In the car with hubby on my lunch break today when the National Public Radio (NPR) announced that Indonesia’s former president, Soeharto (the Indonesian spelling) or Suharto, is not doing very good. “He’s suffering from organ failure,” they mentioned. “Oh no,” I said. “It’s that good or bad?” hubby asked. “Well, I know this may sound mean, but no, it’s not good because he’ll never be on trial,” I said. With that, the NPR announcer continued in explaining who Suharto is (or was) and what he had done in the past to be considered worthy to be on trial.
Suharto got himself the president title with a military coup d’etat in 1965. Ruling Indonesia for 35 years fiercely (anybody who opposed him or became his enemies were mysteriously disappear or ended up dead), he was also a big corruptor. His family had done too much nepotism in our country when he was in charge. Schoolchildren were fed lies about Indonesia’s history about the beginning of his dictatorship until that day he was forced to resign in 1998. He also controlled the media. If one should dare write something bad about his family (notoriously called ‘The Cendana Family’ -Cendana is the name of the street where he lives), somebody would definitely get fired. Or if the media is not big enough, it’ll get shut down.
I understand that he’s also a human being, and seeing a picture of him lying on the deathbed; pale and whatnot, it’s pretty sad. I should also say that during his ruling, things were much more peaceful compared to now. Our economy was also more stable. I can still remember those days where the exchange rate was only 2,000 rupiahs for 1 US dollar… But I was hoping to see that Suharto would be brought into trial; not only for the corruption, but also for human rights violation, especially the Trisakti tragedy which followed by the 1998 riots. They’ve been trying for 7 years, but Suharto’s health’s been keeping him away from the court.
Will it be Augusto Pinochet all over again, or would the injustice continue as Suharto’s losing his battle against his health?