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Category Archives: Indonesia
… had a mix of the bizarre and the tragic. You wouldn’t read about it, would you? Hollywood couldn’t invent stuff like this.
Let’s begin with the tragic.
Terror in Mumbai (originally on UK Channel Four) was last night’s offering from Four Corners.
…Their first target was the Leopold Cafe where they killed 11 people. From there they planted bombs inside taxis as the moved across the city. Terror in Mumbai follows the young men every step of the way using telephone calls made between the raid’s masterminds in Pakistan and the gunmen in Mumbai. Those calls combine with the testimony of the captured terrorist Ajmal Kasab, to create an extra-ordinary chronology of the attacks.
The calls reveal how the young men are continually reminded they must kill as many people as possible, making sure that whatever happens they must not be taken alive.
Ajmal Kasab, speaking from his hospital bed tells how he and another man attacked the city’s train station slaughtering more than 50 people…
As the film progresses the relationship between the attackers and their controllers at the other end of the phone comes into clearer focus.
At times the young men appear utterly ruthless, at other times they break away from their conditioning and register their wonder at the hotel they have taken over. They talk of computers and expensive furniture as if in a wonderland.
As the film progresses the terrorists are told to kill as many people as they can in the Taj Hotel, and then to start a fire. The purpose? To let the world know a symbol of India and the decadent west is being destroyed.
As the phone calls continue it becomes clear the young men are not always willing to kill on command. In one chilling episode one gunman is told to kill a hostage. He stalls for time. Then an hour later he is ordered to shoot. A gunshot is heard…
It was riveting and incredibly sad. The Svengali on the other end of the phone gives new manifestation to the concept of pure evil. The psychology of the perpetrators, one of whom was “sold” — according to the program and his own testimony – to Lashkar e Toiba by his own father so that his siblings could afford to marry, reminded me so much of Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent. The father was a poor street yoghurt seller.
… The 10 gunmen had sneaked ashore in Mumbai around 9pm on 26 November, having sailed from Pakistan in a hijacked Indian trawler.
Less than an hour later, during a killing spree across the city which included the main railway station, four gunmen entered the luxury Taj Hotel. Young Pakistanis from villages in the Punjab, who had never set foot in a modern hotel before, let alone the vast suites on the upper floors of the Taj, they could not contain their amazement. The first few hours of intercepts at the Taj show them struggling to keep their minds on the task of burning down the hotel.
‘There are so many lights… and so many buttons. And lots of computers with 22 and 30-inch screens…’ says one.
The other chilling piece of evidence we obtained during the making of this film, was told by one of the gunmen, Kasab, who was taken alive by Indian police and his questioning recorded.
‘What’s your gang called? Your team?’ asks one policeman.
Kasab seems not to understand.
‘Your organization, your gang, your team?’, some of the other officers round the hospital bed chime in.
‘Oh… It’s Lashkar e Toiba.’ …
It is as well – again – to remind ourselves that it is not all of Islam we are looking at here, but a perversion. Jim Belshaw has also taken up that theme: For Tikno – selection, perception, bias and the MUI Fatwa. The comments from Tikno in Indonesia and Ramana in India enhance Jim’s wisdom on this. You may also listen to this: “Young Indonesians have made use of social networking sites to protest against terrorism.” The India-Pakistan situation has complicating strands of history involved – the mess of the Partition and the unsolved dilemma of Kashmir. (I studied Indian History at university and have ever since taken an interest.) Further, in relation to Ramana’s comment, there is no single body that can speak for Islam. To a degree everyone is his or her own mufti, and the result is amazing diversity. This can be good, but also complicates things terribly. The media do focus on the violent extremists, though Tikno’s point about the majority being against violent extremism is almost certainly a truer picture.
Now for the bizarre.
Malcolm Turnbull. Well, he is human, as that Australian Story episode shows, but a bit of a goose too. The show was filmed behind the scenes as the Utegate Imbroglio was occurring, and today all that became more bizarre still: I wrote fake email: Grech.
And then there is that sleazy Radio 2DayFM The Kyle and Jackie O Show. So glad I never listened to them, especially after Media Watch revealed how bottom of the barrel the show has really been.
More 10 to 17 year-olds, by far, listen to 2DayFM than to any other Sydney station.
Yet up to now ACMA has done nothing about Kyle and Jackie’s obsession with boobs and willies, their parade of vaginas and penises, their discussions of anal sex, and oral sex, and faeces-eating during sex, and other such breakfast-time delights.
And then there’s the program’s routine humiliation and emotional manipulation of its ‘guests’.
Tonight, while Austereo reviews its ‘principles and protocols’, we’re going to look at a particularly sickening example. It wasn’t about sex, or juveniles.
It was about heartless exploitation…
About as funny as a pile of dead rats.
Remember I first mentioned The Batik Courtyard Cafe in April? Sirdan and I have been back several times and the food really is excellent – mainly Indonesian and Malaysian, but with other items too. One couple near us were having bacon, eggs and sausages! We went down the Indonesian track with something like this but with the addition of a VERY hot pickle garnish on the side that appeared to have dried fish bits in it. Great meal though, and a multicoloured ice desert with lychees and so on after.
The great thing though was the music: cool jazz played by a group that was mostly Indonesian, but with an Anglo lead guitarist and one Anglo singer – didn’t catch his name, but he was so good! Performs also at The Basement, a well-known Sydney jazz venue.
An amazing cross-cultural experience really. 🙂
See also Not again!
1. From Tikno in Kalimantan: Fatwa against terrorist
Dear readers, I create this post because I heard many terrorism issues that tend to be associated with Islam as religion. But through this post I want to say that it is NOT TRUE. If you say that it is personal responsibility, then I’ll say yes. I know some of you may be asking within the heart "Why you say that?"
Well, here is my explanation:
1) I’m strongly believe that there are still a lot of good Muslim, even far more than you imagine. I live in Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, and I have many Muslim friends here. They (my Muslim friends) are also condemns terrorism action…
2. From Rob Bainton in Sydney: Noordin M Top claims recent Jakarta bombings
Rob was a long-term Indonesian resident until just a few months ago.
… The sooner anti-terrorism forces catch this man the better. Otherwise, Indonesians can be assured of one thing; he will continue to build bombs designed to kill as many people as he can for as long as he can. He, and his group, might be targeting foreigners, but history shows he is not adverse to killing Indonesians as acceptable collateral damage in the pursuit of his goals.
Violence is not the answer. It will never resolve our differences and it will never allow us to move forward to a place where we all live in peace and harmony with one another. People of all faiths must denounce violence as a legitimate means to an end; violence is not legitimate and it never ends.
What distinguishes these two posts from anything I might say is that they are based on deep experience of the context and people concerned. What distinguishes the hope and counsel they offer from the usual punditry or over-generalisation is that same authority and authenticity.
It was a toss-up whether to note these here or on Twitter. Not that any of them are trivial, but you can’t do a major post on everything, can you?
1. from The Jakarta Post
Leaders of various religious groups as well as anti-violence activists held two separate mass prayers on Monday at the site of the Jakarta hotel bombings, which killed nine people and injured more than 50 on Friday.
Members of the Indonesian Anti-Violence Community, including lawyer Todung Mulya Lubis, Yenni Wahid, Wimar Witoelar and Ayu Utami, came to the site of the bombings to pray for the victims.
Soon after, religious leaders led another mass prayer at the site.
They included Hasyim Muzadi, chairman of the Nahdlatul Ulama Islamic council, Rev. Petrus from the Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI), representative of the Hindu community Anak Agung Ngurah Ugrasena and Maha Biksu Dutavira, who came to represent Buddhist.
"Although the situation is overwhelming, people must remain alert but not panic," Rev. Petrus said, as quoted by state news agency Antara.
Suicide bombers attacked the JW Marriot and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Mega Kuningan, South Jakarta, on Friday.
2. from The Sydney Morning Herald: The usual terrorism suspects moved from JI to the Noordin network.
In the aftermath of last Friday’s terrorist bombings in Jakarta, numerous commentators have identified Jemaah Islamiah as the organisation most likely to have committed the attacks. One senior security analyst, for example, told ABC radio that the attacks showed that "JI was back in business".
Other terrorism researchers such as Sidney Jones have argued that the jihadist group led by Noordin Mohammed Top should head the list of suspects.
Of course, there is much that is unclear about the details of the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotel bombings, and firmer analysis needs to await further information about the identity of those involved and the methods used. But I would like to set out reasons why we should differentiate between JI and the Noordin group, and why it is more plausible to regard Noordin’s group as the prime suspect rather than JI.
JI is not a monolithic organisation. Since the late 1990s it has experienced divisions over how it should conduct jihad. For militants within JI, such as Noordin, Hambali and Mukhlas, the fatwas of Osama bin Laden in the late 1990s declaring it an obligation for Muslims to attack the US and its allies resounded like a clarion call. They were impatient for South-East Asian Muslims to strike a blow against what they saw as Islam’s greatest foes. For more moderate elements of JI, bin Laden’s appeals and the subsequent activities of al-Qaeda were either of little relevance for Indonesia or ran contrary to established Islamic law on jihad…
Such specific details are clearly important to any informed response to events such as these. They tend to get lost when we make blanket generalisations about “Muslims”.
3. SMH again: Karl Konrad – Say hello to our new economic slaves: foreign students.
Karl Konrad “is a migration agent. He was formerly a police officer and whistleblower.”
… Nearly 15 years ago, as a young police constable, I wrote a long report on police corruption to the Victorian ombudsman, Barry Perry. That report sparked one of the biggest investigations into police corruption ever seen in this country. I went to the ombudsman because I couldn’t trust the police or the government of the day. They both had something to lose if the truth came out. Never underestimate the power of a good ombudsman.
Students also need an ombudsman independent of state and federal governments. Proper investigations can get to the bottom of mistreatment or, at worst, outright corruption. Students must be assured the Immigration Department will take no action to deport them. Instead, if necessary, they should be placed out of harm’s way into an alternative reputable education provider at no cost to themselves where they can continue pursuing their dreams.
No one is saying all foreign students have negative experiences here. But now the cat is out let’s keep it out and shake this system free of corruption.
4. SMH: Gerard Henderson smells left-wing bias.
He has the nose for it. 😉
If you want to work out who won what was billed as "the culture wars" during the time of the Howard government, tune into SBS One at 8.30 pm tonight. This is the first episode of the three-part series titled Liberal Rule: The Politics that Changed Australia, which is produced by Nick Torrens Film Productions and written by Nick Torrens and Garry Sturgess.
Liberal Rule is a shocker and a disgrace. Torrens obtained interviews with key figures in the former government – including John Howard, Peter Costello, Alexander Downer and Peter Reith along with some former Liberal Party staffers. They were all identified according to their relationship to Howard or the government he led.
Sturgess had been the senior researcher on the successful ABC TV documentary Labor in Power series, which aired in 1993. It is likely that those supportive of the Howard government who were interviewed for Liberal Rule anticipated a similar style of documentary. In Labor in Power, the key figures in the governments led by Bob Hawke and Paul Keating were allowed to state their case and viewers were allowed to draw their own conclusions.
Not so in Liberal Rule. Torrens put it in a directors’ statement which accompanies the SBS publicity: "Being aware that interviews with our `cast’ of John Howard and his senior cabinet figures would elicit recollections with an eye to history’s favourable view, the crucial decision was how to present a balanced picture . . . Garry and I sought an atmosphere of co-operative engagement. To this we would add the necessary layers of subtext."
You can say that again…
I think SBS viewers are probably bright enough to distinguish fact from opinion. Anyway, do we really want hagiography?
Did something happen? 😉
For reactions see:
1. Tikno in Kalimantan, Indonesia.
As I read through the ANTARA News website, Hasyim Muzadi, chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama (largest Islamic organization in Indonesia) said "Terrorism is not a religion and so it is not correct to say Moslems were the mastermind of the bombings". Yes, I agree with him that this is NOT related to particular religion. This is the responsibility of individual actors who has done these terror. Some people said that applying the death sentence is the best solution for reducing terrorist act. But I think they are not afraid for death. Right?
2. Rob Bainton, now in Australia but a long time resident in Indonesia.
For any how have taken umbrage at some of the content of this post or the point and purpose of travel warnings or the like, irrespective of whether you leave a comment or not, I offer no apologies as it is a blog and these are my opinions and "out loud" thoughts on this issue.
I love Indonesia and her people dearly. The country has been an integral part of my development as a person, and for that I will be eternally grateful. I will always feel I have received more than I have given (although there are probably plenty of Indonesians who might disagree) but I will continue to give until my days end.
The point about terrorism is not what religion the perpetrators follow and I do not talk about Muslim or Christian terrorists, just terrorists, those individuals that would seek to disrupt the peaceful existence that the majority of us try and find in our comparatively short time in this world. The point is that there are those who will go to any length to kill and maim the innocents in pursuit of a cause and despite the in-roads Indonesia has made in getting on top of terrorism and some notable successes this has led to a degree of complacency and the idea of it being "only a matter of time".
I saw it and I was fearful of it in the sense that I truly believed it was only a matter of time.
Those that hate exist in all societies and they will always at some point in time make their presence known. Friday, 17 July 2009, was one of those days in Jakarta.
There’s a very good article by Sally Neighbour in today’s Australian. In it she mentions the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. Look for Report #46 on terrorism in Indonesia. See also the reports of the International Crisis Group.
Lest I seem to have been unreasonable today in not allowing Kevin’s “non-pc” comment, I have a pretty good idea where he is coming from on this issue; we have been here before. Kevin is entitled to his opinion, but he has also visited the material linked to my side-bar warning on commenting about Islamic-related issues.