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Monday, February 21, 2005
  Prescience?
Not so much foreknowledge as I said it first.

'Er Indoors has been quite het up about the kidnapping of the two Metro TV journalists. I told her not to worry because a. Metro TV has been the regular channel here for communications with the militants in Iraq, and b. as Indonesia is predominantly a Muslim nation, Iraqi religious groups wouldn't want to antagonize potential allies.

And news is just in that the hostages have been released. A video shows a masked militant reading from a notebook: "Based on the goodwill they showed, and respecting the feelings of brotherhood and Islam between the two countries, and respecting the Indonesian anti-occupation role, we decided to release the two journalists without any conditions and ransom."

On Friday, I briefly commented on the power plays within the military circles. SBY, as commander-in-chief, has yet to choose a new head of the armed forces. Does he go with one of the entrenched or one of the entrenched?

He has four to choose from: Gen. Ryamizard Riyacudu, Lt. Gen. Djoko Santoso, Air Marshall Djoko Suyanto and Adm. Slamet Soebijanto who remain to varying degrees trapped in the conservative mind-set that persists in setting the TNI apart from other public institutions because of its perceived role as the guardian of the state.

In its editorial today, the Jakarta Post agrees with Jakartass that the future of our democracy rests in the depth and sincerity of the social, political and economic reforms we are now undertaking. The potency of these reforms depends on the degree to which the TNI is willing to cede to civilian supremacy.

Jakartass is going to make another prediction. The Indonesian government has rejected warnings in travel advisories issued over the weekend, (by the Australian and New Zealand governments) which said terrorists were planning attacks against foreign aid workers involved on relief efforts in areas stricken by the Dec. 26 earthquake and tsunami.

Any attacks would be provoked by Indonesia's own Islamic loonies, the FPI and the MMI. These thugs are the vigilante groups which have stirred up inter-communal strife in Maluku, Sulawesi and the bars of BlokM and elsewhere in Jakarta.

Authorities, meaning the military and others who plunder the nation's resources, have targeted GAM, the 'terrorist' group seeking self-rule for Aceh. Having declared a unilateral ceasefire in order to facilitate the relief effort, GAM has condemned the presence of these groups in the refugee camps in Aceh . A second round of talks between the government and GAM is currently underway in Helsinki.

Totally unexpected and extremely sad news is the suicide of Hunter S. Thompson. His 'gonzo journalism' has, I suspect, been the inspiration for countless bloggers. He also told the truth about his drug habits; it's a shame that Dubya won't. Also unlike the younger Bush (and the Indonesian military), Hunter S. had a profound democratic concern for the polity.


Hunter S.
R.I.P.

 

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