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The Jakarta Bombing, Poverty, War And Desperation

Jakarta Bombing: Symptom Of Poverty, War And Desperation

By Max Lane
Green Left Weekly

I condemn the bombing outside the Australian embassy in Jakarta on September 9, which has taken at least nine lives and injured more than 180 Indonesians — mainly people doing business at the embassy and passers-by. I express my full sympathy to all those who have lost loved ones and who have suffered injury.

Such acts are inhumane, stupid and futile. But they are also a symptom of a world where poverty, desperation and hopelessness about the future, and humiliation of culture, religion, race and nation are more and more pronounced. These evils are driving some people to acts of insane cruelty.

Those who can most be held responsible for this situation are the people in power: those who decide things; who design how the world works; who declare wars, invade countries, support foreign occupations and blithely continue policies wreaking economic terror on the billions of people who live in the Third World.

The Australian government must end its role in maintaining this cruel world order. Initial steps must include the withdrawal of all military forces from the illegal occupation of Iraq — an occupation so clearly opposed by the Iraqi people. The Australian government should also end its support for the barbaric and cruel occupation by Israel of Palestine. It must immediately announce an end to its shameful support for the Israeli wall of terror.

Federal Labor leader Mark Latham has pledged to send Australian troops into Southeast Asia to break up “regional terrorist networks”, if Labor is elected. But supporting Indonesia’s security forces won’t stop terrorism. Instead, it will encourage state terrorism, like that carried out against Aceh, West Papua and East Timor. Former Australian foreign minister Gareth Evans admitted last year that Australian and US training and support for the Indonesian armed forces has “helped only to produce more professional human rights abusers”. Labor’s approach will only add to the suffering of people in our region.

The Coalition government, the Labor “opposition”, all Australian political parties and the community at large must work to quickly end Australian participation in the military and economic war against the Third World. It is the rich West that is on the offensive today and the war that is unfolding will only begin to end when this offensive ends.

Foreign minister Alexander Downer has repeatedly claimed that these kinds of bombings have no “root cause”. I have been involved with Indonesia since 1969 and I know that until three years ago there had never been a single suicide bombing in Indonesia. Why now? Oh, there are no causes...? Absolute garbage. Only an idiot and a hypocrite could make such an “analysis”.

Indonesia and the Indonesian people now face a situation where, for the first time ever, it is clearer and clearer to more people that their country, society and nation has no decent future — unemployment, poverty and rule by Western-backed elites now seem embedded forever. When will their societies “catch-up” to the prosperity of the West? Never, while the West and its institutions dominate their economy. This story is repeated right around the Third World.

There are many in Indonesia and throughout the world who are looking for solutions to this social and economic mess in a rational and creative way. They need our solidarity and support. If we do not unite with them — the peoples of the Third World building their own anti-globalisation movements — then the capitalist fundamentalists in Washington and Canberra will get the permanent war they want, which they will use to justify their special powers and privileges. And this in turn will mean a permanent process of producing more recruits for suicide bombings. And so it will go on.

Alternatively, we can make a break through rejecting the West’s warmongering and economic plunder. We can align with the mobilising and critical people of the Third World and start a process to turn the world around and create a world where people will really not want to waste their lives in a suicide bombing.

[Max Lane is a translator for the left-wing Indonesian novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer, and is a research fellow at the Asia Research Centre, Murdoch University.]

From Green Left Weekly, September 15, 2004.
Visit the Green Left Weekly home page

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