Monday, 7 September 2009

Indonesia: To Become A World Superpower in 2015?

Indonesia: To Become A World Superpower in 2015?

The world’s 4th. largest Nation of 215 million – and world’s 3rd. largest democracy, Indonesia – now led by a lame duck President, is plagued with economic, political, corrupt government & separatist problems – but may turn out to be a World Superpower by the year 2015. How?

By Lena Soares • Uploaded 17th. September • Updated 1st. Oct., 22 Oct., 4 Nov., 13th. Nov., 1999, 29 May, 2000, Last update 15th. February 2001.

This is a compilation of international and Indonesian press articles and comments, the opinions of various leading figures in Indonesia, with the opinions of experienced players in the field who contributed and participated in shaping the scenarios for the benefit of the nation. The opinions of foreign participants familiar with Indonesia are also included.

These web pages will benefit international policy makers who have no idea what Indonesia really is, and because of it, many times make government policy statements which sound ridiculous to those who are aware and know what Indonesia really is – the world’s 4th. most populous nation, and a geographical territory that needs some 10 hours to cross by Jumbo jet airliner.

These will also benefit those who live in Indonesia, but for reasons of their own prefer to stick with their own foreign community who by and large isolate themselves from people who matter and who make events happen. When and if they do meet the local population, they are usually their staff, secretaries, and other subordinates, not the best sources for “inside information” and what is really happening in the country. A simple rule of thumb is: if one does not speak the language (and this does not include giving orders to staff or servants), one does not really know the country they are in, even if they spend 20 years in it.

For example, the IMF’s disbursement delay of US$400, and calls for cancelling US$150 million in Australian aid by Australia One Nation’s Pauline Hanson, or some international calls for cancelling other aid, are in the eyes of Indonesians, and expatriates who are knowledgable, do not threaten Indonesia’s livelihood. Some in the international community truly believe that their aid will make a difference, while the reality is in fact far from what is perceived by donors. One of the senior Ministers stated publicly in early 2000 that “we really do not need IMF’s $400 million.” In January 2001, the senior Minister Coordinator for Finance & Economy stated the IMFwas still needed to guide economic reforms but its multi billion funding programme was not vital to pull the country out of its mess,” and lately said that the IMF “is pushy”, summarizing what is according to an international report, “the Fund could no longer pretend that adjustment had not been a massive failure in Africa, Latin America and South Asia.” Click here for more on this. The IMF contrary to acceptable opinion, did not assist in salvaging the ruined economy and may have in fact contributed to former president Soeharto’s downfall in 1998 by “forcing” economic reforms, for example, the raising of fuel prices, which resulted in revolts around the country.

Many private Indonesian individuals, particularly those descendants of former kings in Java, have contributed, are contributing, and will continue to contribute large amounts to the continuation of the Indonesian nation. Whether the Indonesian government will get any of these private contributions, is a different matter because those contributors differentiate between “the government” and “the people”.

Neither is Indonesia a basket case demanding aid, or a nation of poor people as made out in foreign news media. The truth is far from this as readers will find in respect to “substantial external assets” owned by Indonesia, which was also confirmed by the head of IMF in 1997 in a press conference in Washington, D.C.

Indonesia, for the first time in its fifty six years of existence, is in a transition to a democracy and is going through the birth pains associated with it. Its transition to a democracy is only a little over ONE YEAR old – on October 22nd. 1999 when democratically elected Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur),was named president by the Upper House of Parliament, the MPR. Mr. Wahid is Indonesia’s 4th. president after Soekarno who reigned for 21 years, Soeharto 32 years, and B.J. Habibie, Soeharto’s protégé, 1 year.

These opinions were evoked by upheavals, human rights violations, other events like burning of malls and deaths of dozens of people in its capital Jakarta, and deaths of thousands of people in Maluku, Aceh, Irian (west Papua), east Timor and other parts of Indonesia.

Views here, or in the national and international press may, or may not be balanced depending on one’s perspective, as this perspective is very much dependent on one’s breadth of knowledge.

Knowledge in turn is based on actual, in the field experiences, and the ability to speak the local language to confirm what one sees on the ground, free from interpreters’ biases, assumptions and probable lack of cultural mores. Not from a far away perspective, or based on what some of the misinformed international media say, and not “what other foreigners” and “analysts” based elsewhere who do not even speak the language say the primary source of misinformation and misinterpretation. However, the more one is familiar with Indonesia, has lived in the country, the more s/he will agree with the comments here, especially when one is a player with field experience who speaks the language.

The West forgets its own dark past ...

Information here and in the other web pages, take into account past historical events which give a background and a better understanding on the “whys” certain events happen which are relevant and influence today’s events. Many in international communities imply a whole nation of 215 million people are guilty of these atrocities. The International Herald Tribune, an informed and one of the largest worldwide distributed printed media, said about international criticisms on Indonesia: It is easy to be full of moral indignation if one forgets history and follows headlines. The West, seemingly ignorant of its own past, is in the grip of self-righteous moralizing ...” [Click here to see excerpts of this article at the left sidebar below].

Conflicts stem from two camps: those who want to maintain the status quo of the 32 year old Soeharto regime, versus Indonesia’s majority population comprised of youths who demand change because of abuses committed by the former. Add to this those who sway with the wind and come from mostly former Soeharto people. They are the undecided, that is, they want to stay loyal because of personal and material interests acquired during the Soeharto years, and on the other they have to conform to change prodded by Indonesia’s mainly youthful society. The undecided are present in nearly all the 42 new political parties, at the DPR Lower House of Parliament, led by Golkar’s Akbar Tajung (who reputedly is a shareholder in several major companies. Golkar was Soeharto’s party), the MPR Upper House of Parliament, led by Amien Rais (chairman of the PAN political party whose undisguised ambition to be president does not seem to cut it with his previous supporters), and nearly all government functionaries. For more on the mechanics of Indonesia’s legislature, please click here.

Views here are like describing to a first timer how to drive a car, and when he sits at the wheel, the experience of actually driving the car is vastly different than just hearing or reading about it. But the many field experienced contributors here, who are wise to the land mines of Indonesian realities, particularly business realities because they navigated through them and contributed nationally enjoyed by tens of millions of Indonesians, hope that they can closely simulate and convey as much as possible the analogy of “driving” this car.

Comments below are weighted towards the political aspects, while weighted towards business realities can be found by clicking here. Both political and business realities are written for those who have no knowledge of, or for those with short or even long-term experience base in Indonesia. Views were revised February 15th., 2001.

Local papers generally reflect the attitude and opinions of its readers. It is a good indicator of a nation’s views, and what people want to do with their nation’s shortcomings. Indonesian media reports are no exception. Readers reading the people’s concerns in the Indonesian media and on TV will see for themselves that Indonesia is not as portrayed in negative foreign news media.

The advent of this year-old democracy had not come easily. This huge nation is beset by economic problems that won’t go away; corruption to the lowest levels of government bureaucracy left by the former Soeharto government plagues the ordinary person in the street. Separatist problems caused by injustice and distrust of the state security apparatuses (the army and police) for the past 32 years by the previous governments towards the ordinary people in Jakarta and outlying areas a few thousand miles away in Papua (Irian), Maluku, and Aceh, are making people take the law into their own hands because of the slowness of reformasi and its expected benefits.

President Wahid: the law must bow to politics?

On top of all this, this nation is led by a religious cleric who had 3 heart attacks, the last one a minor attack 2 years ago which critics say deranged his mind manifested by his public statements saying ‘A’ one day on TV and denying it the next day. On January 19th. Mr. Wahid again stated something which did not make sense: “...if the law didn’t bow to the pressures of political developments there would surely be trouble in Indonesia...” one of a kind of many other previous comments which this one, unfortunately, verges on imbecility making people wonder whether the Indonesian president is telling his people the law should sway with the wind, and change whenever it is convenient for those in political power. [Click here for the side bar story].

Prior to this, he made another statement saying that 3 conglomerate chiefs under investigation and indicted for stealings billions of dollars “be exempt from further investigation for 2 years to give them time to run their companies because they are major exporters.” Upon which the head of the Exports Association two days later disputed, stating that these companies combined exports were “insignificant” and that their standing was in the lower 20s of major exporters.

He can’t function as an executive, never mind as the president of this huge nation because his doctors in Indonesia, the U.S. and China say his vision is only 20% at best and therefore dependent on adjutants who read to him state reports and must handhold and lead him to every function. Add to this, he is now accused of being involved in several unclerical financial scandals. All during one year.

How did a “physically defective president” which violated the 1945 Constitution directive of “fit in body and mind” even managed to become elected? The same way George W. Bush won the U.S. presidency, although Al Gore got the majority of the popular votes? Because of the workings of the U.S. electoral college.

The Indonesian voters overwhelmingly voted for Megawati Soekarno Putri, daughter of Indonesia’s co-founding father. But the MPR (the Upper House of Parliament which functions in the same way as the U.S. electoral college) prejudiced towards a nation led by a woman, voted to choose Abdurrahman Wahid when the 2 other presidential candidates withdrew. So, Indonesia with the world’s 4th. largest population of 215 million which surely must have a more capable candidate, is now stuck with this lame duck president until the year 2004, unless Mr. Abdurrahman’s enemies who were once his former supporters can find a proven criminal cause to impeach him.

What are the chances of Indonesia’s financial and political stability going through another round of changing of the guard? Please click here for an analysis.

The potentials of becoming a world superpower?

In spite of the hopelessness, coupled with the impossibility of the situation where a physically defective president is in charge, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel: this nation may even become a World Supowerpower by the year 2015 give and take a couple of years, what with its assets in the thousands of billions (or trillions) U.S. dollars kept abroad by the several hundreds-year old former Javanese kingdoms in the vaults of 93 national central banks and 113 prime banks and acknowledged by no less than the IMF.

These multi-trillion dollar assets are not owned or sourced from the corrupt Soeharto government. In fact, the corruption by Soeharto’s administration in the region of some say US$150 billion is minuscule, it is “change” – a fraction of the trillions of dollars in assets that Indonesia’s people own.

The Soeharto government derived its riches from corrupting funding derived from international institutions like the World Bank, the IMF, the IGGI, CGI which chose to ignore rampant corruption. These institutions in turn derived these funds from Indonesian royals’ collateral. The Soeharto government and their “elements”, referred locally as oknum, also got their riches by providing monopolistic licenses to Soeharto’s siblings, cronies, relatives, and Soeharto’s Chinese cousins, effectively keeping out the other 215 million members of society. [See also side bar report the World Bank tolerated corruption].

Where did these international financing institutions get their collaterals and resulting funding from?

From hard, “bankable” collateral, deposited at many banks (in the U.S., England, France, Germany, among others) hundreds of years ago by former sultanate kingdoms in existence over 1,500 years ago, e.g. the Sriwidjaya Empire (7th. to 13th. centuries based in Palembang, Sumatra, and the 11th. century Majapahit Empire based in west Java which extended throughout all of south east Asia). Many of these kingdoms of over 1,000 years ago traded their spices with European and Asian (northern and southern Chinese kingdoms), Japanese, South American and some African kingdoms.

Spices during their times were as valuable as and even more valuable than gold. It was these south east Asian kingdoms, especially the 125 sultanates in what is now Indonesia, that introduced coffee, tobacco, chocolate, cocoa, and other spices over the last 2,000 years (hence the phrase a cup of Java [coffee], for example), and introduced rice in the 1600s to what is now the U.S.A. through Madagascar*. The Swiss, famous for its chocolate, do not produce this commodity incountry, likewise the Germans with their well-known German coffee and German cigarettes.

The last major economic entity was in cooperation with what was known as The Netherlands East Indies, a Dutch based economic empire after the years 1550 occupying what is now Indonesian territory which existed prior to the establishment of the Indonesian Republic in 1945.

Later during modern times these assets were held by various foreign finance institutions and central banks, and re-distributed and used by world multilateral finance institutions for the benefit of the people of which the collateral owners owners are part of.

Ownership of these assets have not changed; they still belong to citizens of what is now called Indonesia handed down through the generations; but the institutions that now hold them have changed in name and became more sohphisticated in their function.

The Jewish international financial community, known for its dominance of U.S. and European finance circles assisted in providing the contacts for these finances – hence, president Abdurrahman Wahid’s desire to establish diplomatic relations with the Jewish nation, Israel, against the wishes of the majority of its Islam dominated people.

Indonesia’s trillions is not in the public domain and is privately owned, much like one’s US$ 10,000 deposit at some bank. It is not open to anyone asking for information about it. Ask information from any local bank about a neighbour’s deposits. Not only will one not get it (how much money he has in his bank account), but the banker may not even admit that your neighbour has an account. And that’s only $10,000.

What does Indonesia have ... now

Indonesia has its vast sprawling territory. While some ignorant U.S. and Australian media writing say it is not legitimate because it was a former Dutch economic entity (Netherlands East Indies), Indonesia is “as illegitimate” as Australia was when the colony of murderers and petty thieves was given legitimacy as a nation when the British handed them the keys to their jail cells. Indonesians can say it got its legitimacy as a nation by fighting and dying for it, just as Americans did against their British masters – in a dignified way. But one can’t say that for Australians who were, figuratively speaking, simply let out of their jail cells.

Whatever Indonesia’s historical background, it is nevertheless an existing country – and a big one at that. Its very rich natural resources, and its 75% youthful population exposed to international and domestic satellite television and the good things in life enjoyed in other parts of the world, will motivate them to make this nation a better place to live and enjoy life in.

Indonesia is B I G ... 10-11 Hours to cross by a Jumbo jetliner

Visualize Indonesia as a territory spanning London in England, across western and eastern Europe, all the way to Iran in the Middle East. It is therefore a big country by any standards.

People looking at the Indonesian map do not realize how big the country is because national borders are represented on land areas and not delineated on oceans. In many world maps it is represented by less than half a dozen little specks like an after thought. While the latest satellite maps show its territory covers an area over 5,600 kilometers wide, and has some 17,508 islands as claimed by the new Ministry for Marine Exploitation & Fishery. Not 6,000, not 10,000 and not 13,000 islands as quoted by the international news media.

It takes some 7 hours from Jakarta by commercial jet to fly to its most eastward border in West Papua (formerly known as Irian Jaya) on top of Australia. It takes some 2 hours to fly westward from Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, halfway the island of Sumatra. Or nearly 4 hours to the west from Jakarta to the town of Sabang, the western most part of Sumatra and western end of Indonesian territory, totaling a continuous flight of 10 hours, or 11 hours with a stopover in Jakarta. Tens of thousands of national and international travelers will confirm this, including Boeing 747 pilots who overfly nonstop the Indonesian territory.

10-11 hours? There are not too many countries that need so many hours to cross with a Boeing or Airbus, and this includes the U.S. continental territory which needs only 5½ hours to cross!

Diversity of its nation - some 75% under the age of 30

The nation’s 215 million people are made up of some 582 different ethnic groups and as many languages. For example, the west Javanese (Sundanese) in the western part of the island of Java speak a completely different language than the central Javanese, as different as Welsh and English, and completely incomprehensible to the typical central Javanese. Yet, they are next-door neighbours with homes next to each other separated by no space between each other.

The cenral Javanese in Solo and Yogjakarta in turn have 7 different levels of the Javanese language, that is, the lowest level spoken by intimate friends, by teenagers and in the markets, to the highest levels the language of the kings. These Javanese languages in turn are so completely different, that when a person is not schooled in the Kings Javanese, the lower Javanese speaker will not understand the King’s language. Its people’s hues range from light-skinned to black African-type ethnic groups, and from Middle-Eastern to Chinese characteristics.

75% of this 215 million, or some 161 million people, are under the age of 30 years (published 1997 statistics, Bureau of Statistics). This makes the country a young nation, open to the good things in life, and open to new ideas. Its youthful attitude is reflected in the nation’s media publications mostly filled and written by young people for young people. The leading international magazines for fashion, health, etc. have their local versions. The over 2,000 licensed entertainment spots, excluding restaurants, in Jakarta alone, and the youth-oriented programming of the present 7 nationwide TV stations re-transmitted by the domestic satellite systems (there are 4 systems) are filled by youths. 5 more nationwide stations will appear by the year 2001. [See the article on Indonesia’s “Yummies” on the left side bar below]

Its capital city, the Greater Jakarta area is some 1,000 square kilometers (386 sq. miles) divided into central, north, east, west and south Jakarta. This excludes its satellite towns like Bogor, for example, where its urban areas are uniting with the town of Bogor some 50 kilometers away.

It is as modern as any of the world’s metropolitans with its internal circling toll roads on concrete stilts which need some 60 minutes to travel at 100/120 km/hr. (62-75 mph) from one point to return to the same point, and the half built outer ring road which will touch its satellite towns. It has malls as many as and as large as any of the world’s capitals, and probably larger as some of them provide several kilometers in shopping space. Its abandoned real estate construction (left during the 1998-2000 economic crises) is restarting, and new real estate areas with their shopping malls are being added in some new satellite towns, built from scratch that were previously rice fields and banana groves – economic crisis or not. It is reportedly (by the United Nations) one of the 5 largest cities of the world after Mexico city’s population of 35 million people.

Jakarta grows from 11-12 million at night to 18-20 million during the day (1997-98 published Jakarta City Government statistics), the size of many countries. Its commuters come in from up to 80 kilometers (50 miles) away from the 4 directions of the compass clogging Jakarta’s internal toll roads and toll roads leading outwards from Jakarta. Jakarta sometimes has traffic jams until 10 p.m. at night, some due to bad road planning, but also due to many more people who used to own motorcycles now own cars.

The heartbreaking events that are taking place in east Timor, west Papua, Aceh and Maluku to the typical Jakartan is something like a Londoner hearing news about conflicts in Yugoslavia – it is far away.

Riots that may take place in those areas are akin to riots taking place in Los Angeles for those folks who live in Washington D.C. Except that to the Jakartan and the Washingtonian they are in the same country.

Putting it in another way: international tourists intending to visit the U.S.A. and Washington D.C. will not cancel their visit because there are riots in L.A. a few thousand miles away. This is no different for visitors in Jakarta or Den Pasar in Bali referring to riots in Banda Aceh in Aceh which is at least 4 hours flight away by Airbus commercial jetliner.

Tourists arriving in Indonesia when asked about “riots and upheavals in Indonesia” commented on TV, “What riots? We haven't seen any. If there were, we’d just stay out of it.” ... the typical reaction of most people when there are riots or demonstrations in their own country ... the typical reaction of a New Yorker when he hears of riots in Los Angeles.

How about the alleged anti-American sentiments demonstrated in Solo (central Java) by a group of people? Which happened only once, not repeated over and over in other areas. Bob Harrison, a 35 year old American tourist from Manhattan, N.Y. commented, “I don’t believe Indonesians dislike Americans. I see our culture all over the place, MacDs (Macdonald), Kentuckies (fried chicken), American pop in radio and TV, name it, it’s all over the place even in little towns. Besides“, he added, “it's like saying blacks in America are attacked because Americans are against blacks, something I do not believe in, like I do not believe Indonesians dislike Americans.

Indonesia is big. Big in everything it does because the population is big and its national boundaries are vast. Indonesia is not Holland, Luxembourg, Hong Kong, or Singapore. When there is trouble in those areas, it will affect everybody.

This does not mean to say Indonesia is better. It is simply not comparable like comparing a cherry and a water melon. Just as Singapore, for example, is like a 4 storey hotel cannot be compared to a 215 storey hotel (Indonesia) which is far more difficult to run, wipe off corruption, dirt and injustices in that massive 215 storey entity. Singaporeans who say, “Why can’t Indonesians straighten out their country?” are using a typical city-nation mindset, and obviously are not aware what they are talking about. Singaporeans never say “Why can’t China be like Singapore?” because they know China is big and massive. They think Indonesia is the same as Singapore, not realizing that they are talking about a massive entity. Jakarta’s 12 to 18 million population is 300% to 500% bigger than Singapore’s 4 million, never mind the rest of the country.

In short, Indonesia as it is today, what it has today in spite of the corruption, upheavals, and all the things that has disturbed many people in Indonesia and internationally, is not poor, is not a basket case, and it certainly cannot be boycotted like Iraq, Libya and other countries boycotted internationally because it is too big. And because the industrialized countries are using Indonesian privately-owned assets to support their industrial and monetary credibility. Web pages on this site will explain why.

U.S. Ambassador Robert Gelbard, the first foreign envoy to meet new president Abdurrahman Wahid, nicknamed Gus Dur, on Fri. Oct. 22nd. said "Indonesia has become the third largest democratic country in the world, (after India & the U.S.) with President Abdurrahman Wahid as the symbol of democracy." He said the U.S. wished to help the country's economic recovery.

International nations do not monopolize decency

International nations do not monopolize decency and readers should bear in mind that Indonesian youths and hundreds of people died and tens are still missing all over the country, and all for the cause of this decency.

It is unlike that as portrayed in international TV coverage claiming “Indonesia kills ...” (implying that all 215 million people are killers) as versus “Indonesia’s military elements kill...” (meaning specific elements of the nation are killers) which is more accurate and which the whole nation is against.

Indonesians – and that means the Sundanese, the Javanese, the Bataks, the Balinese, the Menadonese, the Papuans, the [west] Timorese, the Bugis and hundreds of other ethnic groups – because there is no such thing as “an Indonesian”, the word Indonesian being a geo-political creation – never killed that many people; not in the hundreds of thousands, and certainly not in the millions.

This generalization is as utterly ridiculous as saying “Americans kill ... ” simply because hundreds of thousands of American soldiers killed 2.3 millions Vietnamese. American soldiers did the killing and, as extensively covered in their news reports, the common American citizens – who like Indonesians are also made up of different ethnic groups – were dead set against all these killings in Vietnam.

The situation in Indonesia is no different. Indonesians – and they were a small minority in charge – had their reasons, be they “right” or “wrong”; and the Americans – the small minority who were in charge – had theirs, be they “right” or “wrong”.

The nation only became aware the U.S. Special Forces trained Indonesian Special Forces to become efficient killers

Indonesia’s security forces wanted to maintain the status quo which they enjoyed for the past 32 years under former army general Soeharto, injured 34 others in Palembang, Sumatra. Prior to this another student death occurred on Sept. 24th., 1999, while the security forces injured many hundreds more.

Many youths and ordinary people died in different parts of the country before and after Soeharto stepped down, all for the cause of decency.

In 1998, four students in the Trisakti University campus in Jakarta died when military snipers from an overhead toll bridge 500 meters (1640 feet) away killed them with specially made military sniper rifles using metal piercing bullets, both provided by the U.S. Special Forces (only the U.S. special forces use this type of bullets, according to a forensic news report aired on TV, radio and the printed media). This was the last straw that broke the camel’s back that overthrew then incumbent president Soeharto in May 1998.

It was also the first time the nation was aware that the U.S. Special Forces trained the Indonesian armed services from military court testimonies given by court martialed soldiers, statements by army commanders aired on TV, radio and the printed media, and eventually several U.S. government military sources, interviews on international satellite TV by U.S. defence journalists, including Defence Secretary William Cohen, who could not deny U.S. role in the training of Indonesia’s Special Forces and “consultancy” in the east Timor conflict. In other words U.S. Special Forces, even though in civillian clothes, were in east Timor advising Indonesian forces on how to become efficient villager killers, gleaned from the Vietnam experience.

Nations which criticize Indonesia are themselves guilty of atrocities they accuse Indonesia of ... and on a much larger scale

These violations of common human decency invoked protests throughout the country, and blaming en masse the whole Indonesian nation of 215 million by some circles in the international community is ridiculous and biased, considering most of these criticisms came from international communities known for killing millions of people. [See left sidebar, Australian Foreign Minister “deaths in the hundreds”, not thousands].

These realities are not, however, covered in 90% of international news and TV broadcasts. Nor do these broadcaster even try to imply that the Indonesian commoner of which there are 215 million people in reality object to these atrocities.

It is like harping time and time again, over international TV and printed media, the Americans killed over 2 million civillians in Vietnam, the Germans killed 6 million, but completely leaving out another facet – and important part – of the story that the American nation was against it, and years later the German nation apologized for these atrocities. After awhile these stories becomes very tiresome, just as it becomes very tiresome and irritating for Indonesians. It is also irritating when some Indonesians on local TV admit when in some foreign countries they deny they are Indonesians, but instead hide as either Vietnamese, Japanese or some other nationality because of the negative publicity of its people on international media.

Why then do some international news media exaggerate, click here.

The lesser known and less reputable media prefer instead to tug at the heartstrings of their viewers by showing the pain of 3,000 refugees in Darwin, Australia. But completely ignoring until the 21st. of September, 1999, that more than 230,000 refugees in Indonesia’s west Timor are also devastated – more than 77 times the number in Darwin who are plagued by weapons toting militias which the refugees in Darwin do not face.

In other words, Americans who have killed so many people (some 2.3 million people, according to a July 1999 televised documentaries in New York); the Germans who killed 6 million jews which the whole world already knows about; and the English who killed tens of thousands in China that ended up with the English “renting” the Hong Kong and Macao territories, are in no position to lecture Indonesians about atrocities. It is not pleasant or nice to hear these facts, be those Indonesians with atrocities in Aceh, Maluku and Papua; or the Americans with their black history in Vietnam, and the Germans with their barbaric history towards the Jews. But they are, nevertheless, facts whatever mindset and actions that caused these unpleasant facts.

An Old Nation

The Indonesian nation is an “old nation”, that is, the majority of its people, or some 150 million out of 215 million people, are comprised of the Javanese. The Javanese race came from the Java Man one of the world’s oldest mankind, older than the modern home Sapiens. Modern day Javanese are mixed with southern Chinese.

The Javanese culture is made up of its own Kejaven, and later on mixed with Hindu and the Islam influence. Its Kejaven culture is old, pre-dating before the time of Christ and is older than European cultures and its influence shows through.

Modern day Indonesia is the world’s largest Moslem country when the 9 Islam scholars, known as Wali Songo brought the Islam religion to what is now Indonesia in the 1100th. century. It is a secular state and not an Islamic state or a state which applies the Islamic Law like in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, Libya and Brunei Darussalam.

Javanese and other cultural groups seeded what is now Suriname in south America, Madagascar in east Africa, Hawaii, and other islands in the Pacific. The Javanese kingdoms also dominated what was previously the 125 kingdoms in the territory of what is now modern Indonesia: Balinese, Sulawesi, Acehnese, Borneo, and other kingdoms which is now no longer Indonesia, which include what is now Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

While present day nations may find some objections to this claim, for example the different languages of Thailand is different than the Javanese and therefore there is no relationship is a criteria that cannot be used, to the unitiated the old central Javanese writing is similar to present day Thai writing.

Also, the fact remains that many royal families of what is now different countries, particularly in Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam, still pay their respects to their ancestors in Java, especially in central Java. What is now “different countries” was a development influenced by western political and economic actions in the last several hundred years.

Gentle and Accommodating People

Indonesians, particularly the Javanese, are accommodating, and fear offending another person. This trait is alike in all south east Asian countries like Thailand, Malaysia and other south east Asian nations.

Because of this, many Javanese will never say “no” in their daily affairs when s/he is pressed for an answer. But will instead smile, or say belum (not yet). Again, because it goes against their nature and grain to offend.

The notion of murdering other Indonesians? While a very small percentage may do so as demonstrated in troubled spots, but in general it does not click somehow with the people’s inherent nature.

What percentage? The army and police have been accused of committing atrocities. Figures-wise, the total armed service personnel is about 450,00. Out of this only 300,000 are actual weapons carrying soldiers, from the non commissioned to the 4-star generals. Out of this 300,000 persons, it is estimated that some 5% are involved in atrocities against its own people, some because of direct command, and some very likely because of frustrations faced in the field. 15,000 wellarmed soldiers out of a population of some 215 million is a minuscule 0.007%, less than 1 percent carrying modern weapons, many of them trained by the U.S. Special Forces how to kill innocent people in east Timor and other areas, can create chaos. This is what the poor gentle of Indonesia have to face today that their “nation of 215 million kill people”.

The low profile Javanese

Dominant in the Javanese culture is the low profile of its people. Australia which is 1/11th. and nearly the same size as Jakarta, and Singapore 1/70th. the size, are better known because Indonesians do not trumpet their achievements and are very bad in self promotion and selfcapability – a Javanese low profile trait.

Prior to the 1997 economic Asian crisis Indonesia was (or still is) the world's largest producer of liquid natural gas (it’s not in the Middle East), the largest urea fertilizer producer, the largest plywood producer, and owns the world’s largest gold mine (it’s not in South Africa) and world’s largest in 3 other industrial products. And second world’s largest producer in other commodities. P.T. Freeport, a subsidiary of an American company, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX) is the world's lowest-cost copper producer and the world's largest producers of copper and gold, ships 30,000 metric tons of gold and copper ore every day for the past 28 years. One can imagine the hundreds of billions of dollars it has made over the years. FCX's operations are conducted through its subsidiaries, P.T. Freeport Indonesia (PT-FI), P.T. IRJA Eastern Minerals Corporation (Eastern Mining) and through Atlantic Copper, S.A. (Atlantic).

98% of all its vehicles until 1999 used on roads throughout the country, including in east Timor, are locally produced and assembled. They are buses, trucks, motor cycles small and large, including Harley Davidsons and BMWs 1200 cc motorbikes – and passenger cars from the small 2-door CLK supercharged sports, A series, C passenger & station wagons, 2-door & 4-door E, to large luxurious Mercedes Benz S-320 series; BMWs 3 through 7-series; station wagon & passenger Volvos, Willys, Chevrolet Blazers and all the Japanese trademarks, including the 1999 introduction of 2 new previously unknown local trademarks right in the middle of the Indonesian economic crises.

Indonesia does not import built-up vehicles, until March 2000, because of the 350-400% duties unlike Singapore and Hong Kong. There are more automotive and transportation assemblers in Indonesia than the other south east Asian countries.

Indonesia built the east Timor infrastructure

Whenever Indonesia is in the news, it is negative news – riots, demonstrations, human rights violations, people being killed, TNI (Tentara Nasional Indonesia) armed forces shooting innocent people, the things that make news. In east Timor there were news about the destruction of the infrastructure.

Many foreign based writers used figures of speech to convey a negative impression, e.g. “shame on Indonesia”, and the “Indonesian killers” a very negative implication as if a whole nation of 215 million people are killers, versus the “Indonesian nation”, a neutral impression.

After reading these news, one has the impression that Indonesians wantonly destroyed east Timor, and that it “owes the international community” for this destruction.

It was not the whole nation; nor the typical politically-unaware villagers in Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan or Bali – who probably do not know where east Timor is in the first place – who destroyed east Timor’s infrastructure; nor the Indonesian government which invested personnel, money and effort, although many of the TNI troops in Dili provided arms to the militias.

If Dilli and other towns were dark and foreboding as a battlefield, it was not always a battlefield, but shops, restaurants and other things that makes a town a town.

Such writers neglect to mention a very important fact: that the existing US$ 2.9 billion infrastructure that was destroyed, was built by Indonesians in the first place as a part of Indonesia. They were not built by the U.N., or the Australians, or Portuguese, or those countries who complain but have not spent a single cent. [See also left sidebar on refugees resentment and blame towards the U.N. for Timorese bloodshed].

Indonesians built the government offices, the government and private TV and radio stations, the government PLN (state electrical) power facilities, the Departemen Pekerjaan Umum (DPU) public works department which invested and provided road building equipment and materials, the half a dozen state-owned and dozens of private banks and hundreds of businesses, shopping areas, and terrestrial, satellite and GSM telecommunication systems that were destroyed.

The U.N., the Australians who led the peace keeping mission – and sadly in spite of their self rightous posturing – no other country can, or is willing to take over, or spend the money, or replace what Indonesia had already done in east Timor. And this is the unfortunate fact.

Fortunately, there were international communities and international media which were aware and even foresaw that blame for this wanton destruction was attributable to the Nobel Peace award, as the Washington Post predicted.

Those who destroyed the infrastructure were many, very unhappy people who were mostly east timorese militias, youths under the age of 30 who grew up with color television and handphones who took these things for granted – which Indonesia provided, and the over 30 who can compare what Indonesia did for their society. They can see for themselves that Indonesia did a lot more than their former Portuguese colonizers.

U.N. Denigration of the East Timorese?

And the newcomers under the guise of the U.N.? The Timorese feel they are treated like animals. [See left sidebar story by the Sydney Morning Herald: U.N. personnell intolerance and denigration of east Timorese, e.g. “They have an IQ of a dog ...]. Indonesians would never treat the east Timorese with denigration because the west Timorese on the other side of the island have no problems with the rest of the nation.

What about the 78% who voted for independence? There were proof that the ballots were rigged (i.e. genuine ballot boxes were replaced as they were transported [by U.N. observer vehicles] along the way), and were so publicized in the international and national media. No one will ever know for sure what actually happened, and who rigged what.

As the Indonesians were the losers in this scenario, it stands to logic that those who won rigged them. Who? Very likely the Australians as many east Timorese locals blamed them.

To ensure that they were not found out, it was the Australian government who were insistent from the very beginning that they lead the U.N. sponsored international peace force, even to the extent that they were already prepared for this contingent – way before there was any talk about an internationally-led peace keeping force.

But why go through all this trouble?

In east Timor, Australia can dominate the east Timorese and play on some east Timorese colonial mindset, particularly those who can communicate, understand English and work for the Australians. Economically, the Australians can dominate the east Timorese, specifically in the east Timor Gap which is suppose to contain oil and recently found gas deposits. They cannot dominate the Indonesians. [See article left sidebar]

Weapons alledgedly sent from Australia were also found in the Christian enclave in Maluku, according to the local populace and the several associations of Maluku Society. As part of Maluku is Christian, if the area separates from Indonesia, the U.S. can build a base in this S.E. Asian area with Australia dominating east Timor. The Indonesian nation, although colonialized for over 350 years by the Dutch, do not have a subservient attitude to be willing to be dominated by orang bule (literally translated to mean albino, but connotating a “white person”).

That is why Australia admits that it is “America’s watchdog”, surreptitiously given homework to create havoc in their area of the world while the U.S. watches the outcome. Why? To enforce further its role as the sole world superpower.

East Timor had nothing, absolutely nothing, when Portugal left their colony and Indonesia took it over. Some writers say “invaded” the territory, another negative implication that was tossed around.

Invasion means thousands of troops, fully combat ready and armed, descending in amphibian tanks and troop carriers, backed up by aircraft bombers and helicopter gun ships, descending on the poor unarmed east Timorese villagers. Just like the U.S. troops did when they invaded Panama sometime ago, and just like the Australian-led Interfet troops did when they came to Dili as the peace keepers – with Indonesia’s permission, it should be added – who came in fully combat ready, just as if they were going to go to war with their equals, the TNI troopers. An utterly ridiculous scenario for most Indonesians. [See sidebar article below].

Indonesians do not consider east Timor, or Aceh, or Maluku a different community

Foreign communities also do not realize that Indonesians do not consider east Timor as a foreign country. It is like any other part of the country. The international community, however, views it differently, like it was another country, and its people like citizens of a different country. While in fact, the east Timorese are exactly of the same cultural heritage as the west Timores which Indonesia is not having problems with.

Viewing it from this perspective – and it should be viewed from this perspective, not a foreigner’s perspective as they have not lived in the country and therefore find this concept alien – Indonesians consider this parting a great shame, very regretable, and place blame on former president B.J. Habibie who as most Indonesians think only wanted to “please” and “demonstrate to the international community” he is a democrat.

Indonesians place more blame on the TNI armed services who had to do a job against the communist leaning Fretilin, and while doing their jobs at the same time committed abuses against the ordinary man in the street ... just like events that had taken place in Jakarta, and other areas of the country, (and just like American soldiers did in Vietnam which, we all know, was not condoned by the American public).

Aceh, east Timor were not the only areas subjected to atrocities ... Jakarta was too

The international community should remember that it was not only east Timor, Aceh and Maluku that were subjected to atrocities and destruction of properties. The whole country was, and these included killings, and destruction and burning of malls, homes and shops, in the heart of the capital Jakarta.

Add the 1997-2000 economic crises where upwards of 30 million people slid under the poverty line of US$ 250 dollars per capita or lost their jobs and ability to feed themselves because of the bankruptcies of thousands of companies, we have a large group of people who are susceptible to do anything, including being steered and being paid into creating chaos, just so they can feed themselves. Who are we who have never starved to criticize these people?

Where Does Funding for these chaos come from? ... And why?
Soeharto’s followers also contributed to the chaos

It has been revealed that the former Soeharto government had illegally printed and stashed away funds in containers and warehouses spread throughout Java and its major cities. It is this illegal cache that is funding the riots, feeding inter-tribal rivalry and religious feuds across the country for the purpose of creating chaos. Notes printed were between Rp 1,200 to Rp 2,000 trillion in Rp 50,000 and Rp 100,000 denominations with Soeharto’s likeness on the face of these notes. (Rp 9500 = US$ 1.00 as of December 8th., 2000).

It is this secret cache of illegal money printed in Australia, France and Germany (which these governments will obviously deny) that is entrusted to mainly high ranking officers of the army still active in the Department of Defence as of this day.

This money is not counterfeit because it is the same money in daily circulation in the country made by the same printers. But its printing was illegal, that is, they are not backed up with sufficient U.S. dollar or gold collateral. They are funds which are not officially registered in the Bank Indonesia central bank, nor acknowledged to exist by the IMF which is one of the pre-conditions demanded by the IMF to aid Indonesia’s economic recovery.

(The IMF does not allow the printing of these large denominations as a precondition for their assistance. Ironically, however, the nation prints the money for 10 African nations in Kudus, central Java).

The reason being that when and if riots and inter tribal rivalry get out of hand, this will give the armed services, i.e. specifically the army who were dominant for over 32 years, an excuse to step in and forcibly take over the country over the newly elected democratic government. Ranking members of the army also have a personal motive to maintain their status quo: use of the illegal cash entrusted to them.

The Bank Indonesia central bank’s governor who was in charge when these events happened is facing a criminal indictment, was recently arrested, held in detention for about 5 months, let out of detention, and has now returned to office. The B.I. in addition, is in a mess, accused of letting massive corruption in the tens of billions of dollars to go unchecked. It is certainly in no position to function properly to control the circulation of illegal money.

Soeharto cronies’ tactic however seems not to be working as the days go by because the common people are becoming more vociferous and, when certain grievances are not taken care of immediately, these commoners now take the law into their own hands by burning buildings, attacking police personnel and sometimes even killing them, and destroying and bombing their buildings (e.g. the bombing of the Attorney General’s office recently). It is a kind of revenge for years of being maltreated by the security [police and army] and by the court systems which can be bought off by the well to do members of society who want to win their cases. With these excesses, there are bound to be abuse committed by the ordinary man in the streets. The days of security apparatuses going around half-cocked are now over. They now watch themselves how they behave.

The Navy, who are legally in command now through the appointment of a naval officer as the commander of the armed forces by the newly-elected President Abdurrahman Wahid, apparently do not participate in these illegal activities.

The Air Force, accused of previous illegal activities with the banned Partai Komunis Indonesia in 1965 were left out of significant armed forces activities during Soeharto’s 32 year reign during 1966 through 1997.

During B.J. Habibie’s presidency, however, Soeharto’s tactics were carried on by his supporters. New notes with the likeness of Indonesia’s founding fathers Soekarno and Hatta that replaced Soeharto’s likeness, were again manufactured in Germany, France and Australia. These are now in circulation and are used as part of the funding for creating chaos and upheavals.

Gus Dur’s Government, however, have taken steps to neutralize the above intent by changing the Rp 50,000 notes with Soeharto’s likeness to another and newer denomination, including those with Soekarno-Hatta’s likeness making those illegally stashed notes with Soeharto’s likeness to useless paper.

How does one determine which notes with Soeharto-Hatta’s likeness are illegally printed? Rp 50,000 and Rp 100,000 denominations with the non-Soeharto likeness are serialized with TMI (for Tommy, Soeharto’s youngest son), HBB for Soeharto’s protégé, B.J. Habibie; TUT (for Tutut, Soeharto’s oldest child and daughter), BGU (for former army chief Bagyo), and WRT (for former armed forced commander general Wiranto).

“We cannot ignore Indonesia ... ”

We cannot ignore Indonesia ... crises or no crises ... ” stated the world’s largest manufacturer of automobiles, a sentiment echoed by nearly every major manufacturer of various commodities and industrialized goods that matter. This manufacturer then followed up their conviction by increasing their investments and bought out their local partner.

Indonesia did not allow the imports of completely built up cars because the local assemblers were dominated and owned by Soeharto business associates. They wanted to keep out the competition, the independent importers of completely built up (CBU) cars.

The new Abdurrahman Wahid government however opened the doors to built up cars and now on Indonesia's roads we find CBU Mercedes S600, S500, CL 500, Rolls Royces and Bentleys, Porsche 911 Turbos and Ferraris, right in the middle of the present economic crises. The local assemblers however still maintain their predatory tactics, that is, a locally built/assembled Mercedes S320 is still more expensive than a CBU S320. The latter has all its options, while the former is bereft of any options.

Weapons & Consumer Goods

Indonesia produces its own weapons; and other weaponry including cannon & rocket carrying 2-man attack helicopters more maneuverable and can fly circles around the much-touted Blackhawk helicopters used by the Interfet because it can fly upside down loops (unheard of in most helicopters). It produces 60 kmh 100+ passenger Boeing licensed ferry hydrofoils, convertible as troop carriers, used in Batam, Hong Kong and other areas.

Joint venture industrial manufacturers are working together with Indonesian businesses because they recognize it as a country with a large population they cannot, or will not ignore simply because it is big – big in everything it does, with or without its riots and its shortcomings.

This is demonstrated by the vast majority of multi-national manufacturers of virtually every industry: consumer goods, industrial products, transportation, weapons, telecommunications, automotive and fashion clothing among the 101 different business classifications.

An example of “big” is the efforts of an Indonesian company which intends to build 70 million telephone lines using the latest wireless digital technology, at a cost of US$ 150 billion funded by overseas Indonesian indegenous-owned assets, which will increase the Indonesian telephone density from a very low 2.8% in 1999 to a more reasonable 26% in 20 years. This is still very low compared to neighboring nations.

A National percapita does not tell the whole story

While its per-capita income is very low compared to the better known countries (US$ 1,100 X 215 million persons before the 1997 Asian crisis. Now it is estimated to be half of that), a per capita is just a set of figures which, when Indonesia's national population is shrunken to Australian or Singaporean size and divided into the gross national product, its per-capita becomes very high, much higher than Australian or Singaporean figures.

Normal economic standards of figures like the per capita figures by themselves do not tell the whole story because they can be manipulated one way or the other. What is more significant and will carry the nation are the vast potentials the Indonesian nation can achieve, potentially on par with the U.S., Japan and China because it is after-all the world's 4th. largest populated nation of which 75% are under 30 years of age with a vast geography to match, vast natural resources, and vast collaterals deposited at foreign central banks.

To change from a centralized system to autonomous administration

Indonesia’s latest political developments after newly-elected President Gus Dur took over the government reigns, may eventually steer it to a semi federal system. First, in 1999 starting with “autonomy” for all its 26 provinces that may increase to more than the present 32; then “special autonomy” for some areas presently wracked with disturbances.

When everyone psychologically comes to grips about accepting autonomy and the benefits the outlying areas has come to enjoy through its autonomy, it will then become a nation very much like the U.S.A. At one point in Indonesia’s history after it declared independence in 1945, Indonesia was called the United States of Indonesia, U.S.I., for less than a year until it was formally changed to a Republic.

Its past presidents from Kennedy onwards and other high officials of the western industrialized nations have always tried not to “upset” Indonesia as demonstrated in some articles here which quote their own words.

This included the U.S. outdistancing itself from combat duty in the Australian led Interfet adventure except for logistics. There were no fighter or stealth aircrafts, or bombs or missiles like that used in Kosovo, not even “stern warnings” when the U.S. Defence Secretary arrived in Jakarta.

These leaders who know what Indonesia is and what its natural potentials are, are unlike some journalists who say “shame on Indonesia”. And are unlike “experts” or even readers of Indonesian affairs expressing their opinions in the world media who have never stepped into the country. Nor even know where it is situated in the first place because of the after-thought blips on most world maps – and making comments which are many times so utterly ridiculous, that both Indonesians and expatriates who know better, laugh at their misconceptions and complete ignorance because they think Indonesia is some insignificant little island with no political clout in the middle of an ocean that is going around murdering its own people. These expatriates who live in Indonesia also express their ridicule of anti-Indonesia media articles in the local media.

Worse, reports demonstrating the simple-mindedness of its authors, are news printed in Australia shown in Jakarta on one of the 7 nationwide TV hourly “stop press announcements” on the 3rd. of November, 1999, alleging that authorities in west Timor are preventing east Timorese refugees from returning to their homes in east Timor.

Having a death wish? Treating intelligent people like cattle?

Why in the world would authorities prevent those who want to return home? Why would the authorities overburden themselves with the economic costs of tens of millions of dollars of supporting hundreds of thousands of refugees who do not want to stay – which even Australia is now dreading because of the expected influx of refugees to Australia from east Timor that will cause added expense on their national budget?

Why provide housing, food and education costs, and set up up additional clinics and hospitals to provide medication for refugee children distressed by diseases spreading throughout the camps and other logistical support already straining their budgets that the west Timor province is asking help from the central government and international aid agencies?

Why do all these things at great expense and human effort, and sacrifice the other refugees who want to stay – for people who do not want to stay? Wouldn’t common sense and a little intelligence dictate that these authorities should instead expedite their return? So that the west Timor government can be relieved from these burdens?

Or do these journalists who write these ridiculous reports think west Timor government officials have a death wish of having crowds of hundreds – even thousands – of screaming sick and hungry people beating on their doors day in and day out, 24-hours a day demanding food, medicine, shelters?

Or, perhaps these writers have such a low opinion of their Australian readers that they can simply lead around intelligent Australians just like cattle? These are the kinds of ridiculous publicity – the atrocities “committed by Indonesia”, preventing refugees from returning home, etc. and etc.– that Indonesians have to put with.

But who are these critics to judge? When westerners are criticizing Indonesia about atrocities, they forget the atrocities their own nations are more guilty of because they have killed millions. And the excuse that it was committed during a war, during WWI, WWII, Vietnam, and other areas of conflict mostly for unacceptable reasons like the killing of 6 million Jews because they were ethnically “different”, or because they have a “different” political belief, is not good enough–especially when they concern millions of unarmed civillians–women, children, even old people who could not possibly do any harm to anybody!

When they mention Indonesia’s atrocities they should remember their own historical atrocities so their preaching in the United Nations, in their press and international electronic media will not sound so ridiculously hypocritical. And then perhaps their preaching becomes more acceptable, and even credible to those Asian nations who were many times subjected to these atrocities over the years – in fact over the centuries.

The nation is concerned with the east Timorese, the Acehnese, the west Papuans and Malukans plight – as it is concerned with the plight of other members of its society by providing food, medicines, funds and moral support through various local NGOs and the Indonesian Human Rights Commission. Indonesians throughout the country have friends, buddies, and relatives who are from these areas. It is unthinkable even to think about harming one’s own relatives, even if this relative is by marriage.

They are, as U.S. president Clinton said on Oct. 8th., in Quebec, agreeing with Indonesian sentiments, are of the same ethnic background. Not some strange alien from the other side of the globe. The west Timorese are exactly of the same cultural and ethnic background. They are not having any problems with Indonesia.

Why then are the east Timorese having problems?

Historically because of the interference of the Portuguese colonizers. Now, it is the interference of the Australians and the United Nations, with human rights abuses as the reasons. [See also side bar on Clinton’s comments].

That is why Xanana Gusmao, the acknowledged east Timorese leader, bade farewell to the Indonesian troops when Indonesia formally relinquished east Timor. TNI and Australian troopers were even seen hugging each other! Deep down, Gusmao knew that Indonesians were basically nice people and their soldiers were doing their jobs, and that although some of them may have supported pro-Indonesia militias and created havoc and created the same kind of atrocities western nations committed, they had a reason to do so from their perspectives–whatever their perspectives may be. Because in their eyes they were valid, just as western nations at that time considered their atrocities valid and justified.

He also realizes that the people in Jakarta treated him reasonably well. The authorities gave him the facilities and enabled him to participate in public forum discussions where members of the public even roundly criticized the TNI major-general spokesman in front of Gusmao. [See also side bar on Gusmao’s visit to Jakarta].

His lawyer was an Indonesian based in Jakarta who looked after his personal interests, and the Indonesian authorities moved him from a common criminal jail cell housing murderers and rapists to house arrest, and eventually gave him his freedom. This is the reality of Indonesian society – decent people with no intent to malign or hurt someone else.

The authorities were not by ‘forced’ by western powers

Were the Indonesian authorities “forced”? Who by? Western governments may have “suggested” he be moved. No one “demanded” anything.

Those who think Indonesia was “forced” to move Gusmao to better quarters and free him–and relinquish east Timor, either vastly overestimated the western powers role in Indonesian affairs, or they vastly underestimate Indonesia’s clout in the eyes of western leaders–that is, western leaders who matter ... not some small patch of a European country which could not handle their colony getting out of hand that they abandoned it.

Also knowledgeable western industrialized leaders are very well aware of Indonesia’s vast multi-trillion dollar collaterals that are kept in their central bank vaults, and are in fact used by these nations to strengthen their own financial and industrial capabilities.

The likelihood of these industrialized nations “demanding” anything from the Indonesian nation that is also providing their industrial legitimacy is very minimal. For more on this, please click here.

Updated 13th. Nov., '99
This was again confirmed by senior American government officials, notably former U.S. Ambassadors to Indonesia, Edward Masters and Paul Wolfowitz, and a former underscretary of defence after his Jakarta posting, the latter also stated Indonesia did not need American military cooperation, "What Indonesia needs is political and economic cooperation." Note, too, that these officials never said Indonesia needed “aid”; it needed cooperation. Why? Click here.

Walter Lohman, director of Indonesian affairs at the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council, confirmed Indonesia is changing not because of outside pressure. He said: "Indonesia is changing in response to the demands of its own people and economy, not in response to threats from outside."

Interfet moved into east Timor because Indonesia allowed them in, and because the U.N. had requested Indonesia’s permission.

East Timor was given independence, not because the referendum stated it wanted to part from Indonesia, but because the new Parliament which elected Gus Dur as president decided to grant east Timorese wishes. It is illegal and against the 1945 Constitution for the president to allow a part of the country to be independent, just as it is illegal for the incumbent U.S. president to allow the state of Texas to become a nation of its own.

Former president B.J. Habibie was ready to declare war on Australia if, in spite of the 78% referendum for independence, Parliament decided not to relinquish east Timor and Australia continued to interfere, according to a biography released October 1999 by one of the TNI generals. On Oct 25, the Indonesian parliament ratified the vote result and Jakarta officially handed over East Timor to the United Nations.

A sense of decency, not foreign pressure

But in the end it was the sense of decency of the people of Indonesia represented in Parliament. The additional public pressure of Indonesian press criticisms by some one hundred dailies and weeklies of government actions in east Timor, Aceh, and other areas; the telephone polls by the 7 nationwide television stations and the printed media; the half a dozen interactive TV shows each day lasting until early in the morning for weeks on end, with viewers participating throughout the whole nation through toll-free calls, which made the decision to grant east Timor independence.

Not the ‘influence’ of foreign publications which Indonesians look askance at anyway because they are considered incapable of grasping the root of a problem.

Besides nobody reads them. 15,000 copies of Time Magazine and such foreign media, for more than 100 million potential readers (or 0.015% of total readers), with 10 million Indonesians capable of reading and understanding English is categorized as “nobody”, except for some intellectuals who buy foreign publications. And many foreign educated intellectuals, because of their foreign education aware of some of the rubbish written in such media, consider most of the writing full of nonsense anyway.

Once in a while, there is some credible foreign press reporting by The International Herald Tribune, for example. But by and large foreign publications are ignored, as most Indonesians don’t even bother to address them, just as president Gus Dur is now ignoring Australia's Howard's government much to the irk of Australian officials. (Note the word government, not the people of Australia).

It was not western political or financial pressure, or much less Australian “pressure” which allowed Interfet into east Timor, that granted independence to east Timor. Why not western financial or military pressure? This is described below/the other web pages.

Because of Australia’s alleged interference – which Australians do not consider as “interference” but human rights violations (forgetting that they too are guilty of ignoring the rights of their Aborigines through the policy of Australia’s stolen generation,a metaphor for white oppression of black Australians) – and because of Australia’s penchant for throwing around their weight with modern arms against what are basically civilians with handmade weapons and small weapons taken from the TNI, newly-elected President Gus Dur has decided that his nation, too, must reinforce its “physical” capabilities. [See the Australian Financial Review article]

And that is by appointing the Navy chief of staff as the commander of the armed forces, a hereto unheard of decision which since the birth of the nation in 1945 was always the domain of the army.

Why is this? Because Gus Dur intends to increase the naval force by at least 10 fold, e.g. if Indonesia now has 200 naval vessels, it will increase to 2,000; if it has 500, it will increase to 5,000 naval vessels – a formidable navy by any standards even though most of these will initially be composed of corvettes.

There will be plenty of takers to build this formidable naval force – from European ship builders to the world’s largest shipbuilding companies now located in Asia, and naturally local Indonesian shipbuilders.

Ofcourse, the planned increase to hundreds, if not thousands of naval vessels capable of arresting errant “fishing boats”, is ostensibly “to protect” against fishing violations. The formation of the new Fishing & Maritime Department supports this intent because the Indonesian territory does cover a huge area from England to Iran and requires a very large number of naval vessels.

But any armed forces intelligence officer can see through Gus Dur’s real intent, and that is to increase the Indonesian “defence” (read that as warfare) capabilities.

At the end of the day, Australian vessels – and Australian armed services – will be very careful how they conduct themselves around Indonesian territory. Not like now, sending spy planes, recruiting east Timor spies over Indonesian territory, but firing off protests when two Indonesian fighter planes intercepted Australian F16 fighter planes over Indonesian skies. It is all right for foreign aircraft to surreptitiously fly over Indonesian territory, but it’s not when foreign aircraft are discovered and intercepted.

No one needs double standards: the kind when the U.N. Security Council goes up in a furor when 3 U.N. personnel are killed by Timorese militias, but not a peep when over 250 Palestinians are killed by Israelis, events within a space of only weeks apart.

Add seeking the replacement of the scrapped Indonesia-Australia defence pact, China’s intent to extend its influence in Asia thwarted by the western powers for decades and an opportunity to set up a China-Indonesia defence pact with the weapons associated with it and China’s intent to increase its naval capabailities, Gus Dur (and a whole nation of intellectuals) are fed up with the negative innuendoes and outright accusations many of them baseless. Add to these the double standards employed by the western nations.

And now prodded by Australia claiming to be America’s watchdog, an affront to a nation more than 10 times bigger this scenario of a former timid and gentle people makes for a more assertive, and if prodded, a more aggressive Indonesia to become very real. A right it should now claim as the world’s 4th. largest nation.

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Sultan Sepuh XIV Pangeran Raja Arief Natadiningrat :

"Kami berharap, negara ini tidak melupakan sejarah. Dulu sebelum kemerdekaan Bung Karno meminta dukungan keraton untuk bisa membuat NKRI terwujud, karena saat itu tak ada dana untuk mendirikan negara. Saat itu keraton-keraton menyerahkan harta yang mereka punya untuk kemerdekaan negara ini,"