Do you still care about Schapelle?

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Like everyone, 4 years ago I was holding my breath and watching to see what would happen to Schapelle Corby. I felt for her as she was handed a guilty verdict with a 20 year schapelle_corbysentence. Then, like most people after a few months and now years she slowly drifted away from our thoughts and then completely out of them all together.

Every now and then there would be a news story on her appeal plea and her mental health. Once again she’s in the news for her mental health which was splashed all over for oh about 5 minutes and then disappeared. When I went back this morning to find the article again, it was no where to be seen. Have Australian’s given up on her or do we feel like there’s nothing we can do so we don’t waste our time on her anymore? And is it the media that dictates our feelings and decisions on this?

I couldn’t agree more with the following editorial written by yesterday by Tracey Spicer on:

IT IS time to bring Schapelle Corby back home. Pictures of the 31-year-old lying on the floor of Denpasar’s police hospital, dishevelled and pathetically clutching a teddy bear, have torn at the nation’s heart.

Corby’s wide-eyed stare, apparent paranoia and even her tiny, twisted pigtails are obvious signs of a rapidly deepening depression.

Sigmund Freud called it regression: In her mind, Corby is once again a little girl, reliving the halcyon days before the horror of her conviction.

Veteran Bali correspondent Cindy Wockner, who visited Corby in Kerobokan prison last week, said she was “shocked by how she looked, how disoriented and spaced-out she was”.

According to Corby’s cellmates, she isn’t sleeping at night, forgets to take her medication and can’t look after herself.

Dazed and confused, she wanders from room to room of the hospital, carefully guided by her beloved mother Rosleigh Rose.

As a mother myself, that image is utterly heartbreaking. I look at my daughter and wonder about her coming life journey; what choices she will make; what she might be forced to endure.

You see, like Lindy Chamberlain, Corby will be vilified or deified for decades to come, reduced to dinner party debate and barbecue banter for the chattering classes.

What matters now is the life of a desperate young woman. Imagine if she were your sister. Or your daughter. Or your closest friend.

Make no mistake – Corby is on the precipice. A crime which would have garnered a short period of humane treatment in an Australian jail has left her rotting in a foreign hell hole.

Four years ago, as Opposition foreign affairs spokesman, Kevin Rudd called on the Howard Government to support a presidential pardon.

Since becoming Prime Minister, he is conspicuous by his silence. In the words of one blogger: “That’s Kevin Rudd, all spin and no substance. He mouths off like a puppet in a circus, yet he never delivers!”

A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said the Government “would consider supporting a plea for clemency, if and when Schapelle Corby chooses to make one”. Understandably, she has refused to make such a plea, because it requires an admission of guilt.

But her new lawyer, Iskandar Nawang, believes there’s a “technical” way to appeal for clemency while maintaining her long-held innocence.

It’s the first real glimmer of hope in four dark years. And it might be the only way to save Corby’s life.

If her mental state is already this delicate, how on earth will Corby make it to 20 years? At the end of the day it comes down to two things: Money and politics.

Michelle Leslie paid big bucks for a fancy lawyer and is now living in Sydney designing clothes for pets.

Thai bar mat mum Annice Smoel is back in her comfortable, middle-class home, after Rudd found a “speedy solution” to their mutual dilemma – four crying daughters on television every night is not exactly good publicity for our media-savvy PM.

So where is the speedy solution for Corby? Has the much-vaunted prisoner transfer deal been put on the backburner because the beauty school dropout no longer is a daily presence on the front pages of our newspapers?

Will it take a suicide attempt for Rudd to pull his finger out? Politically, the signs are not good.

Indonesia holds its upcoming presidential election in July, with Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono likely to be returned to power. Yudhoyono has famously said that he’s “not in the business of pardoning drug traffickers”.

Indonesian political commentators say “everything stops” when it’s an election year; no important decisions will be made until after the next inauguration, towards the end of 2009.

For Corby, it will be like Waiting for Godot – an interminable tragicomedy – a life or death game where the only aim is to survive.

Her psychiatrist Dr Danny Tong says that, while Corby’s condition is improving, she is “very depressed”. He wants her moved to a hospice in the secluded hill town of Bangli in order to receive proper treatment.

It’s unlikely this will happen.

So, she waits, cuddling her teddy, her head resting in her Mum’s lap, trying to remember why she wants to stay alive.

As Corby wrote in her book, My Story:”I long to be free and live again outside these walls.

“I will never understand why this happened to me.

“I’m empty, lost and numb.

“I sound like a broken record but I will keep saying, I’m innocent, I’m innocent, I’m innocent.”

Does this make you feel sorry for her again, change your previous view or are you just over Schapelle?

  • Ben
    May 29, 2009

    What if it was one of us? Innocent or not, no one deserves to go through this kind of ordeal for such a petty crime. Yes justice needed to be done. But isn’t part of justice a punishment befitting the crime?

  • Ami
    May 29, 2009

    Exactly, clearly the punishment in this case does not fit the crime. That’s the problem when you commit (or are found guilty) a crime in another country. And in a place like Bali it gets extremely complicated. I wonder if she was convicted for the same crime in Australia what her sentence would have been.

    At the end of the day, I think enough is enough for Schapelle.

  • Fyona
    May 30, 2009

    It doesn’t help her cause when convicted drug dealers visit Shapelle in gaol…. but how can our Government let an Australian Citizen waste away like this?
    There are people building bombs for God’s sake and serving less time than this!

  • Ami
    June 1, 2009

    It does put it in perspective doesn’t it. I think you’re right Fy about the Government. It’s almost become irrelevant whether she’s guilty or not, her treatment and her living conditions shouldn’t be how they are. But once again the media have jumped on it for 15 minutes and now she’ll disappear from the media and minds again.

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