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January 2015
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Illegitimate

I don’t consider any government that commits murder or violates basic human rights to be legitimate.

Capital punishment and public opinion

The campaign to abolish capital punishment in Indonesia suffered a huge setback following the execution of six drug traffickers over the weekend.

The voices of abolitionists were drowned out by those who came out in support of president Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, who used the executions as an important part of his war against drug abuse in this country.

Public opinion in Indonesia is still overwhelmingly in favour of retaining capital punishment, certainly for the most heinous crimes, including drug trafficking, which is rampant in this country and has such deadly effects. […]

Eleventh-hour appeals last week in phone calls to Jokowi for stays of execution from Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and King Willem of the Netherlands, whose citizens were among the six executed, fell on deaf ears.

Prime minister Tony Abbott has also been on the phone with Jokowi trying to save two convicted Australian drug traffickers, whose executions are apparently imminent.

Abbott has to prepare for disappointment and Indonesia for more diplomatic fallout.

The foreign leaders’ interventions, well-meaning as they are, may even have done a disservice to the abolitionists’ cause.

The executions have now been turned into a question of Indonesia’s national pride with accusations flying about the West imposing its human rights values on us.

But, as the saying goes, the harder they push, the stronger Indonesia pushes back.

In response to these foreign meddlers, Indonesia has invoked its sovereignty rights and legal system, which recognises the death penalty.

And with 58 more on death row, we can expect a few more executions, including many non-Indonesians, in the coming days or weeks, just to make a point.

The human rights campaigners and abolitionists have now learned to their dismay that compassion is not president Jokowi’s strongest suit, if he has any at all. […]

This may have been the reason why barely three months into office, Jokowi ordered the executions of the dozens of drug traffickers on death row.

His sagging popularity must have improved for taking a strong stand on drug abuses and for standing up to foreign meddlers.[…]

Supporters of the death penalty for drug traffickers rely on religious leaders endorsing the killing of human beings, even though most major religions advocate compassion and forgiveness above any act of vengeance.

The jury is still out that the death penalty will deter drug traffickers, but then this matters little in Indonesia. Public opinion very much wants it.

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9 comments to Illegitimate

  • Mr_Alex

    I would like to add, it is time to ask Kevin Sabet on what was his involvement with Mel Sembler who founded the straight group or program which Lee Fang wrote in the nation exposing Straight which is now known as Partnership for a Drug Free America which was involved in torturing cannabis users and other drug users, this is not just vile, it’s pure evil

  • Crut

    The jury is still out that the death penalty will deter drug traffickers, but then this matters little in Indonesia. Public opinion very much wants it.

    Basic universal mob mentality:
    Never underestimate the stupidity of smart people in large groups. The instinct to conform to the perceived social norm overrides the intellect of the individual.

    • Deep Dish

      Back in college, I took a class on the death penalty. The driving point of the professor throughout the semester was, not only do what people think they know about the death penalty is usually wrong, but people almost never change their opinion regardless how much their opinion is proven factually wrong. At the end of the semester, the professor polled the class and, out of maybe 30 students, I was one of maybe two people who raised a hand that an opinion had changed. It’s prejudice all the way down.

  • “The jury is still out that the death penalty will deter drug traffickers, but then this matters little in Indonesia. Public opinion very much wants it.”

    Common sense be damned.

  • Will

    “Supporters of the death penalty for drug traffickers rely on religious leaders endorsing the killing of human beings, even though most major religions advocate compassion and forgiveness above any act of vengeance.”

    The largest Muslim population in a country is in Indonesia, a nation home to 12.7% of the world’s Muslims (Wikipedia).

    Their religion — Islam — dictates draconian measures when certain crimes are committed, such as chopping off the hands of convicted thieves (among other measures). It just is what it is.

  • darkcycle

    Indonesia is executing mostly political dissidents, openly gay and trans people and a smattering of drug criminals. They have always hidden their political purges behind the drug laws we forced them to adopt.

  • Servetus

    Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s treatment of drug smugglers reveals how he is likely to treat everyone else, whether it’s an individual, or a nation. Indonesia began its legacy of human rights crimes in East Timor, with the United States looking the other way. They continue their human rights crimes today, using drug laws that allow for a systemic purging of Indonesian society of its infidels and other undesirables.

    The fact that Obama didn’t make a phone call to try to stop the executions demonstrates the U.S. still looks the other way in the drug war, much as it does in Latin America. In Mexico’s drug war, 100,000+ have died and another 27,000+ are considered ‘disappeared’. In Colombia, the U.S. sanctioned drug-war-based Plan Colombia has killed an estimated 343,000. The murders in large part are of innocent, indigenous civilians who are forced out of their homes to make way for large scale mineral and petroleum extractions. Phony government drug raids occurring at night use fragmentation bombs to terrorize the people into relocating and giving up their property to corporations that plunder the natural resources. The drug war is not just some injustice in sheep’s clothing, it’s a weapon for capitalists.

    People’s preferences for the death penalty are partly the responsibility of their leaders, since certain people tend to imitate their leaders. Historical examples exist of people forming bloodthirsty groups who glorify in the suffering of society’s scapegoats. The Roman Coliseum, the executions of heretics at auto-da-fe’s, the guillotines of the French Revolution; public executions have a very deleterious moral effect on their audiences, who tend to treat the spectacle as a festive occasion. That’s why someone invented “civilization”, a device designed to eliminate the ability of people such as Jokowi to act like a barbarian.