I think it was in September 1998 when Anwar Ibrahim was sacked by Dr Mahathir. He was later accused of all sorts of trumped up charges and eventually went to jail. I distinctly remember the feelings I had when we heard the news of Anwar’s sacking and later, when we heard the charges against him.
It was a similar sort of feeling when about three years later, we sat at home and watched the twin towers that was the World Trade Centre in New York City, crumble after being hit by two commercial jets.
On each occasion, it was a feeling of unbelief, a sense of being ill, and
wondering what has become of the world we know.
It was the same feeling I had that morning a few days ago, when I saw the news about what our cricketers had done in South Africa. I felt ill, and I felt as though it was all so surreal. I wondered what had happened to Australian sports – what has become of the world as we know it.
I guess the way things have unfolded since then, says a lot about how confused Australian society, and I guess western culture, has become. We are a society where we cant say “that’s wrong” to a child (or anyone else) anymore because apparently that would be to “judge” someone by “our own” standards. And yet we expect “correct” behaviour from public figures like our sportsmen.
Apparently, we are allowed to publicly and collectively disapprove (“judge”) of conduct by someone like David Warner or Steven Smith when they seek an unfair (or even illegal) advantage over opponents but we cannot do the same when one of our own do something obviously wrong. Morality, discarded on one level, appear to still hold on another.
We have become ready accusers to stand waiting to throw the first stone, when we have discarded the rule about adultery. We have not been so ready to ask if we may be guilty of transgressions ourselves so as to ask if we can be throwing the first stone. The accusers have not left one by one, and yet no one is willing to say “neither do I condemn you” or allowed to say “go ahead and sin no more”.
I am sick when I think about why Steve Smith and our Australian cricketers did what they did, but I am even more ill when I consider how confused our society has become.