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Reaping the Quality of Strained Mercy

Editorial: A Sincere Apology From Schapelle Corby to the People of Bali Could Pave the Way for Her Eventual Reconciliation with Society.


Straighten up and fly right
The buzzard told the monkey "You're chokin' me Release your hold and I'll set you free The monkey looked the buzzard right dead in the eye and said Your story's so touching but it sounds just like a lie Straighten up and fly right Straighten up and stay right Straighten up and fly right Cool papa, don't you blow your top.
- Nat King Cole & Irving Mills

Living a life that has begun to resemble a tawdry, long-running soap opera, the last several weeks have been especially trying for convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby. Following the rejection of her final appeal to the Indonesian Supreme Court challenging her 20-sentence for bringing 4.2 kilograms of marijuana through Bali's airport in 2005, a three-hour documentary aired last week on Australia's Channel 9 did little to cast her or her family in any kind of positive light.

That documentary characterized Corby's "performance" before the Denpasar Court and international media as little more than a conscious efforts to manipulate the media and the courts by casting herself as a hapless victim of circumstance. Now literally at wit's end, Corby has been moved from her Bali prison cell to a Denpasar hospital where she is on a suicide watch, reportedly suffering from chronic depression.

The Australian documentary, Schapelle Corby: The Hidden Truth presented a damning picture of Corby and her dysfunctional family that revealed:

● A family apparently prepared to bribe officials to subvert the path of Indonesian justice only to later attack and impugn the "honesty and impartiality" of the very system they sought to subvert.

● Corby's late Father, Brother and Half-Brother all of whom have had drug arrests included among a sizeable list of other past criminal charges.

● Statements by Corby's Australian lawyer who now freely admits he manufactured allegations that Australian airport workers had planted the drugs in Schapelle Corby's luggage.

● Corby rehearsing "spontaneous" outbursts pleading "for help" from the Australian people, for later dramatization before a phalanx of media cameras.

When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however, improbable must be the truth."

~ Arthur Conan Doyle

The sheer value of the 4.2 kilograms of high-value marijuana found in Schapelle Corby's bag argues strongly against allegations that the drugs were planted by corrupt Indonesian officials seeking a bribe from the young Queenslander.

Such a suggestion simply does not stand up to any thoughtful consideration. If Custom's authorities were in the habit of purposely "setting up" and targeting blackmail victims among arriving passengers in Bali, why is the Schapelle Corby case the single such incident of its kind at the airport that has come to the media's attention? Moreover, even if you accept the improbable proposition that airport officials are running a drug-based extortion racket, why would they target a near penniless beauty school student and use an exorbitantly costly 4.2 kilograms cache of quality marijuana to lay a trap when several ounces of the drug would have worked equally well?

Other have also sought to defend Corby by questioning why "anyone" would bother trying to illegally import marijuana into a country where it is already cultivated, cheaper to buy and arguably more accessible? Informed observers close to the case, however, have replied, pointing out that a) the drugs found in the bag were a high potency hydroponics' variety of marijuana known to be produced in Queensland and b) caucasian dealers with a stash of high quality drugs in Bali are able to sell his or her product at a premium prices to other tourists confident their "dealer" is not working in an undercover capacity for the Bali police.

Increasingly humiliated in her native Australia where opinion polls show a majority of her fellow Australians now doubt her innocence, and facing the stark reality of two decades in a Kerobokan prison cell Schapelle Corby has run out of legal options in the prolonged effort to appeal her conviction.

Start by Saying, "I'm Sorry"

To our view, Corby's last hope of accelerating the end of her imprisonment is to seek a presidential pardon from Indonesia's Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. To do so, however, would require her to admit what many suspect and an entire panel of Indonesian judges found to be true; namely, she did in fact attempt to smuggle 4.3 kilograms of marijuana into Bali.

In fairness to Corby, she has been steadfast in insisting that she is not guilty of the crime for which she was arrested, tried and sentenced to prison for 20 years.

While there are no "sure things" in any judicial process let alone in Indonesia, a heartfelt and genuine apology from Corby to the Indonesian President and the many millions of Indonesian's who have suffered from her callously staged shenanigans would go a long way towards establishing a reconciliation with the Indonesian justice system and could help to hasten the day of her eventual release from prison.

From our perspective, Indonesians are an incomparably large-hearted people and almost culturally-bound by their traditions to grant forgiveness whenever it is sincerely sought by wrongdoers. A people who readily choose conciliation over confrontation, the people of Bali could even be expected to forgive the woman whose calculated campaign was depicted as doing greater economic harm to the island than the two terrorist bombings of 2002 and 2005.

It is, of course, Schapelle Corby's right to stand on principle and continue to insist she had no knowledge or connection to the valuable stash of drugs found in her possession at Bali's airport. And, conversely, it is also the Indonesian Government's right to continue to hold her behinf bars to serve the remainder of her sentence.

For Schapelle to continue to maintain her innocence in the face of her criminal conviction, lost appeals before the courts and the increasingly negative portrayal on her home country's electronic medic means that Corby now desperately needs to offer a viable explanation on how 4.2 kg of drugs found their way into her luggage. To date, both Corby and her legal team have utterly failed to offer anything approaching a tenable explanation.

Schapelle's last remaining hope is to seek the forgiveness of those she has so egregiously wronged. Based on her past behavior, being believed will prove a considerable challenge, but this should not discourage any resolution on her part to finally "straighten up and fly right."