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How can people be so stupid?
June 1, 2005 5:51 PM   Subscribe

*Sigh*, not simply an act of ignorant xenophpbia, but blatent terrorism.
posted by Jase_B (68 comments total)

 
Why the sigh? It's all a matter of perspective?: one man's xenophobia is another man's terrorism.
posted by jdroth at 6:03 PM on June 1, 2005


And Aussies don't like being compared to America. :P
posted by dreamsign at 6:11 PM on June 1, 2005


dreamsign - And Aussies don't like being compared to America
That's probably the most embarrassing thing about it.
posted by Jase_B at 6:16 PM on June 1, 2005


How is calling for a boycott "an act of ignorant xenophobia"?

Indonesia has certain policies, and it has a right to have them, but they shouldn't think that their extreme stance on drugs (possible death penalty) won't have consequences with a certain segment of the world population on which they have long relied for tourism dollars.

Of course that call for a boycott also happens to be unrelated to the specific act of terrorism which is the main subject of your FPP. I think you really could have chosen your links a little better here
posted by clevershark at 6:18 PM on June 1, 2005


Of course that call for a boycott also happens to be unrelated to the specific act of terrorism which is the main subject of your FPP.

It depends on your perspective. Isn't a boycott formed to cause damage (economic, or otherwise) to the other party? And doesn't terrorism do just that. So with the underlying motive being damage, I'm sure that with some people boycotting and terrorism coming under the same hierarchy.

The ignorant thing is that only the innocent (i.e. the Indonesian people) and the presumed innocent (Shapelle Corby) will be damaged.
posted by Jase_B at 6:30 PM on June 1, 2005


I'm boycotting Indonesia, travel-wise.
posted by mischief at 6:37 PM on June 1, 2005


yes, indonesia can kiss my travel dollars bye bye! all twenty-seven of them.
posted by quonsar at 6:39 PM on June 1, 2005


It's also ignorant in the sense that we in the west have done a terrible job of educating our citizens that when they go abroad they are subject to foreign laws, utterly and completely, and in engendering respect for those sovereign states and their legal systems, even if crimes and punishments are different there.

Having done a fair bit of travel I have to say that more than 50% of the travellers I've met from Canada/the U.S./Britain think that the laws don't apply to them in the same way that it would apply to a native citizen (wait till I get in touch with my embassy...). I wasn't pleased when Vietnam executed a Canadian woman for drugs it seemed unlikely she intentionally carried, but it certainly serves as a potent warning. (to keep my bags under close scrutiny and locked if possible, because the safest way to get drugs across a border... is in someone else's bag)
posted by dreamsign at 6:40 PM on June 1, 2005


Jase_B writes "It depends on your perspective. Isn't a boycott formed to cause damage (economic, or otherwise) to the other party?"

Let's not be wankers about this.

I don't go to the United States because I have no wish to fund its government's worldwide warmongering through taxes I would have to pay while there. If you're going to tell me that it's the same as deliberately committing a terrorist act against the United States, well congratulations -- you're a wanker.
posted by clevershark at 6:43 PM on June 1, 2005


dreamsign writes "we in the west have done a terrible job of educating our citizens that when they go abroad they are subject to foreign laws"

That is also true. A lot of people go abroad thinking that laws don't apply to them just because they have a different passport -- that doesn't even begin to pass the laugh test, but for some reason a lot of people actually think that.
posted by clevershark at 6:46 PM on June 1, 2005


Meanwhile, tests on the white powder sent to the Indonesian embassy in an envelope could be completed by today.

It is already known to be a bacterium that is present in a range of products from snail pellets to anthrax.


This is nonsense. What the heck kind of biological agent are they talking about? That second sentence is gibberish - anthrax is a distinct bacterium itself. This is like saying it's pepper known to be present in salt.
posted by warbaby at 6:47 PM on June 1, 2005


clevershark - If you're going to tell me that it's the same as deliberately committing a terrorist act against the United States, well congratulations -- you're a wanker.

You're obviously not too clever, clevershark. If you actually understood what I said you would realise that in no way did I say that a terrorist act was the same as a boycott, I said "with some people boycotting and terrorism come under the same hierarchy". Meaning that with *SOME PEOPLE*, terrorism is at the extreme of an initial reaction that would firstly involve a boycott. (I do apologise if English isn't your first language.)
posted by Jase_B at 6:56 PM on June 1, 2005


Wow. You ARE a wanker.
posted by clevershark at 7:01 PM on June 1, 2005


Boycot is to strong a word. A travel boycott is not terrorism. Of course it's not. It's choosing not to go to a particular country.
I don't travel to the US at the moment because their security measures shit me and the government and it's supporters gives me the shits. I'm not about to graduate to terrorism though.
I've chosen not to travel to a great many places for various reasons but it doesn't mean I'm on the way to planning an attack.
I don't have any desire to travel to Indonesia because of its overly harsh, haphazardly administered drug laws, military action in East Timor and West Papua, and the small threat of incidents such as the bali bombing and the jakarta embassy bombing.
It's no biggy. It's not terrorism and it's not xenophobic. I choose not to run.

Sending whatever bacteria through the mail is perhap a different matter however
posted by figment at 7:15 PM on June 1, 2005


yup. what figment said. This is a horrible crime, and hopefully they'll catch the person. Our anthrax person is still loose and people died from him.

Have people stopped going to Indonesia?
posted by amberglow at 7:20 PM on June 1, 2005


Well, I spent 3 months in Indo, travelled through disputed Aceh (to get to Pulau Weh which, happily, I am told has survived the tsunami intact) and through various trials and tribulations, it was still very much worth it.

Yes, there is terrorism. America is just catching up to the rest of the world in that regard.

That being said, I wouldn't go back to Nepal right now. It's one thing to take your chances with random violence like everyone else. It's quite another to be targetted as valuable by Maoist insurgents. Just my $.02.
posted by dreamsign at 7:29 PM on June 1, 2005


I must concur, even I in the Army during my stay oversea's Iraq included at least tried to understand the culture i was, in. and clevershark is indeed a wanker, (not even understanding what a wanker really is, i gotta think it ain't good)

Amberlow, the problem with our anthrax scare is, it wasn't from the middle-east and it was mostly against Dems, so don't hold your breath on catching them. the Administration is more concerned with nailclippers and MP3 dowloads, and janets boob, than real anthrax attacks.

Wow! I'm a wee bit snarky today.....
posted by Elim at 7:32 PM on June 1, 2005


clevershark et al. Ok, so you were focussing on the travel boycott. This wasn't my focus. Of all things a travel boycott is probably the least disturbing and most understandable. My intention was to focus on the boycott of charities and and requests for donation refunds (as well as the terrorist act). Of the three main reactions Australians have made in relation to Corby's case - the travel boycott, the charity boycott, and the terrorist act - I would have thought the Metafilter crowd would have focussed on two "more extreme".
posted by Jase_B at 7:33 PM on June 1, 2005


Amberglow sorry the misspelling was unintentional
posted by Elim at 7:33 PM on June 1, 2005


Freedom Fries and American cheese for ALL!
posted by Elim at 7:34 PM on June 1, 2005


There is an act of ignorant xenophobia described in the article, but it's no so much the boycott:

It's the "withdrawal of aid to Indonesian tsunami victims."

I find it both ignorant and infuriating that people could be so stupid as to punish people who obviously have no political power whatsoever and who are suffering to such an extent. Way to be fair, guys.
posted by invitapriore at 7:35 PM on June 1, 2005


Here we go.

First, regarding the "travel boycott".

Schapelle's innocence isn't proved but then again there are things about the case that would be out of place and would be detrimental to a prosecution's case in an Australian court.

The bags were not fingerprinted. This should have been done as a matter of course. They took the word of a customs official blindly. Surveillance footage and other things (bag weights etc) probably would have vindicated her but were destroyed before the defense was able to get their hands on it. The prosecution could not prove the bag was Corby's by any more than simple posession. They could not prove she had the bag while still in Australia.

I'm not going to Bali ever. Not because I'm wishing revenge on the Indonesian people by any means. I'm not going because I don't want to be subjected to their absurd level of burden of proof, their unjust legal system, their standard of "reasonable doubt" and a judge says he is responsible only to "god".

The Australian people boycotting aren't going to kill the Balinese. The Indonesian legal system did it for them by putting doubt in every Australian's mind about the Indonesian legal system's ability to conduct a fair trial.

Second, about the "bio-terrorism".

The person who did this is going to be caught because he's probably some stupid redneck yobbo who left his prints all over the letter, probably enclosed a return address and probably will be saying to everyone how he did it and how he is proud of it. That stupid sob will be caught and will be put in jail for 20-life thanks to our brand new "yuo terrorism!" laws.

And even if I'm wrong that person will still be caught and will still probably do 20-life.
posted by Talez at 7:39 PM on June 1, 2005


On the other hand, being here in Australia, I have been more than a little disturbed at the hatred that seems to have spewed forth in the wake of the Corby trial.

Doesn't take a lot to reveal the less appealing characteristics of the Australian psyche.
posted by figment at 7:44 PM on June 1, 2005


What warbaby said. All news reports I've heard have talked about a mystery "biological agent". None have been very specific. I would like to know exactly what it is.

And if it does turn out to be a dangerous biological agent, then part of me doubts that the type of person who has the skill / time / wherewithal to get such a product, would waste it on such a stupid cause – (assuming the cause is the jailing of Schapelle Corby which is what everyone is saying.)
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:44 PM on June 1, 2005


also, as far as I can tell the letter was in an Indonesian language.....so probably not your average redneck yobbo.
posted by figment at 7:46 PM on June 1, 2005


There was some kind of attack on an embassy in Australia and this is like the US how? What embassy in the US was attacked? And that's freedom fries and "idiot" cheese - cause we can be sometimes.
posted by Carbolic at 7:49 PM on June 1, 2005


People are fickle mushheads and this anti Indon rage is gonna last about as long as the anti French rage that occurred in Oz when the French were doing nuclear testing in the Pacific.

It's laughable.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:52 PM on June 1, 2005


Smoking pot is not a crime.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 7:53 PM on June 1, 2005


Freedom Fries and American cheese for ALL!
: >

*eats frites and brie*
posted by amberglow at 8:01 PM on June 1, 2005


Of the three main reactions Australians have made in relation to Corby's case - the travel boycott, the charity boycott, and the terrorist act - I would have thought the Metafilter crowd would have focussed on two "more extreme".

Ok, well, a boycott is anyone's prerogative. I intentionally avoided buying California wine today -- though I like it -- because I put my money where my mouth is. About the same as anyone buying products from their own country for patriotism's sake. Modern capitalism doesn't care about my opinion, only my dollars, so I may as well make them coincide.

The terrorist act bothers me somewhat less than the charity boycott, because (I'd like to think that) the former is the act of some asshat and every country has those. (and Bahasa is known as "the easiest language in the world" -- it effectively has no grammar. "I go there" is equivalent to "I there go" and "go I there", etc. It must be Yoda's native tongue. You can string sentences together from a phrasebook if you like, so I wouldn't make assumptions about the sophistication of the sender) The charity boycott bothers me more because it sounds like a whole lot of people behaving in a rather ridiculous and inhumane fashion and I like to think that those people are in the extreme minority though people seem resolute to prove me wrong.

How does this remind me of the U.S.? The idea that the rules don't apply to your citizens, and outrage and extreme acts when the rules are actually applied that way.
posted by dreamsign at 8:09 PM on June 1, 2005


"How does this remind me of the U.S.? The idea that the rules don't apply to your citizens, and outrage and extreme acts when the rules are actually applied that way."

Remind me of an example of that? Michael Fay and the caning in Singapore back in the 1990's? And someone attached an embassy in someway? I'm at a loss.
posted by Carbolic at 8:19 PM on June 1, 2005


Metafilter: Wow. You ARE a wanker.

Aside from that, I find it appalling that this could happen against the Indonesians, when nobody has taken similar action against the US embassy over their gitmo-izaton (TM) of Aussie citizens, David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib.

At least Schapelle Corby was tried. Under existing laws. That are known. In the public domain. WIth evidence against her. Which was presented. In public. In front of cameras and journalists.

Then again, Schapelle has boobs that totally counterbalance those kilos and kilos of dope. What do Hicks and Habib have to attract public sympathy?
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:32 PM on June 1, 2005


People are fickle mushheads and this anti Indon rage is gonna last about as long as the anti French rage that occurred in Oz when the French were doing nuclear testing in the Pacific.

It's laughable.


Not as laughable as Celine Dion being caught up in the week-long boycott against France...
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:36 PM on June 1, 2005


I intentionally avoided buying California wine today -- though I like it -- because I put my money where my mouth is.

California is not responsible for Bush.
posted by euphorb at 8:41 PM on June 1, 2005


A lot of people go abroad thinking that laws don't apply to them just because they have a different passport -- that doesn't even begin to pass the laugh test, but for some reason a lot of people actually think that.

Yes. They are commonly known as diplomats.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:42 PM on June 1, 2005


Remind me of an example of that? Michael Fay and the caning in Singapore back in the 1990's? And someone attached an embassy in someway? I'm at a loss.

Actually, the caning did first come to mind, but let's not be coy. Respect for the sovereignty of nations is not in the American (admin's) vocabulary. Need I draw up a list of double standards? We'd be here all day. Military (or covert military) responses to economic threats (largely in Latin America), insistence that captured U.S. covert troops be treated as prisoners of war not illegal combatants, the long list of -- some exceedingly uncontroversial -- international humanitarian conventions that the U.S. won't sign or ratify because there is some economic or strategic interest at stake. Really, the whole response to 9/11 which reminds me of the schoolyard bully when the other kid actually gets in a punch. Wild, uncontrolled and even undirected anger, and the rules whatever they be, be damned. Whenever I think of the U.S. and the U.N./international law, I think of this.

Now let's be clear -- I was saying how Westerners generally seem to think that the rules of other countries don't apply. I'm not certain that this is especially true of Americans, compared to say, British, Aussies, or Canadians, but I will say that it has one of the few administrations that feels that way about the country as a whole.

Of course, here I am rejecting various international humanitarian work because my country doesn't do nearly enough to protect its citizens, and that's an understatement, but really only a handful of states could I imagine having many citizens boycott a charity because of an affront to its national pride, and the U.S. and Australia are among them.
posted by dreamsign at 8:42 PM on June 1, 2005


A lot of people go abroad thinking that laws don't apply to them just because they have a different passport -- that doesn't even begin to pass the laugh test, but for some reason a lot of people actually think that.

I've traveled to Indonesia via Australia and they announced over the loud speaker that drug trafficking carried the death penalty. They mentioned that this was a requirement of the Indonesian government. The warning was pretty hard to miss.

Not that the poor girl deserves what she got...
posted by phatboy at 8:49 PM on June 1, 2005


So other than Michael Fay you can't think of another example that compares on a relatively similar basis to the Schapelle Corby situation and in that case there was nothing like an attack on an embassy.

Basically, you want to compare apples to oranges.

What you are saying may or may not have some validity but it just isn't comparable.
posted by Carbolic at 8:50 PM on June 1, 2005


"My intention was to focus on the boycott of charities and and requests for donation refunds (as well as the terrorist act)."

Oh, well, in that case, I boycott charities on general principles, tsunami or no.

As for the 'terrorist' act, this sounds more like a felonious joke than like anything political. ;-P
posted by mischief at 8:52 PM on June 1, 2005


*sigh* I will depart this thread both to sleep and to avoid (any further) monopolization of the thread, but presumably you don't care about embassy attacks particularly. Why attacks on other structures by enraged patriots would be any less relevant I can't imagine. If what you are looking for is violence perpetrated by individuals and not countries, no, I haven't a handy link to such events (say, the Chinese attacks on Japanese store owners of late) involving Americans. I can point to the attitudes of many Americans, and I can point to violence perpetrated by angry Americans in the form of military action, but little parcels of love to offending countries: no.

I was however talking about the indignation and outrage citizens of Certain Proud Nations feel when the rules are applied to them. I would think that my posts throughout this thread would have made that focus clear. This is not comparable because...?
posted by dreamsign at 8:56 PM on June 1, 2005


John Howard has finally been caught out: cultivating an ignorant xenophobia for base political purposes, now the mob is in control when he would prefer a far more diplomatic and rational response to the Corby issue.

In relation to the Corby case itself, it would be dead wrong to assume that she would get off scot-free if caught in Australia. The defence team hasn't seemed particularly competent, but that's not a third-world specialty, and far graver miscarriages of justice occur regularly in Australia (even assuming she's innocent, which I don't). How 'bout those refugeees, eh?

Of course, 20 years for pot is a very ahrsh sentence, but again, the war on drugs has been a western world specialty. It was a seed we planted, now we're reaping.
posted by wilful at 8:58 PM on June 1, 2005


John Howard has finally been caught out: cultivating an ignorant xenophobia for base political purposes, now the mob is in control when he would prefer a far more diplomatic and rational response to the Corby issue.

Very presumptuous.

Why assume it was someone from the "ignorant xenophobic mob"?

FFS, it just seems like an opportunity for a bit of Howard-bashing from a lot of you.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:10 PM on June 1, 2005


Of course, 20 years for pot is a very ahrsh sentence, but again, the war on drugs has been a western world specialty. It was a seed we planted, now we're reaping.

That is a little patronising, don't you think? Bali was once one of the gems on the "overland" hippie trail stretching from Europe through Afghanistan, India and Thailand.

My reading is that countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore (in particular), reacted particularly harshly against the great unwashed decadent hordes of povs washing through their countries that they decided to jack up the penalties against one of the backbones of the hippie lifestyle: drugs. They may have gained some "moral" leverage from the western "war on drugs", but I doubt that this attitude was entirely western-driven.

As another example, I think it was Singapore that would turn back any male with hair reaching past his shoulders, or else force him to have it cut on the spot...
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:16 PM on June 1, 2005


Howard deserves bashing. Don't try and stop us.
posted by figment at 9:19 PM on June 1, 2005


I intentionally avoided buying California wine today -- though I like it -- because I put my money where my mouth is.

It has not previously occurred to me that I could boycott US products. Thank you for sharing. I'm joining you in this effort.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:24 PM on June 1, 2005


"unwashed hordes washing through" - sweet jebus, that was worthy of the great Bard, himself!

on preview: Howard has no doubt been bashed enough in the past. I can see no way to explain him other than that he was the dweeb with no friends at school who was never picked for footy in the playground & was bashed and hated by all. Hence, his revolting win-at-all-costs ambition: (dribbles, slurs & sputters): "I'll show them!"
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:25 PM on June 1, 2005


It has not previously occurred to me that I could boycott US products. Thank you for sharing. I'm joining you in this effort.

And joining these ladies
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:32 PM on June 1, 2005


YES, god, no more Oprah.
posted by dreamsign at 9:33 PM on June 1, 2005


with no friends at school who was never picked for footy in the playground

Johnny was actually quite a good cricketer in his day. Howard genuinely loves cricket, he played for the Canterbury Boys High School Second XI.
posted by Jase_B at 9:55 PM on June 1, 2005


Childhood beatings probably had less to do with sport and more to do with personality.
posted by figment at 9:59 PM on June 1, 2005


Howard genuinely loves cricket, he played for the Canterbury Boys High School Second XI.

No mean feat, considering that there have only ever been five students at that school who were not Lebanese.

Oh, hang on...he is about 120, right? I will have to rephrase that: No mean feat considering that in his time, Canterbury was a village of five people, three days' walk from Sydney.

On his alleged love for cricket, I loved this article, originally from The Chaser.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:27 PM on June 1, 2005


I think we got sidetracked on this one folks.
posted by figment at 11:34 PM on June 1, 2005


Latest news says the bacteria is harmless, which makes me think it probably was some moron from the "ignorant xenophobic mob"?

But then again… if you go to the trouble of putting bacteria in the mail – why use harmless bacteria? Is this the MSMs way of slowly backing out of a sensationalised beat-up? That it's not even bacteria? For example, could dandruff be considered a biological substance?!

ps: It's all Jackboot Johnnie Howard's fault!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:52 PM on June 1, 2005


If the alleged "bacteria" are allegedly harmless, does this make it simply an act of ignorant xenophpbia, not blatent terrorism?

Naturally, this prank is nothing when compared with the blatant xenophobic terrorism involved in beating up on sovereign (oil-bin-laden) nations, even if they *are* posturing as if to threaten us with particularly sharp mangoes...
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:03 AM on June 2, 2005


It was probably just talcum powder intended to be harmless but give a scare, 'cept the guy didn't wash his fingernails, thus the talc was contaminated with bacteria from food, and so their initial (ie board-spectrum) tests came out positive.

The talc terrorist strikes again.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:48 AM on June 2, 2005


I never heard about this - pre-internet I guess. Seems we live in a glass house.

Interesting resonances with this from that other grubby little shit, Alan Jones: "The judges she addressed yesterday don't speak English and won't get a translation of her comments until today. What's that say about justice, Balinese style"
posted by strawberryviagra at 1:49 AM on June 2, 2005


I never heard about [Chika Honda] - pre-internet I guess.

But surely you read about it here, and here?
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:32 AM on June 2, 2005


You missed here. I meant to say pre-uburoivas.. thanks for that.
posted by strawberryviagra at 4:50 AM on June 2, 2005


I think we got sidetracked on this one folks.

Indeed. I do apologize.
posted by dreamsign at 10:10 AM on June 2, 2005


Corby is one person, and the 'she must be innosent' attitude of australians was kind of annoying. However, lots of people have suffered due to indonesia's drug policy, so I encorage Australians everywhere to blow up an Indonesian government facility today!

That said. When Australia releases all their Marijuana offenders, I might care.
posted by delmoi at 1:28 PM on June 2, 2005


speaking of americans not beliving forien laws apply to them (that was in this thread, wasn't it? Anyway...)

They "don't expect to be in jail much longer".
posted by delmoi at 2:36 PM on June 2, 2005


speaking of americans not believing foreign laws apply to them

Mate, that's nothing! You *do* know that the US has passed a law authorising military strikes against the Hague if any american serviceman is hauled before the International Criminal Court to face charges of war crimes?
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:12 PM on June 2, 2005


It's totally because she's hot.
posted by weezy at 7:02 PM on June 2, 2005


Look. I'm an Australian. I've also had a few beers and some Jack Daniels. That does not in any way diminsh the feelings I have about this. It is a complex and troublesome situation. As for me, I would never set foot in any South-East Asian country for the reasons that the so-called 'justice system' they operate under has no logic behind it. When I say this to people I am often accused of xenophobia or, even worse, racism. I have nothing against anyone. I'm seriously a mellow guy. But go over there and you have no guarantees. These are resort-style places, idyllic in their surrounds yet draconian in their laws. Bottom line is, if something bad happens, you don't have a leg to stand on. That's the risk you take when you cross their borders. Now maybe Schapelle did or didn't do what she has now been convicted of (and stands to lose twenty years of her life over). It's nice place but they really suck at stuff like justice and rights and so forth. Not that it's your fault for going there, but if something fucks up you are really without a paddle.

And I really need a paddle or else I can't get places.
posted by bdave at 8:26 AM on June 3, 2005


And Aussies are nuts and would probably blow wizz-fizz up little Johnny's arse and call it Anthrax if they could.

/tired, emotional
posted by bdave at 8:29 AM on June 3, 2005


Oops, wrong thread. How can people be so unkind etc.
posted by bdave at 8:32 AM on June 3, 2005


All talc, no action

As in 99.99999% of the suspicious powder incidents, it's a false alarm.
posted by warbaby at 7:47 PM on June 3, 2005


Mate, that's nothing! You *do* know that the US has passed a law authorising military strikes against the Hague if any american serviceman is hauled before the International Criminal Court to face charges of war crimes?

YOU HAVE GOT TO BE SHITTING ME
posted by dreamsign at 9:07 PM on June 3, 2005


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