Another Open Letter to Canadian Prime Minister Harper
Dear Prime Minister Harper,
I probably should have made this clear last time. An open letter isn’t necessarily already open. You have to open it. Since it’s clear you failed to address my attempt to alert you to the shameful, trumped-up charges in Jakarta, Indonesia against Canadian citizen and respected educator Neil Bantleman, I’ll give it a second try. I would include the names of the others caught in this web of corruption, but if I can’t get you to stand for your own citizens, how on earth can I infuse you with empathy for citizens of a land half-way around the world?
When last I wrote, Mr. Bantleman had been incarcerated for nearly a year while awaiting and then enduring a trial that would have embarrassed a Kangaroo. The accusations were horrific. Mr. Bantleman and the others had been charged with the repeated anal rape of a five-year old kindergarten boy at the Jakarta Intercultural School. As the courtroom events progressed it became clear that the defendants weren’t only being wrongly accused of a crime, they were being accused of a crime that was never committed. In the end, the three judge panel accepted none of the forensic evidence presented by the defense, while accepting all of the whimsical, random, colossally absurd utterances of the prosecution.
I would chronicle the details, but I’m from the United States and keenly aware that on this side of the border at least, the attention span of a politician lasts about as long as a quick trim at the barbershop. If you’re interested in those details, have an intern go to #freeneilandferdi and follow the links. There has been international outcry, detailed in presses all over the world.
What bothers me is that within that international outcry your administration’s voice has been silent. The only feedback I have received from your camp is that you don’t choose to interfere in the affairs of other countries.
But Mr. Prime Minister, this is an affair of your country. I’m not asking that you send a unit of JTF2’s to bust Mr. Bantleman out of prison, but I’ll bet if you asked any member of that elite force, they would tell you they never leave their dead or wounded behind.
There is no downside to this, Mr. Harper. The international decibel level will only increase as the details of this travesty of justice become more and more evident. Do not let your voice continue to be unheard. You have left a wounded soldier on the battlefield and if you allow him to lie there, you will be, in short order and in full world view, on the wrong side of history.
Good teachers are among this world’s greatest soldiers. You have the power to put economic and political pressure on a corrupt Indonesian government that has allowed this mockery, and help bring at least one great soldier home. But your window of opportunity is closing. Neil Bantleman will be set free. You can be part of that or not. Either way, your countrymen and women won’t forget.
With Whatever Respect That Turns Out To Be Due,