The Indonesian finger 20



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My sympathy for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran is tempered by the fact that they knew what they were doing when they embarked on their criminal enterprise; a misguided act that turned, by virtue of its location, into a long and ultimately successful suicide bid. It is hardly the first time the path to riches has become the road to ruin. The reaction to their deaths will be brief and angry in Australia (no one seems to care much that six other people died with them), before everyone moves on, surfing the rolling waves of the 24 hour news cycle.

It is both interesting and pathetic that they were killed in the causes of punishment and deterrent. Indonesia is one of a number of countries which still cling to the barbaric practice of murdering criminals. And not just common or garden spontaneous murder, either. Capital punishment is the ultimate form of ordered, calculated and premeditated murder. Ironic, then, that the punishment in these countries for murder is also capital punishment.

Is it a deterrent? Clearly not, as State Murder Nations continue to slaughter criminals on a regular basis. Is it a punishment? Of course, though I often wonder if a lifetime of reflection while confined to a prison is more suitable to punish major crime. If I was a cynical person, I would mention cost at this point.

Murder as punishment is unlikely to disappear from Indonesia for some time, especially while first world countries like the US (at least their killing states) also still struggle with the concept of civilisation. Perhaps, one day, governments will commit real resources to tackling the causes of the demand for criminal enterprises rather than concentrating on the pointy illegal entrepreneurial end of the business. One day.

In the meantime, the Australian government and the opposition will jump up and down, Tony Abbott will rattle his sabre, withdraw the ambassador, threaten to withhold aid, review trade treaties, issue travel warning and implement various other large and small and similarly futile gestures. But all this is for domestic consumption; public anger at a ‘ totally unacceptable’ act and anger that Australian politicians were completely and humiliatingly powerless to stop Indonesia from murdering two of our citizens.

Indonesia could not care less, a point they have just illustrated spectacularly. They will protest Australia’s reaction and complain about the interference in their sovereign affairs and legal system, but it’s all for diplomatic show and doesn’t mean a thing.

Indonesia has just told Australia in no uncertain terms to go f**k itself and, as throughout the history of the world, normal relations, after a short pause for tantrums, will resume.


Do you agree with Steven? What are your opinions on what will happen now that the two Australians have been executed?

Steven Harrison

Steve Harrison lives in Sydney with his wife and daughter and is the author of TimeStorm, an epic action adventure, time travel, historical romance novel (he sends his apologies to any missed genres). He also makes short films under his Pronunciation Fillums partnership. Steve's website is at

  1. …”Indonesia has just told Australia in no uncertain terms to go f**k itself and, as throughout the history of the world, normal relations, after a short pause for tantrums, will resume.” Sadly this last paragraph sums it up exactly. I wish the politicians would cut the trade between the two countries, I wish the politicians would love Australia as much as they love their Indonesian counterparts, but most of all I wish our politicians would tell Indonesia to go f**k itself. There are other countries that would welcome our trade let our politicians get off their backsides and start negotiations afresh and leave Indonesia floundering as it deserves to flounder.

    4 REPLY
    • Yes, ChrisM, I agree too. I want all aid to Indonesia stopped. They changed their govt policy, and murdered two of our citizens. We can change our policy and leave them to look after their own.

    • Oh shut up and get a life!! Who cares about a couple of drug smuggling low lives who have seen the light and reformed, they knew all about it and thumbed their noses at society and have got what they deserve. As for our Government wasting time and effort over them, that is laughable. Good on you Indonesia, we should have the death penalty for drug smuggling too, it prevents recidivism and is cost effective too. There is not enough comment made about the fact that the Australian law enforcement called the Indonesian police to advise them of the activities of these people.
      Where is the outrage about that!!! These are the people who sentenced them to death, I hope they sleep well.
      As for retribution against Indonesia, I do not think they give a toss and why should they.

    • where did these drugs come from in the first place? Go to the source and lock those ones up!!!!!

  2. Sadly people have short memories and this will all pass – and with in a few months all will be back to business as usual.!!!!

  3. Tony Abbott is brown nosing Indonesia and doesn’t want to cause any more waves as Trade is more important than human life. I bet Australia will give Indonesia Aide money too. he is not game enough to tell the Indonesians to go F..k themselves as they may become offended again. Poo to them. They have done enough damage in West Papua and the Genocide that they have performed there is so sad and scary. They have Abbott by the B.lls.

  4. My sympathies go to the boys families for what they had to go through. I do not condone what they did as I am against the drug trade and what it does to people lives. However I have watched the media like many of us have and it seems to me that Widodo has milked this situation for all he could. I honestly cannot see how his is the last word in any of those situations when they have been through the court system. He should be made accountable as they had been granted another court proceeding and that is not in court until next month, what will be his excuse if it is found that there was bribery, will he sweep that under the carpet too. He is a total hypocrite when one of their citizens in another country is sentenced to death he negotiates for their freedom

  5. Maybe you would feel different about it if your child or grandchild was hooked on heroin. No matter what you say the death penalty ensures that they wont do it again an it has probably saved thousands of people years of misery. Rehabilitated?? Easy when you are facing the death penalty and it is the only possible way out. It is not up to the taxpayer to fun d the return of their bodies. Let the families who have been sharing in their earnin gs pay for it.

    1 REPLY
    • Well said Rob.for every action there is a consequence.Legal death should be the consequence for. 1 Murder
      2. Treason
      4. Drug running
      Execution should be by lethal injection, and carried out within 3 days of the of the verdict.
      1 appeal only.
      And when it comes to life sentences, then 3 score and 10 ( I.e 70 years no parole
      Get rid of the parole system, and the minimum bail to be 250 thousand dollars.
      You will soon see crime figures go down.
      And it is time to put all efforts in looking after victims and their families.
      These 2 executed criminals probably caused many many drug deaths and ruined countless numbers of family stress and breakdowns.

  6. I have little sympathy for this pair as by their own admissions this was not the first or even fifth time they had smuggled drugs. My sympathy goes to those misguided who think we are an important enough country that we can say “You can’t give our people the death penalty just because the are in the top 5 worst kind of criminals”.

  7. I sympathise with the families especially what they had to suffer from the disgusting actions by the press. But they were drug smugglers and up near the top of the pecking order. large signs at the airports and they thumbed their noses more than once at the indonesian law got what the law states there. Two people get so much publicity,yet the same charge and sentence to a guy in china gets zilch, it is just grandstanding by Abbot to get a boost in the pols

  8. How many thousands of dollars of tax payers money has been spent by our government flying over to Indo to stop what is another countries right to do what their rules are?
    I feel for all the family and friends of these 2 man however you do the crime you do the time and if that time is death, so be it. However, the people who were found guilty of the Bali bombing killing many people were let out of prison. So killing people is not treated as bad as drug trafficking.
    I am confused with their system.

  9. The REALITY is that these CRIMINALS finally got caught after very likely many, many similar crimes! Of course, ALL the Bali bombers should have been executed as well! AND, Abbott/Bishop/Hockey DO NOT speak for me or the majority of Australians who actually support the DEMOCRATIC Indonesian LAWS …and if people don’t believe/accept that then lets have a poll for it! Of course the pollies won’t do that but they are happy to jump on the bandwagon to try to win a few more votes….BUT, they will lose a heap of votes instead! AND, all the liars(I mean lawyers) are making BIG $$ off the Aussie taxpayer who is paying for all this representation for these so-called reformed CRIMINALS. Of course, they are model prisoners…they don’t have a choice there!!!! THINK ABOUT IT, then think about the harm they have done Australian society! HEY, should we recall the Ambassadors for the USA, China, Saudi etc etc

  10. I feel more sorry for the family of the young mentally ill man whom they executed. Corruption is endemic in Indonesia. They are still barbarians.

  11. The worst thing about this whole episode is the way the Indoneaian government made this into a Spectacle, with heavy handed transport, tanks etc, to move 2 Aussie men, who, as we have been told and shown on the Media, have really tried to become a positive influence e on many prisoner’s lives, were regarded as a threat….come on….all they wanted to show is their power. Let’s all agree to never holiday in their region again!

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