WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON BOYS, WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON....?
Australian Muslim leaders really do have to work out which side of this war they're on - civilisation or barbarism. This ridiculous notion that a democracy acting legally, in its own defence, with search warrants issued by a judge and suspects being entitled to legal representation is somehow persecuting a particular religion has got to be the most insane thing I've heard all week.
Trouble is, it must be tempting for the Muslim leaders to play along with the leftist script - poor innocent religious group being singled out for butal police-state harrasment by right-wing populist government acting at the behest of the United States. Persecution! Harrasment! Can concentration camps be far behind?
Every minority group has fantasies of persecution to a greater or lesser extent (I'm Jewish, I know), and the leaders of such groups can often, ironically, profit from such an atmosphere. Internal critics fall silent as the need for group solidarity asserts itself, and a united front is presented to the allegedly hostile outside world, regardless of whether such an image is entirely correct. Weirdly enough, and I know Muslims may find this hard to believe because of their ideas about how powerful Jews are, the Jewish community is going through much the same process.
Everywhere I look, the drawbridges are going up and castle doors are slamming shut. You'd best want to shut up about your opinions if you want to seek the safety of the castle walls. Dissidents are not wanted in the Army of the Righteous Victims. Remember, Am Israel (or the Muslim Ummah, depending on ones' choice of parents or religion) is a defenceless lamb surrounded by ravening wolves, and only by marching in rigid ideological lockstep can we hope to survive These Terrible Times of Persecution!
And the attitude of the Indonesians (the people who brought you the cold-blooded execution of five Aussie and Kiwi journalists in 1975, the 25 year opression of the East Timorese, half a million political dissidents massacred in the mid-1960s and the hideous slaughter in East Timor a couple of years ago) can hardly be said to be helping.
Apparently Australia is not permitted to take any action in its own defence without first crawling to the butchers of Balibo and begging permission. If Jakarta is claiming some sort of immunity for Indonesians
against the Australian legal system, I think they may be overstepping the mark badly.
Surprise ASIO raids on Indonesians living in Australia threatened the spirit of cooperation in Bali bombing investigations, a senior Indonesian diplomat said today. The Indonesian vice-consul to Melbourne, Kama Pradipta, today confirmed Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) officials executed search warrants on the homes of five Indonesians living in Melbourne.
[ ... ]
Three surprise raids were carried out on Wednesday and another two yesterday, had "caused a great deal of concern to the Indonesian government," Mr Pradipta said. Governments had an obligation to warn each other about action against citizens and secret raids were not in the spirit of cooperation, he said. "It would be fair to say this was not in the spirit of complete co-operation," he said.
"The vice president (of Indonesia, Hamzah Haz) has also expressed his concern. "International conventions require notice prior to investigations, prior to taking any legal steps towards foreign nationals, and in this case we were never informed by the authorities concerned." Two female university students who are Indonesian nationals and three Indonesian men who are permanent residents of Australia had been raided, he said. "One man was held for five hours and has had his computer, laptop, books, records and holy Koran taken," he said.
As opposed to Balibo, where Indonesian troops who came across five Aussie and Kiwi TV reporters simply shot them on the spot. Or Dili, where TNI soldiers opened up on a crowd of demonstrators with automatic weapons. Or in the "Act of Free Choice" in the late 1960s in which a small group of pre-selected West Papuan leaders were put into a hotel guarded by Indonesian security forces are told if they did not "vote" for their homeland to join Indonesia they would have their tongues cut out.
I could go on...and indeed I shall - but at some later date. Trust me, Indonesia getting bent out of shape over Australia's human rights record is right up there with Stalin suing George Orwell for poratraying him as a pig in "Animal Farm". Okay, Stalin wouldn't actually sue anyone. He preferred other methods to get his point across. Like the ever-popular ice-pick in the skull!
A far more sinister development in Indonesia is that an extremist group has been round to a hotel, demanding the names of any Australian guests
they had staying there. If you remember, they tried this a while ago, looking for Americans. It's a threat at the moment, a threat that if things develop not neccessarily to the extremists' liking, they may be back to find some Aussie vacationers, sit down with them, have a quiet chat about religious differences, coesxistence in the modern world, and maybe behead them in the parking lot.
MEMBERS of an Islamic youth group asked a major hotel to produce names of Australian guests on Wednesday night after news reached Indonesia of ASIO and police raids on Indonesian Muslims living in Australia.
Staff of the Sedona Hotel, in Makassar, the seaside capital of South Sulawesi province, refused the request. The 10 members of the Makassar Youth Alliance then left the hotel. Earlier, the group had demonstrated in front of a local branch office of the Australian insurance company MLC and warned they would search for Australians.
And if you think that's just the natural exuberance of youth, here's a rather more establishment voice that doesn't sound terribly different.
Abdul Majid, a member of the parliament's foreign affairs commission, said the seiz ure of property and questioning of Indonesians suspected of links to the outlawed Jemaah Islamiah organisation was "uncivilised". He said the authorities had robbed the houses of Indonesians. "If this is a backlash against the Bali bombing, then they are asking for war," said Majid, who is a member of President Megawati Sukarnoputri's Indonesian Democratic Party for Struggle (PDI-P).
Anyway, I wouldn't worry about Australia going wobbly over the Indonesians muttering. Howard seems to genuinely get it
, and on 61% popularity he has plenty of backup for his stance. Last I saw, Simon Crean, the Labour Party leader was at 21% and dropping like a rock.
Mr Howard said the raids did not target the Muslim community, and had been conducted in the national interest in line with Australian and international laws. "We have done what any country in our situation would have to do," Mr Howard told Melbourne radio 3AW.
"There were reasons for those raids and I defend 100 per cent what ASIO has done. I find it amazing that people could seriously question the national need for this to happen. It is not targeting Muslims - that is ridiculous. These raids relate to investigations concerning individuals."
Meanwhile, back in the Old Country - Subediting Mistakes
New Zealand Muslims need not fear discrimination as a result of Jemaah Islamiyah's listing New Zealand as a terrorist organisation, Foreign Minister Phil Goff says.
Inadvertently accurate. I suspect Phil knows rather better that to mix things up like that, I'd blame the NZPA subs desk for that one.
Green Party MP Keith Locke and the Council of Civil Liberties today expressed fears that Muslims would be discriminated against as a result of the banning. They questioned if New Zealand had any solid evidence to justify the banning.
Mr Locke and the New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties have been living in a plastic bubble on the far side of the Moon since September last year, and haven't caught up with the rest of the planet, you'll have to forgive them, poor dears. For the rest of us, a bloody great pile of smoking rubble on Bali might provide our first clue.