Thursday, November 07, 2002

Maybe now we can stop pretending the Indonesians count? Can stop pretending that their system is the equal of ours? That what they say cannot be trusted, ever?

The delicacy of Australia's challenge in repairing its relationship with its neighbours while responding strongly to the bombing was further highlighted by damaging misreporting in Indonesia of comments by Ms Megawati. She was wrongly reported in two leading newspapers, Kompas and Media Indonesia, as having called the Prime Minister, John Howard, in recent days urging him to stop police and ASIO agents conducting "sweeping" raids against Indonesian citizens living in Australia.

So according to the Herald, we have to repair our relationship with the country that failed to prevent the murder of almost a hundred of our citizens. While we do this, we have to smile wide while the President of that country, who has flatly denied the existence of terrorists in her country, criticises our efforts to prevent similar occurrences here:
The Indonesian President, Megawati Soekarnoputri, has cautioned Australia not to overreact to the terrorism threat and not to harass Indonesian nationals, as the increasingly brittle relationship between the countries became further strained.

“further strained”? Baby, you don’t know from strained yet. Wait till we start attaching aid donations to anti-terrorism initiatives. Wait till we start seriously discouraging Australian businesses from paying bribes to Indonesian officials. Wait till we stop helping your armed forces maintain that little edge they have on the unarmed population. Wait till we stop pretending that your country is something other that spare parts flying in loose formation.
What about “wrongly reported”? Well, that doesn’t matter to the Indonesian Vice President:
Labor's foreign affairs spokesman, Kevin Rudd, in Jakarta for talks with Indonesian officials, said the Vice-President, Hamzah Haz, had confirmed Ms Megawati "had a conversation about this" with Mr Howard.

So the slimy little worm is so keen to impress the Australian Opposition, that he flat out lies to Rudd, in an effort to look tough. Try to imagine the response if the Australian Foreign Minister confirmed something that never happened?

What about the rest of the local aristocracy?
with relations between Indonesia and Australia the dominant political issue in the Indonesian media at present, politicians were quick to get involved in the dispute and add credibility to the incorrect claims.
The Speaker of the parliament, Akbar Tanjung, welcomed Ms Megawati's wrongly reported complaint, saying: "I think what's being put up by President Megawati is a positive thing. I think our Government must take action to protest those actions [raids on Indonesians in Australia]."

And it’s not just Indonesia. Regional poobahs have just finished their regular Australia-bashing meeting, and have again managed to blame everything on everyone else. The Tranzi population are again frustrated in shifting Australia To Be Part Of Asia:
this week's Association of South-East Asian Nations meeting in Phnom Penh, which decided to shelve Australia's application for a seat at its annual leaders' summit.

Can somebody tell me why we should even want to be in on this?
Dr Mahathir [Malaysian strongman] said claims by Australia and the United States that many parts of South-East Asia were now unsafe for tourists could equally be applied to those two countries.
"As far as the travel warning is concerned, I think Australia is unsafe as are the other ASEAN countries. In fact, at the moment Australia is particularly unsafe for Muslims."
In an apparent reference to recent police raids on suspected extremists, Dr Mahathir said Australian Muslims were being endangered by indiscriminate raids on their homes.
"I see pictures of doors being broken, which I don't think is essential. So people today are exposed to danger wherever they may be."

State and Federal Police enforce legally-obtained warrants, arrest no-one, and repair the damage caused to the one door broken in. This is the same as car bombings that kill hundreds. The same as religious riots that kill thousands.

Tell you what, Sunshine. When your country starts sending my country aid donations, maybe I’ll listen. When Australians start flying to Kuala Lumpur for medical treatment, you might get taken seriously. When our students start paying big bucks to attend your universities, I might care. When we start tossing political rivals into prison, give me a call.

But until then, sit down, take the bloody money, and shut the hell up

UPDATE: At least the Australian Foreign Minister and the Shadow Foreign Minister are not taking this on the chin.DOUBLE UPDATE: I just heard the Australian Council for Civil Liberties say it was a bit rich for Indonesia to criticise Australia on human rights grounds. What's next; a two-headed goat? Is this a sign of the End Times?

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