BALI NINE ringleaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran will almost certainly soon be dead, with capital penalties for drug crimes to be carried out after midnight; but an imbecilic video featuring supposed luminaries of Australia’s arts fraternity is a final insult to those who think the narcotics trade is insidious, and those who ply it evil. This puerile stunt — saturated in ignorance — unjustifiably politicises a reality in which no-one wins.
Let’s be honest about something: anyone who supports the death penalty — as I do — certainly doesn’t think what is about to happen to Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran is some sort of euphoric triumph, a victory of right and might over evil, or some vindictively based get-square that will leave those opposed to it somehow reeling and wallowing in the miserable depths of some irretrievable defeat.
In fact, it’s very sad; and whilst I have neither sympathy for Chan and Sukumaran nor a problem with the punishment they will shortly receive, they have families and law-abiding friends who no more deserve the grief and notoriety and disrepute the pair have brought them than those families who lost loved ones to the insidious scourge of narcotic drugs deserved the terrible fate Chan and Sukumaran sought to inflict on them, wilfully and for profit, and for which they will shortly pay with their lives.
There are no winners here, and to be blunt, any last-minute reprieve that seems certain not to eventuate would do nothing to resurrect the countless souls lost to drug overdoses and the rapes, murders, violence and other savagery that goes hand-in-glove with the drug trade.
It wouldn’t actually do Chan and Sukumaran much good either: it would martyr the pair, even if they lived to tell the tale, and turn them into a precedent case milked by any Australian whose stupidity landed them in comparable circumstances at some later date. In fact, they would probably (and ironically) regret the fact of their escape for the rest of their lives.
And it would do nothing for those seeking for decency and proper standards to be upheld and spread through the community, and one of the most offensive aspects of this whole saga as far as I am concerned is that this pair of specks of human filth have been feted and treated as virtual saints by Australia’s government, with pathetically abject and grovelling appeals to Indonesia to dispense with its own form of justice for no better reason than a sweeping generalisation that “we don’t support the death penalty in Australia,” and that contention is one I would very much like to see tested at a referendum at some point, for I believe support for capital punishment in Australia carries a clear majority of the voting public with it.
In short though, and to reiterate the point, there are no winners here.
Still, one contemptible band of death penalty opponents has chosen today to make a half-arsed, last-ditch stand, and rather than take aim at Indonesia, its President, its legal system and so forth, it has chosen instead to unjustly politicise the imminent executions of Chan and Sukumaran with a directly political attack on Tony Abbott that, in turn, is indisputably predicated on nothing more than lies and bullshit.
Headed up by allegedly the finest acting talent Australia has produced in Bryan Brown and Geoffrey Rush, this four-and-a-half minute diatribe is a moronic rant whose sole objective is to use the capital penalties meted out in and by Indonesia to damage Tony Abbott, and runs counter to the gargantuan (and in my view, excessive) efforts that have been made by the Prime Minister, Foreign minister Julie Bishop, and what appeared to be a bipartisan endeavour with the ALP to get Chan and Sukumaran off death row.
At least one person associated with this unimaginable stupidity must have seen the folly of their actions, for the footage was taken down from video sharing site Vimeo late today.
But someone had the foresight to upload a copy of it to YouTube first — where it has been viewed by tens of thousands of people in less than a day, and attracted about 80% disapproval from those who are registered on YouTube and who passed judgement on it.
Here’s the video; I urge everyone to watch it. It is blood-boiling, sanity-challenging, fact-defying cretinism.
“Fight for our citizens?” It is because Abbott, Bishop, and everyone else in the parliamentary claque have so exhaustively done exactly so that I have been critical of the time, effort, resources, money and diplomatic capital that has been devoted to the interests of two drug peddlers to the detriment of the wider Australian community.
“It’s time to fight for our boys, Mr Abbott,” one participant declares, apparently oblivious to the fact Abbott has done exactly that too.
One aspect of the attack suggests that if Abbott had “courage or compassion” he would “get over to Indonesia and bring these two boys home.” How? Walking onto foreign soil and arbitrarily abducting prisoners held under the law of that sovereign foreign country is an act of war, no less: assuming, that is, whomever undertook the abduction actually made it in and out again without being shot themselves, a defensive course of action the Indonesians would be perfectly entitled to take.
Perhaps the actors and their gaggle of parrots would like Abbott to declare war on Indonesia to “show courage.” What a brilliant thought…
“Grow some balls,” is not the sort of advice an ignoramus in international law ought to be dispensing to the Prime Minister, but it’s all here.
I’m not going to pick the whole thing apart, line by odious line — people can watch, after all — but about the only constructive suggestion this arrogantly bombastic effort makes is that Abbott physically go to Indonesia: and I would counter that given its President, Joko Widodo, has stoutly refused to even speak to the Prime Minister by telephone, showing up in person and demanding an audience is likely to see him left standing on the steps of the presidential palace, humiliated before a hungry international press pack, and achieving nothing.
Then again, seeing Abbott humiliated in such a fashion — despite the unbelievable lengths to which his government has gone to try to have the condemned duo’s sentences commuted — is probably high on the wish list of the bunch who made this film.
And in any case it is, now, too late — and, conveniently, it was already too late by the time this thing went live, too.
But whoever the idiot in the video was that suggested Abbott somehow confer diplomatic immunity on a couple of hardened, recidivist, big-league international drug traffickers as a way of secreting them out of Indonesia, I can only shake my head. Ignorant doesn’t begin to describe it. Dangerous either, for that matter. These people purport to be intelligent individuals. But their effort with a camera and editing software, in this case, suggests the complete opposite to be the case.
I have said enough about Chan and Sukumaran; whether you agree with their fate or desperately dispute the suitability of their sentences, or support the death penalty or its abolition, and whether vengeance or compassion or punishment or forgiveness is your watchword, the time for an outcome that does not feature their execution by gunshot appears to be at its end.
But every person who participated in that video — from Rush and Brown down — ought to be ashamed of themselves.
Very few commentators — whether for or against the death penalty — have sought to politicise this matter in a partisan fashion; I have been careful, too, not to present this in Liberal vs Labor terms, for it is nothing of the sort.
It is true that I think efforts to persuade unreceptive Indonesian officials to alter the death penalty have gone on for too long and, indeed, have gone too far; it was obvious, months ago, that Indonesia had determined to be resolutely impenetrable where pleas for Chan and Sukumaran were concerned, and so it has proven.
If anything, Australia — its government, its opposition, community leaders and individual citizens — have gone too far simply on account of the grotesquely slavering and fawningly sycophantic flavour these efforts have taken on in recent weeks: and this, far from persuading Indonesia, has probably only galvanised its opposition to any form of clemency and hardened its resolve to give no quarter in making public examples of the pair as part of its crackdown on (and execution of) drug smugglers apprehended on its soil.
In fact, I have to wonder whether the announcement this morning that Chan and Sukumaran would be denied their choice of religious counsellors to witness their execution is somehow a response to such a notion; certainly, this was a brazen and wanton act of cruelty that I find horrific. I might be in favour of capital punishment, but that particular decision by the Indonesians today was brutal, heartless, and unnecessarily inflammatory, given the passions and competing interests that are at stake.
Those who made that video have sought to lie, mislead, and deceive; no sane or rational person could do anything other than laud Abbott and his government for their efforts, and it is telling that for perhaps the only time in years, Shorten-led Labor and its MPs have not merely supported the government, but commendably walked in lockstep with it.
But one bunch of grubs on the Left — unable to control themselves on the endless, senseless quest to destroy Tony Abbott without principle, without proof, and using literally any pretext to do so without compunction — nonetheless has taken it upon themselves to sink the boot into the Prime Minister publicly, at a time they must have known was far too late for anything further to be done, and in a way that will merely compound Australia’s humiliation in Indonesian eyes on account of the excessive effort that was invested in the quest to get Chan and Sukumaran off death row in the first place.
The real offence in what they have done is to those who have been adversely touched by the drug trade in some way, for their filthy little hick flick won’t damage the Prime Minister.
And so — whether you think Chan and Sukumaran should be executed or not — this is just one final insult contrived in their names.
There might be no winners from their deaths, but these grubs have ensured the episode will remain that much more painful — and divisive — than it had to be, and for much longer than it should be, once the sounds of gunshot are replaced by deafening silence in a few hours’ time.