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Wise Words From New Zealand

NZ Herald Travel Editor Jim Eagles Says: Book a Trip to Bali if You Want to Help Shapelle Corby.

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Following the 20-year prison sentence handed down by a Denpasar Court to 28-year-old Shapelle Corby for smuggling narcotics into Bali, efforts to force Indonesia's hand in the case through strident criticism, threats, and threatened travel boycotts managed to plumb new depths last week when threatening letters containing suspected biological agents were sent to the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra and to Australia's Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer.

Official reaction from Indonesia to what is widely seen as a terrorist attack, like its response to the relentless barrage of criticism by the Australian media – some blatantly racist and jingoistic in nature, has been commendably moderate. Accepting Australian Federal Police pledges to continue the established tradition of cooperating with Indonesian authorities in bringing terrorist to justice in the latest attack on the Indonesian Embassy, Indonesia's Department of Foreign Affairs has issued a restrained travel advisory urging caution to its nationals and diplomats working in Australia – far short of a full travel warning forbidding visits to Australia.

Book a Trip to Bali if You Want to Help Corby

Insightful words of wisdom on the appropriate reaction to the Shapelle Corby verdict flowed from Australia's near-neighbor, New Zealand, where New Zealand Herald's travel editor, Jim Eagles, urged people wishing to support Shapelle Corby to visit Bali on their next holiday.

Suggesting that there are still travel bargains to be found in Bali, Eagle joined the growing ranks of those who believe the decision of the Indonesian courts to punish the Queensland beauty school student had a strong basis in law and a compelling case to answer before the Indonesian judges.

Eagles makes the excellent point that there exists little justification to condemn the Indonesian inquisitorial approach to justice, based on Napoleonic traditions, as somehow superior to the adversarial model of U.S. and Australian criminal courts. In any case, Eagle concludes: "as several Australian legal experts have conceded, the verdict of the Indonesian court is almost certainly the same one an Australian or New Zealand court would have reached on the same evidence."

Come to Bali and Support Corby

Eagle sagely asks: Who gets hurt if the proposed travel boycott is successful? Arguably, the Balinese people may be damaged by such a boycott, but, in reality, similar past efforts tied to East Timor and other crisis have shown the Balinese people's demonstrated resilience against such attacks.

Acknowledging that Indonesia is a proud country and a sovereign power, Eagles suggests that a program of gentle diplomacy and continued friendship between Australia and Indonesia is more likely to speed Corby's return to terra Australis than a program of "shouting abuse and making threats."

And, to those hell bent on continuing their anti-Bali crusade, Eagle says: "Overall, if the aim of a boycott is to give its advocates a bit of cheap moral satisfaction, while at the same time wrecking the lives of a few Balinese waiters and ensuring that Corby stays in her Indonesian hellhole longer than necessary, then by all means go for it."

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