|Pale and afraid|
Amrozi, was a bit of an enigma. The continually grinning Bali Bomber inhabited
the pundit space somewhere between the smiling assassin and the village idiot.
Regardless, the smile was wiped off his face last night as he and two of
co-conspirators faced a firing squad for his efforts in promoting the Religion
of Peace. Media reports described his final moments as 'pale and afraid'. Maybe
he was starting to suspect that the whole thing was a trick. Maybe there
weren't 72 virgins for waiting him - maybe he was the virgin.
Several generations of Indonesians, of course, have been taught to hate
Australians by both their Islamic leaders and their corrupt
government. Focusing the hate toward the rich, hardworking and comparatively
uncorrupt nation to the the south was a good strategy both for the survival of
the dictatorship, and the religious elite.
But murdering 202 people in a nightclub was a bit excessive even if 88 of them
were Australians. This went way beyond the call of duty. Embarrassingly so.
The Indonesian government was shamed into accepting the help of the Australian
Federal Police in tracking the bombers, and their judiciary were then sullenly
forced to convict and then execute them - or have their hypocrisy and
corruption exposed to the whole world.
This is the cynical view of course. The un-cynical view is that the Indonesian
power bloc realized that the Bali bombers represented a zealotry which could
destabilize the government. Hatred of westerners is good, but must be
moderated. Government sanctioned protests outside the Australian embassy with
the occasional incursion into embassy grounds while burning the Australian
flag; spitting on foreigners in the street - that kind of stuff.
Regardless, the really interesting thing (as usual) was the reaction to the
executions. Most of Balinese Muslims seemed to be on Australian TV screaming
for more infidel's blood. No surprise there. This is pretty much what
Australians have come to except from Religion of Peace. Unfortunately some
Australians had the bad taste to celebrate with a beer. Faux pas!
Whether The State should
be in the business of executing people is a question of debate. One of the most
powerful arguments is 'we are no better than them if we kill too'. A
little contrite perhaps. But celebrating the spilling of Muslim blood because
the Muslims are celebrating the spilling of Christian blood? Hmm .. there but
for the grace of Allah ..
There is something disturbing about celebrating the execution of someone with a
beer. It is one thing to shrug, and say 'who cares?', or even
'at least it's over', or even a 'hoist by his own
petard'. It's quite another to actively celebrate someone's
execution. Even an evil psychopath like a Bali bomber.
But at least it's over.