Feature

Australia reveals its ugly side

The week's news at a glance.

Indonesia

Dewi AnggraeniThe Jakarta Post

Australians have never respected Indonesians, said Dewi Anggraeni in The Jakarta Post, and now their contempt is finally on public display. The whole country, it seems, has risen up in indignation over the sentencing of Schapelle Corby, a 27-year-old Australian woman, to 20 years in an Indonesian prison. Corby was caught smuggling nine pounds of marijuana into Bali, and her sentence is actually unremarkable. If she were American or British, there would have been no huge outcry. But Australians have always viewed Indonesia as a kind of servant country, filled with compliant brown people. To sentence a pretty Australian woman to prison—well, it’s nothing less than “gross impudence.” Australian newspapers are now full of “vitriolic attacks” on the Indonesian legal system. Every talk show airs appalled rants about Indonesia’s barbarity. The more “immature and infantile” Australians have actually contacted Indonesian charities, demanding back the money they donated to tsunami victims. Australians are obviously unaware that our justice system is now quite modern, and “that an increasing number of Indonesians are as educated, if not more educated, than they are.” But we certainly learned something this week: Deep down, Australians still consider us “inferior.”

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