Category Archives: Drugs

Chan and Sukumaran were just another means for Abbott to boost poll ratings

Judging from the deaths of drug smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, it appears that the Australian government does not know the definition of diplomacy.

Either that, or it chooses to ignore what it is, because the whole point of communicating with other countries is to shore up its political position at home.

The word diplomacy is best defined as “skill in managing negotiations, handling people, etc., so that there is little or no ill will; tact.”

One does not conduct diplomacy — and in the case of Chan and Sukumaran the aim was apparently to prevent these two young men being executed by firing squad — by announcing to all and sundry what is being done. Or what is intended to be done.

One uses the back-door for diplomacy. It does not matter who gets the credit, if the end result is what one wanted to achieve. Megaphones are not used when one is conducting diplomatic negotiations.

And one particularly avoids making one party look as if they have backed down or lost out in negotiations. This is the one thing that can kill a diplomatic process. But Australia has done exactly the opposite.

It is abundantly clear from all that has happened in the last few months, that for both the Australian prime minister Tony Abbott and the foreign minister Julie Bishop the lives of these two young men was the least important consideration.

Neither Abbott nor Bishop did a thing as long as community sentiment was not in favour of Chan and Sukumaran. Once there was sympathy in the community, both Abbott and Bishop started holding press conferences whenevr possible to trumpet whatever they were doing in the case.

It is downright cynicism, but then that it politics. Abbott saw a good chance to boost his poll ratings – and no doubt when the next opinion polls come out he will get a boost. Bishop has leadership ambitions and she took the chance to do her image as much good as possible.

Dawson was too fragile for what she tried to do

THERE is an unspoken convention among most people that one does not speak ill of the dead; in the Sinhalese language, there is even a separate word to describe this.

Not that one needs to remind people of this; most people tend to be politically correct when a man or woman dies and refrain from speaking the truth. Even when Richard Milhous Nixon died, most people refrained from describing him as a crook – even though that was the mildest term one could use to characterise a thug like him.

A week or so ago, Charlotte Dawson, a TV personality, was found dead in her flat in Sydney. Dawson, who was approaching 50, made a name for herself by trying to take on social media trolls and outing them. She was prone to fits of depression and ended up in hospital for her troubles.

Dawson appears to have committed suicide. She was greatly affected by the troll affair. Further, her former husband, the swimmer Scott Miller, gave a detailed interview to a TV channel a few weeks before her death; this affected her greatly as well.

All the material published about her after her death was sympathetic to her; nobody pointed out that she should have received some advice while she was alive to avoid putting herself in situations that exposed her to situations that could have brought on depression.

She insisted on trying to be a high-profile person; yet, she was exactly the kind of person who should have kept a low profile as she could not handle the publicity and everything that normally follows in its wake.

As one writer put it: “I think you (Dawson) were also claimed by the fear of getting old. It is hard being 47. At the crisis of middle age, losing your sexual currency, becoming invisible.”

There’s more than a grain of truth in that; many people who crave attention find it frightening when they are not the centre of attention and will do anything to become the focus again. This was true of Dawson but she did not have the mental strength to handle what she undertook.

How the AFL shields law-breakers

IN AUSTRALIA, as in many other countries, the use of recreational drugs is illegal. Yet the Australia Football League, the body that administers Australian rules football nationally, knows and hides the names of several players who have been known to indulge in the usage of drugs.

The AFL’s drugs policy is a curious beast. It will only name players when they have been caught thrice. The league tests players both in and out of season and any infractions are noted.

In 2012, there were 26 positive tests. Had any of these players been operating under the code of the World Anti Doping Agency and tested positive on match day, that would have meant a ban of two years.
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