JAKARTA, Indonesia — It probably wasn’t the reaction Tony Abbott had hoped for.
Last week, in an eleventh hour bid to save two Australians on death row in Indonesia, the Australian prime minister thought of reminding Indonesia of all the nice things his country had done for its neighbor.
“Let’s not forget that a few years ago when Indonesia was struck by the Indian Ocean tsunami, Australia sent a billion dollars worth of assistance,” Abbott said on Wednesday.
“I would say to the Indonesian people and the Indonesian government: We in Australia are always there to help you and we hope that you might reciprocate in this way at this time.”
Unsurprisingly, this didn’t go down well in Indonesia, where his response was seen as churlish.
The angry backlash against Abbott’s comments started in Aceh, where 170,000 were killed in the 2004 tsunami. Several organizations launched a campaign to “repay” Australia, and started collecting spare change in the streets. The outcry then made it to Twitter, where the hashtags #KoinUntukAustralia or its English equivalent #CoinForAustralia and #CoinForAbbott were trending over the weekend… see more