When locking up a child is suddenly a problem: when Indonesia does it
The news that an AUSTRALIAN boy, a 14 year old, is being held in Bali for marijuana possession, has the national media – and the politicians they dominate – demanding action.
The weird thing about this is that, for once, the politicians and media are opposed to locking up children who haven’t committed a serious crime. Opposed.
The contrast, of course, is with mandatory detention, where many of the same people screaming about the horror of doing such a thing to a child suddenly become flint-faced and indifferent.
I don’t want to suggest that the reason for the sudden compassion for one particular imprisoned child by people who’ve previously demonstrated how little of it they have for other imprisoned children is founded on xenophobia. I don’t want to suggest that we have more sympathy for an Australian boy imprisoned in Indonesia than an Indonesian boy imprisoned in Australia (who’s not even alleged to have committed a crime) out of anything so base and repugnant as racism… but I’m having difficulty finding another explanation for the inconsistency and hypocrisy.
Perhaps you can suggest an alternative in the comments. Please, restore our faith in our fellow Australians.
Now, I’m not in any way objecting to people or newspapers campaigning to rescue a boy from an excessive punishment, or even from unreasonable imprisonment. Nor do I want those whose hypocrisy is showing to abandon their compassion in order to be consistent – I’d much rather they discovered it in relation to the children we’re imprisoning here and achieved moral consistency that way. Doing the right thing for the wrong reasons is better than doing the wrong thing. If it’s a choice, I’d much rather some compassion to consistent hard-heartedness – although consistent compassion would be all the better.
But it is embarrassing watching the politicians and the polemicists dance the populist tune, nauseatingly pretending to have functioning consciences and a sense of compassion just because it’s suddenly politically convenient.
ELSEWHERE: For once, Andrew Bolt champions consistency. Unfortunately it’s consistent support for, or at least silent compliance with, locking up children, so it’s not a huge plus.