Thursday, January 10, 2008
The Washington plan to turn Indonesia into a poorer version of Saudi Arabia?
The May 1998 riots in Jakarta, apparently organised by the CIA and elements of the military, changed very little in Indonesia.
In 1998 Suharto stepped down and elections were held.
But, the generals, and families like the Suhartos, still pull the strings.
Indonesia's President Yudhoyono is a former Suharto general.
In Indonesia, the poor are getting poorer .
There is a danger that Indonesia will eventually become an impoverished version of Saudi Arabia if true democracy is not soon intoduced.
Perhaps that is the plan in Washington.
The fascist elements may be only too happy to use the Islamists to frustrate democracy.
Melody Kemp, at onlineopinion.com, 10 January 2008, has an utterly brilliant article on Indonesia entitled:
The good, the bad and the hopeful - reflecting on Indonesia
The old town known as Kota (in Jakarta) ... is now a no-go area where violence and drug taking have escalated...
Toll roads still owned by the Soeharto family, are groaning with cars...
People look more stressed than before. As the cost of living hikes leave more and more poor behind, crime and meaningless jobs multiply alongside each other...
And the rich are richer... We stayed at the very popular Novotel... The hotel is now surrounded by multimillion dollar homes. Huge mansions bristling with stainless steel three-storey high windows and doubtless, an alarming number of bathrooms. I wondered hopefully if the owners paid taxes.
For the first time an Indonesian, the Minister for Social Welfare, made the list of Forbes 100 richest men. He is at the centre of the case of the ongoing destructive mud eruptions in East Java that have made life misery for many Indonesians. And for which the good Minister for Social Welfare refuses to take any responsibility.
Indonesia’s problem is not poverty but distribution. And the powers-that-be continue to refuse to acknowledge this - as do aid donors, including Australia. Policies that favour the rich, such as education fees, are still promulgated by the World Bank, eager it seems to live up to its reputation as an instrument of blind capitalism...
The World Bank, we were told by one of their consultants, had earmarked a US$800 million loan, ready to go.
Apparently no planning guidelines, or projects had been identified, nor guidelines for disbursal, monitoring or evaluation. It was simply a “give ‘em the loan and saddle ‘em with debt” strategy...
Soeharto, in effect, turned Indonesia into one huge franchising operation from which he and his family profited; and continue to do so.
The recent Bali Climate Carnival was held in Soeharto-owned hotels. While Sadam killed thousands and was hanged, Soeharto stole from and killed millions, and lives on. Justice is not a notable feature of Indonesia, or of American patronage...
The ABC Asian news services recently trumpeted that Jema’ah Islamiya had a membership of 9,000 ... What they failed to add was that in a population of 260 million, 9,000 does not represent recruitment success.
Repeatedly Islamic parties do poorly in the elections. Radical Islam is less popular than Family First.
But that could change. Officials in the Ministry of Religion are beginning to acknowledge that Indonesia could soon be an Islamic state given current Western inspired wars, impoverishment of Muslim communities, ongoing judicial corruption and mismanagement of community conflicts and misdirected aid...
Islamic schools are free and are used increasingly by the poor in the wake of user-pays education cost rises...
Indonesian’s major complaint to me was that user-pays education excludes the poor ...
Into this come the Muslim carpetbaggers from Malaysia and Saudi Arabia using Syhari’a principles to influence Indonesian children to take up the puritan form that they espouse.
I noticed a greater number of swathed heads and long gowns as well as an increase in the number of tragic threadbare beards...
But the message is the Saudi influence is biting.
The way to combat radical Islam is not by weapons, spies and training police, but by supporting the majority of moderate Muslims who want a good education for their children to open the doors of opportunity for which they don’t have the key.
The following is taken from an article on tourism in Asia which appeared in the December 17, 2006 edition of Media Indonesia..
Total foreign tourists to Indonesia in 2006 totaled 4.8 million compared to 9.7 million arrivals to Singapore, 13.8 to Thailand and 17.5 million to Malaysia...
The European Union's ban on Indonesian aviation... has particularly crippled remote areas of Indonesia dependent on tourism such as Nias, Toraja, Maluku and Papua.
In late October of 2007 the World Economic Forum (WEF) published a competitive index for tourism. That index placed Indonesia at the 60th ranking, behind Singapore at No. 8, Malaysia No. 31 and Thailand No. 43. - Ex-tourism head takes a swipe at uneven promotion of Indonesia