Indonesia Anonymus

We are a group of Indonesians, ranting about our beloved country. This blog is a result of many people grumbling about many things in many ways.
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Anonymus is the Latin word for anonymous, the correct English spelling. The Latin spelling, however, is traditionally used by scholars in the humanities to refer to an ancient writer whose name is not known, or to a manuscript of their work. Read more at Wikipedia.

Our blog in Bahasa Indonesia (but rarely updated) can be found here.

Friday, November 10, 2006

What Shall We Talk About?

Dear Mr. Bush,

We heard you'll be visiting this part of the world. Well, welcome. We Indonesians love guests. We know you probably won't enjoy all the protests staged by our people, but hey. That's not new to you, is it.

Anyway, since you are going to drive half the population of Jakarta and Bogor nuts with all the superfluous security precautions [1], maybe we should think in advance of what topics we plan to discuss, you know, between you and us Indonesians.
Just so we will have a productive discussion and make it worth the pain endured by the Jakartans and Bogorites.

Let's see. What shall we discuss?

Shall we talk about human rights and the rule of law?
Yes, we do have a history of human rights violations in the past, and although things are moving for the better now, there are still mistakes made and lessons to be learned.
But we don't think we will be needing any lessons from you, though. Not with your Abu Ghraib fiasco [2] and the Guantanamo stories [3] where people are detained without charges and without legal representations. Tortured, even [4].
So nevermind us dragging our feet investigating Munir's murder [5], don't mind us setting Tommy free [6], because at least the suspect in Munir's murder was brought to court with legal representation, and Tommy's release was all within the legal framework, no matter unfair it is. But hey, what is fair. You think Saddam Husein's trial is fair? Guantanamo tribunal is fair?
Compared to you, what we are doing is child's play.

Hmm. Ok. On second thought, looks like we won't be talking about this topic after all.
Surely you won't enjoy the awkward moments.

Shall we talk about the environment?
Yes, we have been a bad boy in the neighborhood lately. We export the haze and upset the neighbors [7], we mess up with our mud flow [8] - and worse, dump it to the sea because we are running out of solutions, and risking even more environmental catastrophe [9].
But we don't think we will be needing any lessons from you, though.
At least not until you sign the Kyoto agreement [10]...
Oops. Looks like we won't be talking about environment either.

Shall we talk about eradicating corruptions ?
Yes, yes, we know, our country is one of the worst [11]. We are not proud of that. But things are going towards the right direction now. Slooooooowly going towards the right direction. So you see, there is still a lot to be done.
But we don't think we will be needing any lessons from you on this one either.
We just read the other day, that one main reason your people voted for democrats instead of your party, is actually not the war in iraq. Not the economy. Not healthcare. It's corruption [12].
Hmmm. We wonder why...
Well, ok. Let's not talk about that.

Shall we talk about getting rid of cronyism in the government?
Oh yes. We're good at cronyism. No need to say more. We're so good it's embarassing.
But wait a minute. Who was it that tried to appoint one's own family lawyer to be a supreme court judge? [13]
Oops. that's right. It was you... And looks like that is just a tip of the iceberg... [14]
Ok. Can't talk about this either.

Shall we talk about Indonesia's mounting debt?
Hmm. You don't want to go there. Not with more than $8,000,000,000,000 outstanding public debt [15] you got (the last time we checked). Sooner or later the Chinese will want their money back [16].

Geez. Funny how we find a lot of things in common, but we can't really talk about them. Interesting, don't you think?

So what can we talk about then?

Wait a minute. That's right. Your favorite topic.
Shall we talk about the war on terror?
Great. Let's.
But hang on. We have a slight difference of opinion here. Because you see, we don't think your war in Iraq is a war on terror. That's just an invasion.

Don't get us wrong. We are not against fighting terrorism. Indonesia has been victimized by terrorism more than we can bear. We have the church bombings, marriot bombing, australian embassy bombing, bali bombings... (Bear in mind that we do have acquaintances who got killed in one of those bombings, so we do take it really personally).
It breaks our heart everytime it happens and we do what we can (albeit insufficiently at times) to prevent them from happening again.

But not by changing the way we live our lives -- or wage an unnecessary war.

Sure we can protect our homes with huge padlocks, scary bodyguards with fiercest dogs, tap neighbors' phones [17], invade their yards, treat every foreign-looking person passing in front of our home with suspicion, scrutinize them, and arrest them without warrants.
But that's not the way to live one's life, is it?

That's why you see after the bombing, no matter how difficult, no matter how painful, we Indonesians will always try to go back to our normal life. We don't want to live in fear, because that's exactly what the terrorists want. Can't let them win.
We refuse to be terrorized, and we won't ever terrorize our own people with inflated artificial demons just to make them think the world is now more dangerous than ever, the "your neighbor maybe terrorist, your flight will be bombed using a bottle of shampoo and soon there will be planes crashing to Walmarts followed by the inevitable mushroom clouds [18]" scare tactics.

If our people start to live in fear, we lose.

Terrorism has been around for a long long time. And as long as human beings are capable of hatred, terrorism will not be far behind. You don't fight a war on terror like fighting the Nazis. You can't expect to go there, crush the enemy, go home victorious and the threat is forever gone. That's blue sky thinking, right there.
Let's fight poverty instead [19]. That will effectively reduce terrorism. Let's fight discrimination and alienation while we're at it.
That should do it.

Oh all right. We will stop now. We get the feeling you won't enjoy the discussion.

Geez. So what can we talk about? We are running out of ideas here.
You have about 2 years left to make sure you don't go down in history as one of the worst US president [20]. Now with the House full of democrats, it's an uphill battle.You'd better get to work [21].
Are you sure you still need to come here? After all, as you can see, there isn't much we can talk about.

Ah, wait a minute. That's right. There is still one important subject we can safely discuss:

How's your golf? [22]

Note: this entry is not meant to be serious. If you are into more serious stuff, you probably should not read this blog. Try newspaper.


[1] - Bush Datang, Jaringan Ponsel Mati
[2] msnbc - The Abu Ghraib Scandal Cover-Up?
[3] Times Online - Guantanamo trials are illegal, Supreme Court tells President
[4] - Letter 'shows Guantanamo torture'
[5] - Seeking Truth & Justice
[6] - INDONESIA: Tommy Suharto released from prison early
[7] - Forest fire haze brings misery to Indonesia and beyond
[8] - Mud flood threatens Java residents
[9] - Indonesia to divert mud into sea
[10] - Global warming: US turns its back on Kyoto
[11] - Indonesia rated Asia's most corrupt
[12] - Corruption named as key issue by voters in exit polls
[13] - White House Counsel Miers Chosen for Court
[14] - CRONYISM in the Bush Administration
[15] US. National Debt Clock
[16] - Federal Reserve Head Not Concerned over China U.S. Debt Holdings
[17] - Bush Defends Government Phone Tapping Program
[18] - Bush: Don't wait for mushroom cloud
[19] - Poverty 'fuelling terrorism'
[20] - The Worst President in History?
[21] - Vacationing Bush Poised to Set a Record
[22] President George W. Bush's Golf Swing