20 November 1996
Life of Riley
Murder most foul
Once upon a time -- and a terrible time it was too -- in the land downunder there lived a very bad man named Martin. Martin was a lonely boy and had few friends. Indeed, it would be true to say that Martin didn't have any. In all of the land downunder, no-one would call Martin their friend because Martin was wont to take out all his guns and shoot people. In the land downunder that was a terrible thing to do.
``I shot 35 in one day!'', Martin did exclaim, but people would only look at him with horror, turn and run back into their houses, for they thought some frenzied distemper had got into his head.
``What shall I do?'', lamented Martin as he was brought before the courts and charged with murder most foul.
``Oh my dear boy'', the judge did proclaim, ``I am in myself undone, by reason of the burden that lies hard upon me. You are a child of our bowels yet we must disown you as a creature of darkness.'' And having said many words to that effect and looking sternly towards the accused, the judge sent Martin away never to be seen again.
Once again order and good government seemed to return to the wonderful land downunder. Its people would embrace one another and speak kindly to their children once more, for there was much gladness in the land now that Martin could accost them no more. And the church bells did ring and the people gave thanks for being delivered so.
But just as Martin was being sent away, into the wonderful land downunder there visited Bill Clinton who was soon followed by General Suharto, and these two rejoiced with the people for being now free of him that had threatened them. (For, as it is well known, fear of death is the very worst fear of all.)
With Bill on his right and the general on his left, the elected leader of the land downunder told his people to fear not; and having said so he embraced first the one and then the other. At this the people were asked to cheer -- which they did in a polite fashion. Then, stepping forward, the general addressed them: ``Unlike that Martin chappie, I have true friends''. And he turned to the elected leader with tears in his eyes, then raising his voice, he exclaimed: ``I too have shot many in one day but am now forgiven for I did it in service of thee'' (herein nodding to Bill) ``and thee'' (this time bowing to the elected leader) ``and me'' (now pointing to himself).
At these words, a silence descended over the people. Some coughed. Others looked at their feet and raised their heads only when their elected leader addressed them once again.
``Let it be known that from this day forth we will allow no-one into this country who tries to deny history.'' And having said this, he shook the general's hand.
The next day, Bill Clinton ended his visit to the land downunder. He took up his guns, his planes and bombs, his missiles and all his sundry incendiary devices and returned home. Was Bill lonely? No, he wasn't. With all his guns, his planes and bombs, his missiles and his sundry incendiary devices, Bill had many friends. This may seem surprising when you consider how often Bill would shoot or threaten to shoot people he didn't like.
``That's OK'', said the general. ``At least he is not going to shoot me.''
``Or me'', said the elected leader of the land downunder.