Open Letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper:
Neil Bantleman, a Canadian citizen and educator at the prestigious Jakarta Intercultural School (JIS) has been imprisoned in Indonesia on child abuse charges that are dazzlingly absurd. By the most basic standards in your country or mine, not one piece of credible evidence points to Neil or his co-defendant, Ferdi Fjiong, nor the five imprisoned cleaners, earlier tortured into confession in the wake of a sixth who was likely tortured out of his life. In fact, all evidence points to the truth that no abuse ever took place.
Much has been written about this case, in Canadian papers, the Wall Street Journal and various online sites, detailing Indonesian police and court corruption, stories of magic stones, testimony entirely antithetical to original charges, and on and on. Your governmental Google expert, or any seventh grader, can pull up the details.
And yet you remain silent.
This is an easy one, Mr. Prime Minister. When the accusers attempted to add an American educator’s name to the list of suspects, the American ambassador came down on them like a hammer, and that American’s name was removed.
This is an easy one. No one on either side of the Canadian political spectrum could possibly hear the details of the Indonesian legal process to date, and believe justice is being served, or even noticed.
This is an easy one. There’s no downside. You have the opportunity to assure all Canadians that injustice to your citizens will be dealt with straightaway, both economically and politically; that Canada doesn’t leave its people behind. Anywhere in the world.
This is an easy one, Mr. Prime Minister, but surprisingly, a great number of writers and educators on your side of the border say your administration is simply indifferent to the needs of the general population.
Don’t let that be true.
This is an easy one.
With cautious regard,
We Who Are Waiting