Asia in 2016: Indonesia

Asia in 2016: IndonesiaIndonesia recorded a fiscally promising 2016, with solid gross domestic growth and a supportive monetary environment bolstering economic momentum. Elected to office barely two years ago, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has been focused on improving the economy through public spending and a welcome cabinet re-shuffle in July which saw the widely respected Sri Mulyani Indrawati,…

Ramadan Lunch Raid Spotlights Religious Intolerance in Indonesia

Ramadan Lunch Raid Spotlights Religious Intolerance in IndonesiaAn ever-weary 52-year-old housewife named Saeni lies on the floor of her tiny, humble rental house in the town of Serang in West Java, feverish and sick, she says, after having made national headlines for the past two weeks in a brouhaha that has alarmed many over the growing clout of conservative Islamists.  “I can’t…

Indonesian Child Rape Case Sparks Public Outrage

Indonesian Child Rape Case Sparks Public OutrageRising public anger over a gruesome gang-rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl by seven teenage boys and seven men has brought together activists and much of the Indonesian public in a show of solidarity for the victim, at the same time raising national awareness of widespread sexual violence, which one critic called a “national…

Indonesia Prepares for New International Condemnation

Indonesia Prepares for New International CondemnationOnce again, Indonesia’s Police Mobile Brigade Unit is preparing an unknown number of firing squads to be deployed to the Nusakambangan prison island, where they are expected to shoot an as-yet undetermined number of drug offenders, including a British grandmother who was caught smuggling cocaine into Bali. Police have been keeping the number of individuals…

Indonesia’s Feared Anti-terrorism Squad Under Fire in Hunt for ISIS

Indonesia’s Feared Anti-terrorism Squad Under Fire in Hunt for ISISSiyono’s wife Suratmi probably did the best thing she could when she asked for help from Muhammadiyah, Indonesia’s second largest Islamic organization, to figure out why her husband died in the custody of the Indonesian police’s feared counter-terrorism squad Densus 88 last month. Along with her effort to seek for the truth through Muhammadiyah, she…

Jakarta Globe Says Goodnight Indonesia

Jakarta Globe Says Goodnight IndonesiaOn Tuesday, Dec. 15, one of Asia’s most ambitious experiments in English-language journalism effectively came to an end with the decision to shut down the print version of the seven-year-old Jakarta Globe.  The paper, in its final edition, cited high printing and distribution costs. In a front-page message on the paper’s last edition, the company…

Gauging the ISIS Threat in Indonesia

Gauging the ISIS Threat in IndonesiaConcern is rising in Jakarta that Indonesia could be the first Southeast Asian nation hit by an Islamic State-style attack from the 100-odd Islamic fighters who have returned from the Middle East in recent months although the fundamentalists so far are disorganized and small in number.  Roughly 160 Indonesian males, 40 females and 100 children…

Bali Writer’s Gabfest Forced to Drop 1965 Bloodletting Panels

Bali Writer’s Gabfest Forced to Drop 1965 Bloodletting PanelsBali’s prestigious international writers and artists’ festival has agreed to drop several sessions dealing with the massacre of hundreds of thousands of people in 1965 in Java and Bali after a threat by the Indonesian government that the entire festival would be shut down if they didn’t. This year is the 50th anniversary of the…

Indonesia’s Forgotten Genocide

Indonesia’s Forgotten GenocideWith each passing year, the memories of violent death dim the way that old photographs lose their color. It has now been 50 long years since that night in Jakarta on 30 September when seven Indonesian army officers including six generals were slaughtered by rebel troops, unleashing an orgy of violence across much of Java…

Half-Century Later, CIA Releases Indonesia Briefing Documents

Half-Century Later, CIA Releases Indonesia Briefing DocumentsOn September 16, the US Central Intelligence Agency released what historians and conspiracy theorists have long been waiting for – the agency’s top secret Presidential daily briefings covering the administrations of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson – almost the entire decade of the 1960s, the tumultuous period that included the growth of the…
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