No, not more about the lass stuck in the Bali jail. The issue now is the patronising parochialism of our 'western' neighbours who don't create a fuss about an Australian facing a firing squad
albeit for attempting to traffic heroin from Vietnam into Australia.
Why hasn't there been a bigger fuss? Because Nguyen Van Chinh is of Vietnamese origin or because the case involves heroin?
Quite rightly, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has appealed to stay the execution of Chinh as he does with all Australians sentenced to death overseas
, including Nguyen Tuong Van of Melbourne on death row in Singapore.
Another concern raised by the Schapelle kerfuffle is the issue of marijuana being rated as a harmful substance. The following is taken verbatim from the latest issue of the email subscriber newsletter Travel Impact Newswire
which has been forwarded to Jakartass by Son One who works in the travel business back in Blighty. Incidentally, he tells me that in the UK "it's a hidden story".Australians tend to forget about their own system and its injustices, not just in the past regarding how the rightful owners of the land were treated by the forced or voluntary migrants who took over under colonization, but recently regarding would-be immigrants and refugees, who spend years in camps, even their whole lives as with the little Malaysian girl.
Although I'm sure that an Indonesian drug trafficker to Australia would get due process of law, he or she would get the sentence meted out in such cases even if he or she proclaims innocence. I'm sure also that if an Australian man of Vietnamese origin gets caught smuggling drugs to Indonesia or Thailand, not many people will start campaigns on his behalf, even if he claims innocence.
As for the Indonesian law system, there is a reasonable doubt that this girl is innocent, as it seems pretty dumb to import expensive marijuana from Australia to Indonesia, and there seems to be security problems in Australian airports cargo handling areas. It would have been compassionate for the judges to take this into account.
Even if the poor girl was trying to smuggle drugs, she is probably no hardened criminal, maybe just guilty of stupidity, and a more lenient sentence would have served both the cause of justice, and of Indonesia's image.
On the other, and on a more global arena, who but the western power and culture imposed on the world their view that cannabis was a dangerous drug to be banned? For most of human history and in many cultures, cannabis has been a widely used plant, both as a raw material with many uses, as medication, in religious rituals and for recreation of the mind.
When synthetic products competing with what could be made with cannabis appeared (such as nylon ropes, for example), the anti-cannabis campaign got more rabid. In the end, many countries that could have done good business by growing the plant, had to forget about it, while chemical corporations grew rich.
How many people die every year from alcohol or tobacco as compared to those dying from cannabis use? Well, practically nobody dies from cannabis use. Then again, who makes the most money from alcohol and tobacco?
So after vilifying cannabis and imposing the view that its production, consumption and trafficking should be punished, isn't it ironic that westerners are now unhappy when one of their own gets punished for a cannabis related offense?
Ah, the evil weed. Tobacco.
Whilst getting slightly squiffy last night with a few draught Bintangs, I was given 2 complementary packs of cappuccino flavoured (eh
Assuming you don't already know the answer to the question "who makes the most money from alcohol and tobacco
", consider that last week it was announced that the government was planning to raise retail prices of cigarettes
in July, to help plug the state budget deficit, as well as to discourage people from smoking.
Of course the cigarette producers are fuming
. (Sorry, not my pun.) But not Philip Morris
which now owns 97% of Sampoerna (which) was founded in 1913 and today is Indonesia's third largest tobacco company with a 19.4% cigarette market share in 2004.
Philip Morris obviously benefits financially from its global reach
. (Australian readers might like to know, or maybe not, that Philip Morris owns Vegemite
, that famous Aussie gunk.)
The problem for Jakartass and zillions of other addicts here is that our addiction is cheap. If only we were social pariahs and our addiction was expensive, as in the UK
. A carton of ten packs costs less than one pack in the UK, about 30p per pack.
If marijuana were legal and similarly cheap here, Corby would not have caused international ructions
and Jakartass would not have a wracking cough.