Why Coin for Australia‬? An Indonesian Reaction

Hi, an Acehenese here, and this post I dedicate to my Australian friends, with concern to the ongoing #KoinUntukAustralia rally in my country. You know that this action was a result of a silly comment from Mr Abbott, about two Australian drugs dealers who are about to face a death penalty. We completely aware and understand your willingness to protect your citizens, we would do the same thing if that happen to our citizen.

We know that death penalty is a complex issue and it has divided the people in Australia, it also has divided the people in Indonesia, but for drugs criminal, we have no apologize. Why? because want to protect the future our nation. We have some people captured abroad (mostly in Malaysia) and have to face death penalty. And when they asked the government for help, the government came up with a short comment, ” no aids for drugs dealer”. Yup, we have warned all the citizens to stay away from the drugs, but some just want to get rich soon, easy work by selling heroin, thinking for themselves only, obeying the future of others, the future of humanity, the future of a country.

And then, why we concern so much about drugs?

Alright, the most common cause of death in Indonesia is not (yet) from drug abuse, but from traffic accidents. Of course cancers and other communicable diseases and NCDs contribute to some extend, but still traffic accident is the leading cause (at least, that is what I heard). However, drugs distribution is increasingly massive from day to day, reaching such remote areas that we never thought before.

I give you an example, you know that Aceh is famous with cannabis (Ganja) production. Some said that Acehnese ganja as one of the best in the world. Whenever I (an Acehnese) travel to somewhere in Indonesia and I introduce my self that I am from Aceh, the first reaction that I usually get from them was “do you have ganja with you?”. That was true, many Acehnese used to work as Ganja farmers or ganja dealers. This has been happening since long time ago, I think since 70-ies.

And why Ganja is so famous in Aceh? our great grand parents used to use it as a spices, and they said that it had no effect towards mental problem, of course, they used the seeds instead of the leaf. Later, influenced by western famous singer (you know who I meant), our people tried to use the leaf to smoke, and since then, ganja become one of the substance abused in Aceh, and Indonesia of course.

What happened then? I did my research about mental illness in Aceh, and  one of my finding was that more than half the psychiatric patients have the history of ganja abuse, of course other factor factors such as family history, experience with military conflicts, tsunami and socio economic factor might be responsible. However, when we control those possible causes, the rate of ganja abuse among the patients is still high, which later might explain that ganja abuse has contribute to the presence of mental illness among our community. You know that why the experts included substance abuse as one of mental problem in DSM or ICD.

And what happened recently? I visited to my wife’s home in one of the most remote area in Aceh (remote in this case I meant has very little access to those drugs), and surprisingly I found that more and more teenagers started to use heroin, or what we call sabu-sabu. How did they get them? “some people from the town brought it here, gave it to the students (aged under 17) for free, for several times, and when they became addicted, they have to buy it, that is what happening now”. said my mother in law. And those students who were addicted, they seldom go to school, but busy with it, those who have money can just buy, but many of them are poor and they steal something to buy it.

So my friends, image if the future of our generations, those who are currently student, already addicted to drugs, have mental problem, can we leave our country on their hand? our HDI is not that good, we have problem with health access, with education, with financial fluctuations, and if we have so many abusers among our teenagers, what this country would be? a failure nation?

For the ongoing #KoinUntukAustralia campaign that is going on right now, it should has been written as ‪#‎Coin4Abbott‬, not ‪#‎KoinuntukAustralia‬, because not all Australian agreed with what Mr abbott said few days ago. We knew that many Australian came to help us voluntarily, without hoping any payback, they came here as human who help the neighbour. So, I am sorry for this.

Lastly, a word from my friend, “we simply can’t force other nations to agree or disagree with law enforcement in other country…especially when it’s applied on a big criminal like drug dealers”!. So please respect our law, as we respect yours.

Please do come to Indonesia as a friend, we will always be welcoming you, because “peumulia jamee adat geutanyoe (honouring the guest is our culture).

Hope this note explains our reactions!

Thoenis

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