Why I’ll Never Go To Bali

From toenail infections to firing squads. How blogging can take a turn in 24 hours. But this is what happens when you don’t blog for a while. There’s so much to talk about that one day it might be fungus and the next executions.

I’ve been trying to avoid any news about the “Bali 9” ring leaders (perhaps we should be calling them the Bali 2 now), because I am torn. On the one hand, I don’t agree that death is a fitting punishment for drug smugglers. But I can’t say I disagree with the death penalty completely. There’s plenty of criminals I think should be put in front of a firing squad. But I also think people who smuggle drugs into or out of a country with such strict and harsh laws do so taking the risk that they will have to pay the ultimate consequence.

I wonder if the roles were reversed how we would feel about Balinese people trying to tell us how to run our country. How would we feel about them telling us what to do with people who broke our laws? It seems you can set bombs off and kill people in Bali and be out walking the streets in no time. If they did it here, and were locked up for life sentences, what would be our response to Balinese people and political leaders pleading for us to have leniency?

I do wonder how there can exist a legal system in which people trying to smuggle drugs out (OUT!) of a country can be killed, when others who set off explosions which killed people can be free. I wonder why they couldn’t just deport them to Australia and ban them from Bali. I wonder what message they are trying to send by executing these Australians when so many before them have been pardoned. I wonder about a justice system in which officials can be accused of taking or asking for bribes in order to adjust sentences. Or how they can increase and decrease sentences whenever they feel like it. I wonder about a system that keeps people on death row for 10 years and then one day decides it’s time to shoot them. I wonder about countries where undercover police officers offer drugs to teenagers to try and trap them.

The more I think about it, the more I think executing these guys is completely wrong, on so many different levels. But I keep coming back to “Not our country, not our laws.” Then I think, “Well, oppression of women isn’t within our laws either, but we still speak out about their second-class treatment in so many countries.”

Do you see why I’m torn?

All of my logical thoughts on this are pushed aside by feelings of anxiety for these men, and their families.  Regardless of what crime has been committed, could you imagine having to stand in front of a firing squad? I hope the Balinese are going to grant an 11th and a half hour stay. That their lives will be spared. But if they’re not, I hope the men die with peace in their hearts. I hope their families heal quickly. I hope other young people who think they are invincible and won’t get caught with drugs in Bali think twice.

And if they are executed, I’d really like Australians to stop traveling to Bali. That won’t happen of course. But I can tell you of at least 3 Aussies who won’t travel there, and that’s my little family.

Have you been to Bali? Will you go? Does the Bali 9 case have any influence on your decision? 

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT, you should too!


11 thoughts on “Why I’ll Never Go To Bali

  1. I personally don’t agree with the death penalty at all, but I do agree that they knew the risks in what they were doing. The other interesting side to this story is that Indonesia is working hard to free Indonesians currently facing the death penalty in other countries. Hypocrisy much?

  2. I haven’t been to Bali. I have thought of going because the Balinese people (well the majority) are supposed to be lovely people and they are poor and rely on tourism. But then there government acts in ways that are hypocritical and their justice system failed the victims of the Bali bombings and it will sadly fail the two Bali 9 boys on death row. I don’t believe in the death penalty.

  3. I’ve never been to Bali. I’m like you – around and around with the arguments in my head. I thought the same about us not appreciating being told what to do with our own justice system. But when I heard that Indonesia petitions other governments to release their own citizens, that tipped the scales. Pardon them. Bring them home to serve long sentences. Just don’t shoot them.

  4. I definitely don’t think they should be executed. It’s completely barbaric. However in many ways it’s the same situation parents find themselves in. If you don’t follow through with punishments, you feel as though you lose face and power. Both of which are very important in many cultures. How do you deter others if there’s no powerful deterrent?

    Lots of people do take the laws of these ‘holiday’ destinations too lightly. In Malaysia there are signs everywhere saying that there is a death penalty for drug trafficking. There are notices in Bali about it at the airport too, and I’m fairly sure there always has been. We go several times a year and it’s a wonderful place. There are many cultural differences which need to be respected though. Bali feels relaxed and casual but at the end of the day it is part of Indonesia, a conservative, predominantly Muslim country. People seem to forget that part.

  5. I don’t agree with the death penalty at all, and I totally get the merry-go-round of arguments you have happening in your head, it’s happening in mine too. We were talking about it at Mum’s on Saturday and saying the same things, on the one hand this, but on the other hand this. There are definitely no easy answers, that’s for sure.

    I have no desire to travel to Bali, ever. If I’m gonna go somewhere tropical overseas I’ll go back to Fiji.

  6. I have been to Bali, twice. But I don’t like it so I likely wont be returning again. I understand why you are torn. I don’t agree with the death penalty, But I do think that a country has the right to set it’s own rules and that if you travel to that country that you are responsible for abiding by those rules.

  7. One of my closest friends lives in Indonesia and is often in Bali. I fear for her. I don’t ever want to go there between this and the bombings. It’s not safe enough. I am definitely against these men getting executed. I pray for them and their families. They don’t deserve this for the crime they committed. I believe they’ve paid their dues.

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