Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Chan and Sukumaran

Amnesty International rang me this afternoon asking me to attend a vigil for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, who are likely to be executed in Indonesia in the next couple of weeks. I am an Amnesty member and against the death penalty, so it should be a no-brainer. I probably will be there.

But I feel very conflicted about it. Here is why.

Indonesia's sovereignty. The Republic of Indonesia has always had the death penalty, and they have used it regularly since 1973. People inside and outside the country can pressure them to repeal it for all the excellent reasons that apply everywhere else too. And of course in this particular case we can appeal for clemency and so on. But we have done those things. Sometimes they may work but in this case the President of the country has considered it and declined.

The big picture. I want the death penalty repealed in Indonesia. Bashing Joko Widodo over the head with the specifics of this case – the involvement of the AFP, the rehabilitation efforts of the men, their distraught families – none of that will actually help push Indonesia to repeal.

Collateral damage.  In pushing Indonesia to repeal, we need to pick our battles. It’s like selecting a test case to take to court. You may be one of many victims of a criminal, but yours is not the clearest case. The police take another case to court knowing that they have a better chance for conviction. Your own case may never be heard, you are just collateral damage in a larger war. If people in Australia would like test the death penalty in Indonesia, maybe take a wider interest in Indonesian justice. We hear that its corrupt, patchy, painfully slow. Maybe more Australians could get behind an international organisation like Amnesty that tries to work within existing frameworks, applying leverage in the most effective way. You can bet that there are dozens of Indonesian citizens on death row whose convictions were not so cut and dried. I’d rather devote my efforts to having their cases re-examined, saving them and demonstrating the pitfalls of the death penalty, anywhere, for anyone. These Australians may just be collateral damage in a longer struggle.

Consistency. [Take away the death penalty for a second.] If you want to intervene to change their sentence, is it because they are Aussies? Because they are sorry? Because they were dudded by the AFP? Because they lead prayer groups and painting classes?  I don’t feel like I want to change someone’s sentence on that basis. They were guilty, they did a terrible thing and dragged seven others down with them. Rehab is great, good for them, but it was not a hard thing to choose. For me they can rot in jail. [OK, bring back the death penalty.] Now I have to act whether I like it or not. I argued against death for the Bali bombers. Even for Russell Brewer. But I am pretty sure Alan Jones wasn't on my side then.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Seven Mile Beach

We just spent our first of seven nights at a beach resort, courtesy of my mum and dad. It is very nice, has a tennis court and swimming pool, on-site restaurant, and we are in a very private self-contained unit. Of course I am missing the dog and cat, but I will see them shortly when I go home to do some work. We are only twenty minutes away from South Hobart, at Seven Mile Beach.

Mum and Dad have stayed at a couple of Wyndham resorts, and joined some kind of frequent fliers club where you accrue points. They gave us a brochure to choose which resort we would like to stay at, using some of their points. Due to a combination of work commitments and lack of liquidity, we found the only option that worked for us was just crossing the bridge and coming out here near the airport to Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific Seven Mile Beach (to use its correct name).

I have bought a carton of books and articles to read, but we found last night that there is pay TV with it's dazzling menu of live sport. I will need to exercise some degree of will power to stick to Plan A rather than just soaking up all 90 minutes plus injury time of relegation battlers Everton v West Brom, for instance.

I have not made a general announcement to clients that I am clocking off for a week. I didn't think it would be necessary as last year work was quite slow to pick up after Christmas, but I have two clients who are already up and going and expecting me to be likewise. I think that a couple of hours today and possibly the same tomorrow should take care of the pressing things that can't wait for our return.

Approx. 3.5 miles of the seven.
The resort is handily located to Hobart Airport

Michael's birthday was on the 24th, so we took with us this turntable, his birthday present.

The units were cleverly designed to be quite private from one another although they are all cheek by jowl. Skilful landscaping.

A radar installation I guess.

The birthday boy, now 11.