I used a similar title some three years ago, except I was referring to my Addikshun to my local teenage football club, Charlton Athletic. That ‘we’ have suffered relegation – degradasi in Indonesian – through the arrogant neo-liberal mismanagement by “the wretched Roland Duchâtelet“, a Belgian “entrepreneur, populist politician and mild oddball, [who] owns a syndicate of smallish clubs across Europe.”
In 28 months of Duchâtelet-flavoured weirdness Charlton, a homely old suburban club, have burned through five managers. The current braying-donkey regime, with its cast of pressed men and passers-by has won 18 of 70 matches played. Last month Duchâtelet released a statement defending the club’s chief executive, Katrien Meire, who had compared the club’s fans with cinema viewers and restaurant goers, who don’t “scream to the people in charge” if they’re unhappy with the customer service.
Really? You can walk out of a cinema, and it’s not unknown for customers to ask … nay, demand … to see a restaurant manager if the food and “customer service” doesn’t match the price one is expected to pay. And fans of a football club, one supported by the local community (of which I was once part of), expect a recognition that we are vital to the continued vitality of the club, and not just because we go through the turnstiles for home games.
So, I’m with The Coalition Against Roland Duchâtelet …
I started another addiction when I was eleven or twelve … to the evil weed. And now it’s kretek (clove) cigarettes marketed as Djarum Super which are ready to hand and lips.
This lad started at a much earlier age …
One of Indonesia’s Tobacco Children (video)
And he is why I can’t get around the reasoning behind Indonesia’s ‘War Against Drugs’.
I’ve written at some length about my tobacco addiction before, so there’s really no need for me to run through the health issues I could well be facing. In brief, therefore, as of December last year tobacco use worldwide causes nearly 6 million deaths per year. In Indonesia it’s more than 200,000 (although I suspect the number is higher as the causes of death are under-reported.)
It’s all very well for tobacco companies here to plant ‘trees for life‘, to sponsor sporting events, and to open self-titled ‘Centres of Educational Excellence‘, yet there’s no glossing over the simple fact that the tobacco companies in question have caused more damage to the health of the nation than any drug trafficker.
According to the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) annual drug deaths in the country average about 33 per day: that’s 11,946 per annum, or .05% of the tobacco related deaths. The country’s 477 prisons have a capacity of 118,000 inmates yet currently houses some 183,000. Of that number, some 35% (c.64,000), are there for drug-related offences. Not all can be considered as traffickers, although some judges consider mere possession of small quantities to be evidence of the intent to sell.
“The government is making decisions without clearly thinking through the implications.”
Executions of drug traffickers are expected to resume soon, with some 14 out of the c.160 drug dealers currently on death row due to face the firing squads. The date has yet to be announced, but as this is a country which incorporates religion in its constitution, they will probably be in mid-July after the holidays to celebrate the end of Lebaran, the Islamic fasting month. Although earlier this year Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo said that no foreigners were to be executed this year, “those set to be executed comprise foreign nationals and Indonesian citizens.”
Jokowi, Indonesia’s “bloodthirsty” president, has just returned from a jaunt around Europe soliciting foreign investment from countries which have abolished capital punishment. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticised the policy, yet still sought opportunities for further investment by German companies.
While talking up the benefits of Indonesia joining the multi-national corporate-lead trade deals, Jokowi and his fellow neo-liberals lead the populace by the nose in promoting ‘cultural values’ via blinkered nationalism.
And it’s not just the moral integrity of the nation and its citizens which suffers.
The National Narcotics Agency (BNN) was originally established as a response to the AIDS epidemic. However, the police were given oversight and activists and NGOs withdrew their participation and organised their own response. Now the infamous Budi Waseso is in charge and targeting not only drug traffickers, but also drug users.
With drug dependency being criminalised, with rehabilitation a punishment rather than being part of the government’s social welfare programmes, the health of the nation can only suffer.
Research has shown that “the earlier a person uses tobacco, the more likely he or she is to become a regular drug user as an adult.”
It’s probably too late for me to give up my addictions but not for the kid pictured above.
Footnotes fr. Jakarta Post
‘Police are urging the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) to resolve a case involving Belawan Police narcotics division chief Adj. Comr. Ichwan Lubis who has been accused of laundering more than Rp.2 billion ($148,000) obtained from drug dealing.‘
(Also in Detik 24.4.16 – in Indonesian)
The Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) has revealed that there has been a significant increase in the amount of illegal drugs discovered in recent times. … the amount and volume of counterfeit drugs found in the Indonesian market soared to 4,441 lots worth a total of Rp 49.8 billion from February to March this year alone.