ASAP is also concerned that such events do not happen again. However, ending this kind of violence is not essentially a security problem but a social and political problem. The solution lies not in cultivating a climate of fear to justify increased state repression, but in addressing the root causes.
The use of violence in politics has been employed on a massive scale by the ruling governments and elites of the world.
For decades the Suharto New Order regime used terror to control Indonesia and East Timor. During those decades Australian governments, both Labor and Liberal, gave full support to this terrorist regime. Suharto used the Indonesian armed forces and police, as well as para-military groups, to conduct secret operations of murder and terror against the pro-democracy and independence movements.
Terror, carried out by both the state and groups originally created by the state, became an everyday part of Indonesian political life under the Western-backed Suharto regime. In the midst of Suharto’s use of terror for repression, PM John Howard once called Suharto a ’caring and sensitive’ leader.
Now Australians and other foreigners have fallen victim to the same violence that have taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of Indonesians, including Balinese, during the Suharto period.
Such violence is bound to increase in this region while state violence continues to be used as a means of asserting and defending the privileges and interests of Western and local elites. Murder and torture continue in Aceh, Papua and West Papua with Western, including Australian acquiescence.
Violence is used to suppress peaceful protests by workers, peasants and students throughout the rest of Indonesia, again with Australia’s acquiescence. Many activists remain in jail in Indonesia as a result of state repression.
Meanwhile, the Australian government suggests escalating military ties with Jakarta’s repressive apparatus.
While such state terror and Western support for state terror against the Indonesian, Acehnese and Papuan people continues with impunity, every and any kind of violent act may be contemplated by every and any kind of group or individual.
Society is in the process of disintegrating in Indonesia as a result of the economic crisis that began in 1997, now made worse by the accelerated plunder of the Indonesian society and economy under the supervision of the IMF. As poverty, suffering and uncertainty increase, then so will desperation, frustration and irrationality, as well as scheming and plotting among the elite.
This is the society that Suharto’s New Order created and which was defended, justified and assisted by Australian governments, including and especially that led by the hypocrite, John Howard.
The violence will end only when this situation is reversed.
We print here excerpts from a statement from ’Action in Solidarity with Asia and the Pacific’ (ASAP) on the Bali bombings of October 15, 2002 - to read the full statement, visit ASAP’s website.