Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Blood thirst – at best an opportune alibi – cannot win the war against drugs

Blood thirst – at best an opportune alibi – cannot win the war against drugs

It is tough to heal when the State – the guarantor of civil safety turns murderer. If Indonesia is serious in wiping out the drugs scourge, then it will do well to investigate with the help of the reprieved convict Mary Jane Veloso to net the traffickers who pushed her to be a courier. Mary Jane’s handlers in Manila pricked by their conscience surrendered to police quite literally at the eleventh hour. Executing her too will destroy the remaining goodwill and legitimacy of Indonesian Government’s war against drugs.

Indonesia is not alone in the war against drugs. The unseen enemy is most tough to get. It is only the unfortunate, impoverished, abused, insecure, unemployed people who resort to drugs to overcome these socio economic maladies. Broken homes lead to victims of emotional sexual and physical abuse who are preyed by drug lords. Poverty rides pillion. No State can ever remedy these ills.

Having said that, international drug mafia cannot operate in isolation, they are in connivance with corrupt elements. There are obviously glaring loopholes in border check-posts, customs counters and failure of intelligence; smokescreens of budget / backpacking hotels in havens like Kuta in Bali should be the starting point of robust anti-drug offensives.  

There was an allegation earlier this year that the Judges in the trial of the Bali Nine sought bribes for a lesser sentence. This needs to be investigated by international agencies for Indonesia to come clean on its judicial credibility.

Plugging these loopholes in Indonesian archipelago with 17408 Islands is all the more challenging. But sealing these loopholes is the long term corrective measure, till then blood thirst like this morning’s summary mass execution will only serve to further animosity and lead to a more unequal world order.

Indonesia can collaborate with ASEAN and SAARC countries and seek the help of Interpol to stymie the bud of drugs trafficking. In comparison blood lust of executions was not just barking up the wrong tree, but was cruel, unnecessary and serves no purpose at all.  Death sentence has not been a deterrent to any of the ills of the New World Order post IInd World War.

One cannot help wondering would this have been the outcome if there was, god forbid an Israeli or an American citizen (none should be subjected to capital punishment) amongst the convicted foreigners? The fact that a French citizen - one of the convicted prisoners - got EU warning issued to Government of Indonesia if executed is not lost to observers.

For the alleged Bali Nine Ring leaders the thrill and euphoria of cheating the customs officials was not only monetarily lucrative (possibly) but also maybe emotionally. They have paid a dear price for such frivolous immaturity. But the tragedy was that reforming did not help them. Worse, for Indonesia, the State has lost the best advocates against drug wars, the best source of intelligence to combat drug lordism. Surely those who connived – possibly police or Customs officials in Bali are relieved that their secrets have been covered by the lids of satin covered coffins. Whether or not these socio economic and political issues are sorted the uncompromising rulers have to answer many questions to the electorate and to their Makers.

If such blood thirst instincts of the firing squads are fed upon by repeated executions, pray what might be the fate of any endangered wildlife in the second most biodiverse nation on Planet Earth?  
Kuta district in Bali Denpasar is a drug Mafia haven. Respectable tourists are shy of visiting Kuta with its discos, bars, and budget hotels where puffing is neither a crime nor can be traced. 

The smokescreen that the puffers created has made it both a fad and fantasy detested by the sober, respectable tourists. The causes that trigger drug addiction are far more challenging to overcome. Blood thirst – at best an opportune alibi - will only make matters worse.

Malini Shankar

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