Monday, November 04, 2002

I SUPPOSE WE SHOULD BE GRATEFUL. After three weeks, Phillip Adams has noticed that something might have happened in Bali, and perhaps it was worth commenting on.

An comment he does, naturally focussing the bulk of his words on his favourite subject, Adams, and how he feels about Bali. There is talk of Adams’ experiences with Balinese culture, Adams visiting [insert famous artist name here] in Bali. Some praise for the Balinese for their struggle:
Through the years I expected the onslaught of Western tourism to obliterate Balinese culture. Yet despite the distortions to the economy, despite the invasions of Germans, Italians, Australians, Americans and Javanese, despite being used as an exotic theme park by the world, a sort of tropical Disneyland, Bali and its traditions have proved tenacious.

He refers earlier to the Balinese traditions he is pleased to see maintained:
from time to time, pent-up feelings would boil over and there'd be sudden outbreaks of extreme violence, individual or even communal rages that couldn't be contained, or constrained,

But despite this wonderful tradition, Adams is prepared to assert the innocence of the locals:
Not violence resulting from the slow build-up of tensions within the rigidity of Bali's religious and social structures. This violence is not of their making.

What’s missing from this picture? There is not a single mention of Australian casualties. Not one. In fact, the only Westerners mentioned, apart from Adams’ friends, are tourists:
Drug addiction, HIV and prostitution came to the island on garudas with aluminium wings made by Boeing.

Drugs were previously unknown in a country with ancient trade ties to India? HIV, originating in Africa, could only have come in through Western contamination? It is good to know that Bali seems to be one of the few societies that has never known prostitution.

Adams has reached previously unthought of levels of depraved indifference. He has relegated the butchering of almost 100 of his countrymen to a less important status than domestic politicking, less urgent than bagging the Governor-General. The dead Australians, Swedes, Americans Danes and Brits are not worthy of his attention, but dead Balinese are not. The man has produced an equivalence that the most rabid Transnational Progressivist can only gaze at in awe and envy.

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