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The Bali Bombers' Execution, a Shortage of Wine and Imported Food; the Growing HIV/AIDS Epidemic and a Send Up of Prince Philip Provoke Readers to Write.


Honor the Victim or Glorify the Criminal

Our Editorial [Honor the Victim or Glorify the Criminal?] earned a record number of "hits" on our website and many comments from our readers.

Here's a sampling of people had to say:

● Karl Warburton of Western Australia took issue with our editorial:

"Sorry Jack I agree with remembering all of the 202 that died because of the bombing, but I can not agree with putting the bombers names in there as well . . . To keep their names out there is to give them some of what they craved . . . Recognition for the perverse type of martyrdom they asked for at the end. I feel that along with all other terrorists they should never be given any credence again."

● Marc M. had this to say:

"Thank you for your editorial on the execution of the Bali Bombers and Capital Punishment. It showed both wisdom and inspiration."

● Sharon Waters in Australia issued words of thanks:

"As an Australian who has visited Bali many times, I have experienced a whole gamut of feelings and emotions since that day in 2002. I have had mixed feelings about the executions but couldn't quite put into words or work out how I really felt. I knew that more death was not the answer. Thank you - your words express exactly how I feel."

● Bob Hobman added:

"Thanks for that, Jack, a fine piece ..."

● C. Ste Marie also sent praise our way:

"Thank you for your beautiful thoughts . . . I hope that this article was or will be published in Java newspapers. I was personally stunned to realize these 3 men had such a great number of supporters and I indeed feel sad they had no remorse."

● Robert Brown, a professional musician living in Ubud wrote:

"A huge 'Bravo' for your thoughtful, wise and inspiring editorial. Many thanks. You are a national treasure! Wonderful and you said everything that needed saying combined with your profound knowledge of Indonesia and its culture and thought processes."

● From Australia, Mal Trump sent the following kind words:

"As a frequent traveler to Bali since 1979 & a part resident for the past 9 years and (because of) the love of the island & all of its residence what ever walk of life they come from my gratitude goes out to Mr. Daniels for a truly inspiring editorial, never a truer work written. I would praise Mr. Daniels again for his thoughts & wisdom portrayed in this editorial."

● Lorraine House wrote:

"Thanks Editor Jack for reprinting this stunningly poignant article. Oh how wonderful it would be if it could turn out just like that."

● Subscriber Lucy Walter added her own exclamation point, by saying:

"Thank you for such a well written and sane approach to this terrible situation. To celebrate death in any form takes from our humanity not adds to it. Surely there is a more effective way to punish these men than to allow them the honor of being martyrs?"

● Tony of Temptation Collections had similar thoughts:

"This article is indeed food for thought and I commend the sentiments it contains...however it brought to the surface one question that has been bothering me for a few years now..."Whatever happened to Pancasila ????"... Over the years this lofty ideal was almost force fed to the Indonesian population almost from birth....and most of my friends stoically defended it even though they knew that it was certainly not practiced by all who preached it ... however all shortcomings aside, it was a grand principle that any nation should be proud of ... with the fall of the 'new order' which seemed to take forever ... I thought that the one thing that would be preserved and promoted above all others was wrong was I??? All i can ask is where, when, why and by whom was this fine "princip" dropped???...Which group of people decided to remove it from schools and meetings all over this wonderful country...all I can say to anyone who was involved in this stupid and wanton act is ..SHAME...SHAME...SHAME !!! And finally if any individuals are game enough to put their name to this foul deed ...WHY DID YOU DO IT ????"

● Helen Flavel of the Helen Flavel Foundation kindly wrote:

"Just a short note to tell you that I thought that your Editorial was brilliant. It was written so simply, yet the words were very compelling. I personally would have liked to see the bombers live out their lives in a Balinese jail, totally away from all the media with family visiting right every couple of weeks.

I'm not an advocate of the death penalty. This is the law in Indonesia and I realize that they have to do what they believe is right for their country. I hope and pray that Bali has peace and the island can move forward without any further trouble."

● Greg Heighes of "Dive Komodo" said:

"Thanks for the editorial piece on the bombers. Just yesterday I met a local who seemed so pleased that they had been executed. I did not have the words in Indonesian to express my thoughts and feelings which you have so eloquently and thoughtfully done. Thank you."

● An Australian, Sharon Stahlhut sent bouquets our way:

"As an Australian I have heard many disturbing views regarding the Bali Bombers, these views were not necessarily mine. It is a very volatile subject especially amongst friends that are regular visitors to Bali."

"Your article touched my heart and certainly forced me to consider my own beliefs on this issue. I too hope that Bali can return to pre-terrorist days, although it would appear that certain factions will make every endeavor to ensure this does not happen."

"These tragedies have not diminished my love for Bali and we will continue to visit."

"Thank you for an enlightening read."

● From Japan, Richard Suter, a former Bali resident, wrote:

"I wish everyone around the world could embrace these words, as it is not only holding truth for Indonesia but the world as a whole. . . . Thanks JD, well spoken!"

● Novelist Diana Darling dropped us the following note:

". . . just want to let you know that I think your editorial about the executions was a good one. The Jakarta Post has it right in this morning's paper: government and media (are) both to blame for lionizing those guys. . .On to a better future."

An Island That Hungers and Thirsts

Our report on the escalating shortage of imported food and drink in Bali [An Island That Hungers and Thirsts?] also brought mail:

● Joseph Haddad in Australian working in air cargo had this to say:

"All I can say is that with these new rules/laws, especially requiring Indonesian language on the invoices along with content will make it even harder for the shipper to deal with Indonesian-based importers thus creating a bigger back door operation via Singapore. It seems that the old days of transshipping via Singapore are coming back."

● Al from Hawaii has some very practical concerns:

"I'm very curious as to what the current situation is there in Bali with regard to the importation of beverage products. How are the Hotels going to manage to keep their guest happy? I will be traveling to Bali in January and I do hope this situation is resolved. It's going to be my 50th birthday and I wanted to celebrate it there - not in Hawaii my home state."

HIV/AIDS: Bali's Silent Natural Disaster

Our coverage of the growing scourge of HIV/AIDS in Bali [HIV/AIDS" Bali's Silent Natural Disaster] brought the following email:

● Margaretha L.Inggard had some questions:

"What is actually being done about the problem of HIV/AIDS in Bali and Indonesia as a whole? Do people get informed and educated in any way, do they appreciate the importance of using condoms in certain circumstances, or do they continue to regard these as a joke and as something strange only used by Westerners? If so, the government, chemists, shops in general, and doctors and nurses ought to promote them, maybe by way of a national advertising campaign as seen in the West. As to the cost, condoms should be made affordable to all. However, firstly, something needs to be done by way of education, the hardest bit! It would be interesting to hear from anyone who knows what is happening so far."

Hey Sailor, Looking for a Good Time?

Our light-hearted send-up of HRH Prince Philip [Hey Sailor, Looking for a Good Time?] brought two letters :

● Lorraine House wrote:

"Such a wonderful tonge in cheek article regarding Prince Phillip, whilst I am not anti-royalist at all your description was apt and your comments extremely well put and very polite for someone (Prince Philip) who keeps making such major gaffs. I do feel very sorry for the Queen having to put up with him and his thoughtless comments."

● Peter Dorney in Singapore cut straight to the chase:

"At least prostitutes 'do something' to earn the money they get . . .what does this man (and most of his free-loading 'rellies' (editor: relatives) do to deserve their high financial rewards from the British Government?

Very little..."