In case you’ve been living under a rock the past few weeks (or if you’re a reader from outside of Australia), there are two convicted Australian drug smugglers on death row in Indonesia who are about to be executed.
Because of this, Australians are calling on a boycott on travelling to Bali, using the hashtag #BoycottBali on social media to publicise it.
The Australian government backed this up, with foreign minister Julie Bishop saying Aussies would “register their deep disapproval (of the executions) including by making decisions about where they wished to holiday”.
Personally, I think a boycott on travelling to Bali a ridiculous idea. How is a boycott possibly going to help us grant the drug smugglers clemency?
Two drug smugglers on death row
There’s been an uproar in Australia about the executions, as the men have been on death row for 10 years and have apparently rehabilitated during their time in jail. So the Australian government is making last minute attempts to try and save them, by liaising with – or dictating too, depending on your view – the Indonesian government.
Our prime minister, Tony Abbott even went so far as to make a ‘threat’ to the Indonesian government last week over the planned executions. Dave and I are divided on that one – I see it as a threat, he sees it as something that should’ve been said.
Either way, it seems that tensions between the Australian and Indonesian governments are running high right now.
Why the Bali boycott is ridiculous
Dave and I have planned to fly to Bali on the 30th of March. We will still be going.
Because a boycott isn’t going to do anything except harm the lives of the everyday Balinese people – hard working citizens who are probably against the death penalty themselves.
Because there’s no doubt that the people of Bali rely on tourism for their income. After the 2002 Bali bombings Qantas cut its flights to the island by half, because of a lack of demand, and many Balinese lost their livelihoods overnight.
We really aren’t looking at the bigger picture by boycotting Bali.
Is the Bali boycott going to get under Jakarta’s (where their ministers run the country from) nose? No.
Is the Bali boycott really going to influence Indonesia into stopping its executions? No.
All that these ignorant Australians are going to do, by boycotting Bali, is to cause misery for innocents.
Against the death penalty? Then you can’t be selective
Many are saying that it’s not just these executions that they’re against, it’s the death penalty in general that’s their true reason for the boycott.
If this is your reasoning, then I guess you better boycott the US. They have the death penalty there. And China, a country that executed an estimated 3,000 people last year.
In fact, you should probably boycott half the countries around the world, as 100 have the death penalty.
And if this is your argument, then you can’t believe some people deserve the death penalty more than others. There was outrage when many of the Bali bombers were let out of jail early (rightfully so, it’s a disgrace), but when the few that were executed were shot to death, I didn’t hear many Aussies complaining about the injustice of the death penalty.
So let’s not have these double standards. You’re either against the death penalty, or you’re not – regardless of the crime.
Don’t forget – they are guilty
I don’t believe in the death penalty, whether you’ve smuggled drugs or blown up innocent people, but there’s no doubting that the Aussie drug smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran knew the consequences when they decided to break the law.
I’m not sure what was running through their heads when they decided to take these steps to risk their lives, but they were obviously driven by greed and money.
Whether or not you believe they should die, they are guilty with both men having confessed to their crimes.
So these two men willingly smuggled drugs to a country which they knew had the death penalty, not only risking their lives but the lives of others who they recruited to be their drug mules.
This isn’t to mention all the other lives they’ve risked through the distribution of their drugs around Asia.
Who is speaking up for those victims?
Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran have since rehabilitated in jail, which is wonderful, but does this mean they’re any less guilty of the crimes they committed in the past?
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think the pair deserve to die. But I do think that there’s more that we can do than simply boycott Bali – action which I don’t believe is productive.
And those that do believe they should be executed? Well, how about you go and try to pull the trigger? I doubt you could do it.
Intervening in Indonesia’s affairs
Let’s think on the other foot for a moment. What if we wanted to go ahead with our own laws and rulings, and the Indonesian government intervened?
How would we feel about another government telling us what we can and can’t do?
I’m pretty sure that we would be mighty p%^*d off.
So why do we feel that we can tell the Indonesian government how to run their country?
We should not be acting like a bully, threatening the Indonesian government and telling them how to run their country in order to get clemency for two drug smugglers. Because if the shoe was on the other foot, we wouldn’t allow it.
Damage to Balinese businesses
So before you decide to boycott Bali, think again. Who is your boycott really hurting? Is it really going to influence the Indonesian President’s decision at all? Would your time be better spent writing a letter than deciding not to visit Bali at all?
Many Balinese don’t believe Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran should die, and yet it’s these innocent Balinese we’ll be hurting if we decide to boycott Bali.
Balinese business owners are already worried about the devastating effect this boycott could have on their livelihoods.
For us, we’re simply cancelling our beach holiday.
For them, it’s whether or not they’ll still be able to feed their children.