discussion on when and to whom capital punishment is applied. I personally am against it under all circumstances, but why does everyone who opposes CP have to oppose it flat out? Sure, idealistically it makes sense, but I think it’s credible to debate the nuances of it. I know someone who is against CP except in the case of terrorism. Where that may bring about a whole lot of arguments about what terrorism is exactly – you could say the US is terrorising Iraq – I think it’s valid to have an opinion like that.

    BTW, did you know Obama is pro-CP for paedophiles? See, to me, that makes less sense than executing terrorists. I think paedophiles are much more likely, although not necessarily, to have psychological illnesses than terrorists.

    Yes, I think it’s interesting that the Australian government, who is outspoken about opposing CP, did not have the guts to talk about these executions, but as Belles Bits said, it would have been political suicide. With the Bali Nine, the Australian government has a policy of trying to help its own citizens facing CP, but won’t directly interfere with other nationals.

    I think they’re now pushing for a moratorium on CP and were waiting for the executions to start doing so.

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