A call for Australian tourists to boycott the popular island destination of Bali has intensified on social media after Tony Abbott’s strong words to Indonesia last Wednesday.
Mr Abbott reminded Indonesia of Australia’s 2004 $1 billion tsunami aid in the hopes Indonesia would repay the generosity by granting clemency to two Australians on death row.
“I would say to the Indonesian people and to the Indonesian government, we in Australia are always there to help you and we hope that you might reciprocate in this way at this time,” he said.
Indonesian foreign ministry spokesman Armanatha Nasir did not take kindly to Mr Abbott’s recent comments on the issue and warned “no-one response well to threats”.
“I hope the statement made does not reflect the true colours of Australians,” he added.
The #boycottbali movement began last Friday when Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told 3AW radio that Australians may reconsider holiday plans if the executions went ahead.
“I think the Australian people will demonstrate their deep disapproval of this action, including by making decisions about where they wish to holiday”.
The campaign was launched in support of Australians Andrew Chan, 31, and Myuran Sukumaran, 33, who face death by firing squad for drug trafficking convictions in 2005.
Indonesian Twitter users retaliated with the hashtag #boycottaustralia.
Polarised views have arisen from both Australian locals and Indonesian nationals.
Indra Dithya, a Jogja native who visits Bali every holiday break, said Australian tourists have had a bad name in Bali for several years, and said Bishop’s comments were too emotional and immature.
“It’s fine for us. Bali is a number one world destination, we’re gonna [sic] survive without Australian tourists,” he told the Newsroom.
“We need some sort of detox from these Australian tourists for a while, I can imagine Bali without bogans.”
Sydney local, Mish Mitch, has visited Bali and maintained lasting friendships with locals. He doesn’t support the death penalty.
“I think the Bali nine were incredibly stupid and immoral but state-sanctioned killing is not the answer,” he said.
“I feel sorry for peace loving Balinese people. But there are too many Indonesians that are thirsty for blood and retribution… and too many Australians willing to condemn [the convicted] Australians but not this terrible law.
“I prefer the Aussies hashtagging Boycott Bali than those who are demanding the execution of these men.” – Jion Legaspi
Top photo by Mohammad Rassawala.