We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

The Last Moments of Indonesia as We Know It

20 0 0
12.10.2019

Student protests, West Papua independence struggle, monstrous forest fires, an earthquake and a collapsing economy – the increasingly religiously fundamentalist Indonesia is suddenly facing too many disasters. It cannot cope with any of them.

Nothing seems to be going well for Indonesia, these days. People in West Papua are rebelling; an earthquake has devastated several communities in Ambon. The economy is slowing down, and is expected to grow only below 5%, while the population is skyrocketing, out of control.

Students are rebelling, protesting against a proposed law that could make sex outside marriage illegal and punishable by prison terms. Another piece of legislation will turn the recently re-elected President Joko Widodo (known by his nickname – Jokowi) into a demi-god, making it illegal to criticize him. People are also rebelling against the changes which Jokowi announced –curbing labor rights and “opening up” the economy for, virtually, unbridled foreign “investment”.

Some people have already lost their lives, in Papua, in Sulawesi, and elsewhere.

Man-made forest fires, the most vicious in the world, are now continuously ruining millions of lives, sending toxic smoke all over the entire Southeast Asia, as far as Thailand. Flames are also quickly finishing up all that is left of the Indonesian native forests.

Things were not supposed to be so bad for the Indonesian President Jokowi.

Just recently, he bragged that he was not afraid of anything, and has nothing to lose, as he cannot run for a third term. He proclaimed that he will do precisely what he always wanted to do: to lift restrictions on foreign investment, to give multi-nationals ‘tax holidays’, and to reform labor laws.

Basically, Jokowi has decided to implement brutal Thatcherite-style capitalism. Of course, Indonesia has already suffered from turbo-capitalism since the US-sponsored military coup in 1965, but for decades, the regime consisted of a sort of medley of extreme capitalism, cronyism and cheap, aggressive nationalism.

Jokowi met with the US President Donald Trump, pouring embarrassing and servile compliments at him, asking him “on behalf of millions of the Indonesia people” to come and visit his country.

Donald Trump promised to “do business with Indonesia”.

What kind of business would it be, everyone can imagine. One can only recall his “investment:” in Bali, a golf course resort in Tanah Lot, which ruined thousands of local lives.

But Jokowi and the Indonesian elites are ruling with an iron fist, and with absolute control over the mass media. No left-wing dissent is allowed.

Before the latest elections, the former military general Prabowo was once again unleashed as an opposition candidate. Prabowo, backed by the Islamist hard-liners, was nothing else other than a bogeyman. His presence fooled many poor and the middle class into voting for Jokowi, who appeared to at least be a little bit more reasonable. This way, Indonesians put their own neck into a loop. From the moment Jokowi got elected, the regime could proclaim, cynically: “You see, you voted for this........

© New Eastern Outlook