Sunday, January 29, 2012

Timeo hominem unius libri-faciem

Hello interweb,

I don't think I'm much of a political person but... something's been bothering me of late, and that's this case of the chap in Indonesia who was taken into prison Friday week and hasn't been heard of since.
From the Jakarta Globe:

A civil servant, Alexander Aan, posted “God does not exist” on Facebook. He was beaten by a mob and faces up to five years in prison, as blasphemy is illegal in Indonesia.

Now, you might say that the world is full of injustice, and that foreign lands are far away ( and full of people who think, talk, act and believe in ways it would take me a lifetime to understand)- and you might say to me; "Darren, why- oh- why would you think you have any right to comment on affairs in Indonesia at all? - and shouldn't you not just either mind yer own business,- or if ye want to pick a 'cause', pick something local and relevant like the whole 'Shell Oil' bastardry or 'Occupy Limerick' or, even closer to home, the wanton mismanagement & nepotism involved in the application of an architectural solution to a social problem that is laughably known as 'Limerick Regeneration'? "

Yes you could ask these questions, and in asking them you might raise your voice and poke your finger in an accusatory fashion, and thereby attract fascinated onlookers who applaud you and shout things like:'Hear- Hear' and 'Well done that chap!' and 'That was well said: let's see what this outspoken Marzy fellow has to say for himself now!'.

- and my answer, under such circumstances, would be probably be... to simply look at my feet and mumble "I dunno" before slinking away to jeers and laughter and cheap jibes of type that I wont bother illustrating for you here.

But later, as I scaled the staircase of the seedily elegant Parisian apartment building that I don't actually live in, I would pause... as a sleek and silent cat passed by me rather defiantly on the stair, and, ( as is bound to happen in such contrived circumstances ), it would come to me suddenly.... in a flash,- exactly what it was that I should've said when it first was put to me that the world is full of injustice, that foreign lands are far away , that I'd no right to comment on affairs in Indonesia, and would do better to pick a local and relevant 'cause' instead...

This is what I would say: firstly to a french cat, secondly to the back of a french cat and finally to an empty staircase, I would say:

" Alexander Aan could be me!

I mean, writing stuff that occurs to me and putting it 'out there' ( without properly thinking about the consequences) is what I do... and Mr Aan's offence was less than anything I've ever done... I mean, this man wasn't even a blogger, his comments were on Facebook ; he was hardly standing outside a mosque with a megaphone shouting "Go home, God is Dead": his comments were on the Atheists' page!"


A man decides he doesn't believe in Allah anymore,
He argues his point ( on an atheist page ) on facebook,
He goes to work, a mob is waiting for him,
They beat him up and deliver him to the police because, thinking as he does,
the mob believe, is against Indonesian law.

He is arrested.
That was nine days ago and that was the last I heard of him.

All joking aside- and it may be a strange thing to say, about somebody I don't know, but I'm honestly and seriously worried about Alexander Aan.

Desi Anwar of Jakarta globe newspaper


Yordan Nugraha on the legality of Atheism under the Indonesian constitution

Edit: latest (monday)

Edit2:There are people calling for him to be beheaded (Thursday).

Edit3 Trial not going well for prosecution.


  1. an empathetic esprit d'escalier is a rare and lovely thing. beautifully put, D.

  2. That Fucker Next DoorFebruary 29, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    Sometimes you don't get to "pick a cause" - the cause picks you!

    That said, it would be nice to read your opinions on "regeneration", seeing as how you live slap bang in the middle of one of the areas targeted.

    It would be delightful to read a critical perspective other than my own for a change.