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Our outrage at Bali 9 executions hints at double standards

Australian death-row prisoners Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.
Australian death-row prisoners Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. Firdia Lisnawati, File

THE EXECUTION of Bali Nine ringleaders, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, appears to be unstoppable at this stage.

I confess I haven't spent a lot of time stressing over the situation although, as the mother of a son, I can - and do - empathise with the families. I also felt for the mother of Van Tuong Nguyen when he was hanged in Singapore in 2005 for heroin trafficking; he was unfortunate enough to be caught in transit in Changi Airport but still paid the ultimate price.

Do I think Chan and Sukumaran deserve to die? No. I was, obviously, a young adult a while back and still remember making some foolish decisions - although I drew the line well before strapping heroin to my body in a country that makes no secret of the fact that death is the penalty for such a monumentally stupid act.

The fact that they were leaving Indonesia and their obvious rehabilitation notwithstanding, these young Australians were attempting to profit from drugs and knew the risks they were taking.

I don't recall there being such an outcry previously in this country. Public figures such as actors Richard Roxburgh and Cate Blanchett, shock jock Alan Jones, artist Ben Quilty and Germaine Greer - strange bedfellows, indeed - have appeared in a video asking for the lives of Chan and Sukumaran to be spared.

There appears to be more than a touch of hypocrisy here from the Federal Government, and Australians who are demanding boycotts that will affect Indonesia. Suggestions have been made to avoid Bali as a holiday destination and cut foreign aid, while Tony Abbott has scared the pants off the Indonesian government by warning that: "Many Australians are very, very upset". Harsh words, Prime Minister.

I would have liked as big an outcry over the Federal Government sending our governor general, Sir Peter Cosgrove, to represent Australia at the funeral of the late Saudi ruler, King Abdullah, in January.

Saudi Arabia is more than a little partial to lopping off heads, hands or feet if a citizen displeases the local Sunni Muslim extremists. According to figures published in the Sydney Morning Herald last month, 87 people were relieved of their heads in Saudi Arabia last year.

And yet we all scream at the IS beheading unbelievers on YouTube (and who thought when we laughed at kittens playing the piano in the early days of the video phenomenon that it would be hijacked for such ugly scenes).

Our own human-rights disgrace that is children in detention on Nauru and Manus Island leaves us in a fairly dodgy place for pointing the finger.

Just a whiff of double standards.

Topics:  andrew chan bali bali 9 death penalty editors picks indonesia myuran sukumaran


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