Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Suharto's Death: Let Bygones Be Bygones?

Assalamualaikum & good day,
Last Sunday, 27 January 2008, Indonesian time, Suharto died due to multiple organ failure. He was 86.
I grew up practically knowing him as the leader of Indonesia. Then, he was forced to step down during the political & economic upheaval in 1998. He was president of Indonesia since 1967, so at 31 years of reign, many quarters said that his reign as a country head was the 2nd longest in the world, next only to Fidel Castro, the Cuban leader. He was the 2nd one after Sukarno.
He has been hospitalized for nearly a month..and during that period, many Indonesians are not happy that he's dying...not happy here can have 2 meanings actually.
His supporters mourn the passing of a great man, while his detractors are wondering why Suharto can escape scot-free from his crimes in this the peace of death.

Suharto's reign was controversial, to say the least.
True, his reign marked a period of stability and economic growth for Indonesia, the likes of which his succesors have struggled to emulate.
But, it was also marred with myriad of problems.
The stability is achieved by using military might, & since Suharto is anti-communist & anti-Chinese, it is alleged that there are many pro-Communists & people of Chinese descent who lost their lives during his rule.
& the economic growth? It was not enjoyed by all Indonesians. A lot of them is embezzled by Suharto & his family. It is alleged that Suharto inducted a number of economic policies that enriches his family, e.g. by forcing the people to do economic transactions only through corporate entities that are manned by his family members. It is alleged that the embezzlement is worth around 35 billion USD.

So, when Suharto stepped down, he was put on trial for embezzlement charges, & human rights violation charges. But the trial never take flight. His lawyers managed to prove that by that time, Suharto was too ill, & was not fit to stand trial.
So even when he's nearing death, the victims of his rule still want justice to be served. They thought that it's not fair that he can get away with his heinous crimes.
This situation is...sensitive. As a foreigner studying in Indonesia, I have no right to be supportive of him in the public, nor to be critical of him, since I never experienced Indonesia under his rule, nor I was the victim of his policies.
So, I just voice out my opinions here. I think that in death, a person should be forgiven. Because, if all the allegations are true, then even if he can escape the judgment of humanity, he has still God to answer to for his deeds. (unless you are an atheist or an agnostic, dear reader).
I hope that Suharto will be given due punishment by God, & may his wrongdoings be absolved as a result...

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