Editorial: Damage Is Done, So What Next?

APRIL 29, 2015

The execution has been carried out and the damage is done. We have to live with that. While we will unlikely feel any positive impact from the execution — nobody can say for certain that drug trafficking has miraculously gone done, or that drug traffickers are somehow spooked from operating in Indonesia — the negative impacts are already here and will be here to stay every time the world talks about execution for drug crimes.

Forget about the market reaction — the benchmark Jakarta Composite Index closed down 2.61 percent to 5,105.56, for a three-day slide — the memory of the country shooting eight people at the same will remain for a long time to come.

What President Joko Widodo may have accomplished by executing these eight people is to make the point that nobody should meddle in Indonesia’s affairs. But we don’t know what other world leaders think when they encounter Joko.

The government needs to launch a deliberate campaign of damage control.

We believe it’s time for Joko to scrap all plans to execute more convicts. Enough is enough. He should have learned the lesson from this unprecedented international fiasco. This is the biggest diplomatic fallout since Indonesia’s annexation of Timor-Leste.

Joko must now show the world that Indonesia is a nation with full respect for human rights principles — no more arbitrary killings in Papua, no more persecution of religious minorities, and no more murdering of drug convicts just to make a point.

Indonesia can also show Australia how sorry we are, committing that our relations with the country will remain strong. We laud Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s intention to maintain ties with Indonesia. We should humbly welcome his statement that he is a friend of Indonesia.