My temptation, when people post photos of their holiday in Bali, is to post photos from Kerobokan prison in the comments.
I resist that temptation because I know it’s petty and won’t change people’s thoughts about traveling to Indonesia, it will only change their attitude to having me as a social media friend.
But it was only months ago that we, as a nation outraged with injustice, mourned over the deaths of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan.
Bali is part of Indonesia and Indonesia behaves appallingly, in terms of global citizenship.
Many countries behave appallingly in this regard. Australia behaves appallingly. The US behaves appallingly. China behaves appallingly.
(I’m searching for dirt on New Zealand, but I think it might be clean.)
Yet, it’s travel to Indonesia that sticks in my craw and I’m trying to work out why. Currently my theory rests on the images of paradise-like tranquility yelling to me as a lie about the “real” nature of Indonesia.
But I know that politics, economics and human rights are complicated topics, not likely effected by incidents of individual outrage and wishing the world was fair. I know that people sometimes just want somewhere quiet, warm and pretty to visit, cheaply, with their family. I know that it’s easier to lie to ourselves with justifications of our actions than to actually reduce the occasional luxury we work so hard to afford.
Knowing these things don’t make it better. They make it worse. Because I also know that nothing is ever improved by taking the easy route and we can’t expect other people to work hard to better our world while we choose luxuries over morality.
This makes it worse because I am guilty of the same thing in other parts of my life. I don’t go to Indonesia but I support other things, countries, corporations and activities that make the world worse.
I see photos of people’s holidays in Bali and they remind me of all the luxuries I should go without in order to make things better for others. They remind me of how other people see the world and I wish I could see that world too, but I know it doesn’t exist for me. So I suppose there’s envy there too. And to be envious of a thing that repulses me so much causes me more guilt.
Enjoy your holiday. Don’t get executed. Never expect justice.