Thursday, June 5, 2014

Prabowo the misunderstood, Jokowi the puppet, and the game of “I’m more Muslim than You”

Monday’s mail brought this little gem, a 2009 Tentang PS blog entry in Bahasa sadly, but revealing in an interview with Probowo’s father, Prof. Sumitro, that he had close ties with the CIA when he joined the PRRI rebellion in 1950.  Makes sense, since Junior attended Army Special Forces Training at Fort Bragg, NC, in 1980.

My badly translated excerpts are as follows:

Q: Did PRRI really receive weapons  and supplies from the Central Intelligence Agency ( CIA ) or the U.S. Secret Service ?
A: Yes, most of them. Other weapons were purchased in Phuket, Thailand, and Taiwan. I know George Kahin ( Cornell University professor ) told me it was the CIA It is really inconsequential, though.  Many people just hate my CIA  involvement. It is true that I had contact with the CIA, but also Korean and French intelligence.

Q: Did the CIA design movement patterns for PRRI?
A. Not that far. They only helped. We had people of our own designing them. A PRRI weakness is their inclination to regard themselves as a military movement, so they are really weak in politics. Another drawback is that there are too many incoming regional interests .
* * *
Q: And after all the PRRI - and your 10 year escape/exile, you went back to Indonesia? Do Suharto ask you back ?
A: In 1966 , Suharto sent an envoy abroad to look for me. Pak Harto needed an economic advisor for Widjojo and others who were young and inexperienced. They loked everywhere for me, but to no avail. As a fugitive, I was more adept at hiding, ha - ha - ha . . . Finally, we met in Bangkok, November 1966, brought together with Sugeng Djarot, our defense attache there. I was asked back. I received the offer and returned in July 1967.

The same blog also reprints AsiaWeek’s heart-wrenching 2000 story on Prabowo, entitled “I Never Betrayed My Country,” bringing up, just in time for absolution, the possibility that Probowo was not the “mastermind” behind all the genocide but just a poor patriotic general following orders. (This theme is repeated throughout his father’s 2009 interview, to wit: (“Yes, he did kidnap nine people and do a bunch of other mean things, but he was only following orders.”)

One excerpt from this article attempts to lend legitimacy to his distance from actual war crimes by citing the opinions of the press.

Now, many thinking Indonesians are acknowledging that Prabowo was perhaps the easy but not necessarily right target. Says veteran journalist Aristedes Katoppo: “He was made the fall guy for a lot of mistakes not of his making. He may have demanded things. But launching a coup? That is wrong. It’s disinformation.” Prabowo himself believes that his persecution has a reason: “There was a certain group that wanted to make me a scapegoat, maybe to hide their involvement.”

What emerges from Prabowo’s own account, coupled with this magazine’s independent inquiry, is a far different, more nuanced tale than the accepted assessment that Suharto’s fall stemmed from a battle between good and evil – and that Prabowo was the villain. This story is a report from and about the highest reaches of Indonesian politics, a revelation of its treacherously shifting nature and the complexities of its actors. It challenges what many accept about the country: its military, its former ruling family, its history. Whatever verdict you draw, it is impossible to look at the fall of Suharto in the past – or the personalities and conflicts of the present – in the same way again.

So I asked Wati if there were any credibility to this report from a “veteran journalist.” How do we know unequivocally, I asked her, that Prabowo is as bad as we think he is?  Are there actual documents or confessions or evidence that name him as the person in charge when these atrocities were being committed?  This article implies that some journalists say no . . . 

And her response:

What about the journalist from Bloomberg who wrote that Jusuf Kalla [Jokowi’s running mate] is a RESPECTED figure and yet just now Kalla said that Jokowi and his candidacy got number "2" for voters to cast, and hat Megawati was so pleased.

Who exactly is the candidate nominated by the PDIP--Jokowi or Mega?  She’s still pulling the strings . . . “

This in reference to a statement Jokowi made when his slate was given the number 2, as is customary in Indonesia --you vote for a number, not names; in this case #1 is Probowo/ Hatta Radjasa, #2 is Jokowi/Kalla.  Upon receiving the number, Jokowi quoted Megawati saying, “Number 2 means Victory and peace; therefore, please vote #2.”  Prabowo protested this statement because it’s considered campaigning, which is prohibited outside the set dates for this activity.  “But the point,” says Wati, “is why did Jokowi have to quote Mega?  She should stand aside and no longer be involved directly in the race at this stage.  So no one is respectable at this point, and journalists can get led astray very easily . . . ”

Last night she added an observation:

"It’s getting really dangerous, as the issues all are now focused on who is “more Muslim." And the extremist Muslims are joining Prabowo. 

Sadly, Kalla has reacted by showing so much of his “Muslim side” that Jokowi now starts his speeches with the Arabic version of “Greetings fellow Muslims!”

Note that Soekarno and my late father wisely avoided this Arabic version of greetings. Why? Because of the fact that Indonesia is a secular state based on PANCASILA .
And Arabic is not our language nor part of our Indonesian identity. ISLAM is NOT ARABISM.

But the two candidates are too afraid to say this in public since it might endanger Muslim votes and this is where extreme Islam sees an opportunity to muzzle any secular influence  . . ."

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