Many foreigners have a problem comprehending why Indonesia is so bad if foreign governments such as Australia, Britain and the United States of America support them, and if Indonesia is a democracy with seemingly free and fair elections.
Foreign Government support for Indonesia
This currently exists because of two things;
a) Business (money)
b) Fear that radicals might otherwise take over (up to recently that fear was about communists, now it is about radical Muslims).
Billions of dollars are made each year by foreign companies in Indonesia because of the country’s vast mineral wealth and consumer markets. Should western interest unfriendly communists or Muslims take control, these earnings would likely be lost and regional security compromised (foreign governments fear Indonesia might become a massive terrorist training ground).
Western governments therefore publicly condone and even champion Indonesia as a decent country which meets its domestic and International obligations. But of course, western governments play very duplicitous games in order to get their major corporations valuable overseas contracts. In reality, foreign governments know exactly what goes on in Indonesia but play the PR spin fiddle along with the pro-secular Indonesian politicians they support. Indonesian pro-secular politicians are generally hard line military backed and connected civil and human rights abusing wealthy people who can control their population (for now) and ensure western involvement of the exploitation of the regions massive natural reserves.
The Indonesian Government
Many if not most of the Indonesian Government are former military officers and / or come from military families. Because the Indonesian military are recognized as being a force which is there not to defend the country against foreign invaders but to control and even suppress and oppress the people, it seems strange that foreigners somehow believe the Indonesian Government is therefore for the people; it is not! The Indonesian Government primarily exists to maintain the territory by exerting oppressive military and police power over the population and to ensure the excessively wealthy families remain that way in deference to the majority of the population who have nothing. Of course the government functions as other governments do providing health, transport and education services, plus business laws but these are only a) to provide a work force to create their personal profits and b) to bleed yet more money for themselves from the system through extortion. More populous friendly academics have made government but only to less influential positions; the power is with the wealthy families who are tied to the Indonesian military / police (the police were until recently a division of the army) who keep the “peace” / uphold “law” and order.
Doomed “conflicts” between well intentioned politicians and their subordinates and the powerful wealthy military backed government show when departments like the Indonesian Foreign Ministry fail to make the Indonesian police stop exceptionally detrimental (to the overall Indonesian good) unlawful investigations against foreigners, such as in the Indonesian Scuba Diving http://www.balibs.org/news-update/Scuba-Diving-Indonesian-Boycott.shtml travesty. Under proper direct and intense pressure from the French Government, the Indonesian Foreign Ministry tried to stop Indonesia’s mafia police from conducting an unlawful investigation involving the arbitrary arrest of these innocent foreign divers, plus the loss of valuable artifacts and International confidence all shamefully committed by the “police” at the clear bequest of an Indonesian competitor because large sums of money were involved, the Indonesian police just keep going with their farce changing their reason for their investigation more times than their spokesman changed his uniform. So common sense and good politicians and politics mean nothing in the Indonesian Government and the way the country is run.
Bogus Indonesian Elections (Election Fraud)
Because foreigners hear nothing to the contrary, they of course believe Indonesian elections to be free and fair; they are not! Despite the fact foreign governments accepted the official results of the 2004 election they all know it was a farce. Western leaders such as George Bush champion democracy as the answer to the world’s problems; which it probably is if it is fairly done. But then the west turns a blind eye to inconsistencies and worse in Indonesia while championing the fake democracy there as a success and road map to a better Indonesian future. We believe the Indonesian electoral system and with it foreign support and even interference is actually a road map for disaster. Bali BS believe US and other western governments’ foreign policies, fly in the face of their own paranoia of some form of revolution or another and actually contributes to thing they fear most.
To give the inevitable and expected Indonesian election result a good white wash, former Whitehouse resident Jimmy Carter was there to “monitor” the election and give it his deal of approval. Not that it really mattered as all the main contenders including defending president Megawati were and are all puppets of or wholesale panderers to the military. Well meaning political parties do not fair well in a country which has such a wealth divide with the enforced loyalty and power this comes with, where the majority of the population left school before they were 12 years old and were they are also hugely influenced by their village elders.
Three independent election observation bodies, the Center for Electoral Reform (Cetro), the People's Network for Voter Education (JPPR) and the People's Network for Elections Monitoring (JAMPPI) which together deployed 130,000 observers to monitor the elections throughout the archipelago, found that 32 percent of voters in over 1,400 polling stations were unregistered but were still allowed to vote. They further reported that 10 percent of voters at over 1,200 polling stations were "intimidated" by other voters, campaign teams and poll committees. And that just covered what went on at the polling stations. Before Indonesians went to vote, many people were instructed who to vote for by their husbands and village leaders, or else. Many others were promised money to vote for a particular candidate and were then subsequently refused when they asked for their money. What made matters worse when two reporters published that one local Golkar (Suharto’s) Party leader promised money for votes and then reneged upon his promise, they were jailed for “criminal libel” (Indonesia’s most abused criminal code which prevents anyone with less power than someone else saying anything bad about them, even if it is true).
The Indonesian political system of repression also explains why Indonesia does not ban the terrorist organization “JI”; because allowing their people’s despair and anger to be directed towards the west, rather than where it belongs, allows the nasty wealthy military connected families of Indonesia to stay in power. That is why Indonesia is unlikely to change, as the system is endemically corrupt and foreign governments have too much to lose to do anything but “try to help the country develop as a democracy which values civil and human rights” while sharing in the illicitly gained wealth. That is why foreigners seldom hear bad things about Indonesia through their governments or worse, where their governments suppress their own media in their public’s “best interests”. Unless everyday foreigners act affirmatively against Indonesia, there will be insufficient pressure to change. Unless pressure is put upon Indonesia to change peacefully and quickly, it probably never will. The ruling Indonesian families probably do not see or care that their policies and actions are short term and increasingly volatile.
Bali BS believes the road map they have right now will not provide Indonesians with true democracy, cultural freedom, economic opportunity for all or protected human and civil rights, but the increased risk of massive social strife and turmoil. Of course the wealthy families which control Indonesia are comforted by US etc. policies towards fleeing wealthy people, after all the Suharto family have homes already in the USA and England, which they freely visit. So if the “balloon goes up” in Indonesia, the very people who created the problem and with it grabbed the nation’s cash will be alright, but the world will have yet another failed western policy country to contend with. Indonesia may well yet become the radical terrorist training ground western governments fear, not in spite of their foreign policy, but because of it. Do not believe western governments are experts; look at their failed policies in Iran (supporting the unpopular Shah and his regime), Vietnam (supporting an unpopular regime with anti-human rights committing armed forces), Afghanistan (training and arming the Afghans against the Russians, only for see the Afghans turn against them) and Iraq (just why did they say they got involved, what do they say now and have things got better or worse?). Look at what is happening in Indonesia. Don’t kid yourselves foreign governments’ foreign policies are for our good; they are for very narrow sighted short term political gain.
Do yourselves, the world and the Indonesians / Balinese a big favour; boycott Bali / Indonesia