‘In­done­sian sce­nario’ Philip­pine style

Sun Star Bacolod - - Opinion -

I HOPE and pray I am wrong. But the sce­nario in the coun­try with so many killings di­rected against the left­ists and crit­ics and no govern­ment agency solv­ing a sin­gle one since the be­gin­ning of the new ad­min­is­tra­tion points to some par­al­lel­ism with what hap­pened in In­done­sia dur­ing 1965-1966 un­der Sukarno, and the three decade there­after of an au­thor­i­tar­ian fas­cist rule of Gen­eral Suharto.

The years 1965-66 un­der pres­i­dent Sukarno, known as left­ist Pres­i­dent and a close ally of the Com­mu­nist Party of In­done­sia (PKI), was a pe­riod of mas­sive killings of known com­mu­nist sym­pa­thiz­ers, al­leged left­ists, pro­gres­sive re­li­gious or­ga­ni­za­tions and eth­nic Chi­nese.

It be­gan with the con­cep­tion and in­sti­ga­tion of state se­cu­rity forces backed by the US-CIA of so-called com­mu­nist plot to take over the govern­ment, with the back­ing of Pres­i­dent Sukarno. Then it was fol­lowed by a mas­sive purge of com­mu­nists and other pro­gres­sives.

The mass killings started in the cap­i­tal, Jakarta, spread to Cen­tral and East Java, later Bali, north­ern Su­ma­tra, and to other smaller towns in sep­a­rated is­lands. Ac­cord­ing to a num­ber of re­ports, 500,000 to one mil­lion were killed, with some es­ti­mates reach­ing three mil­lion.

Pres­i­dent Sukarno tried to play a bal­anc­ing act of pro­mot­ing na­tion­al­ism, re­li­gious free­dom and com­mu­nist un­der­tones while play­ing games with the pow­er­ful Us-backed In­done­sian army. But with­out him know­ing it, or just played around by his mil­i­tary gen­er­als, the mass killings were car­ried out, blam­ing it to so-called com­mu­nist plot to take over, worse to a con­cocted script of in-fight­ing in the com­mu­nist move­ment re­sult­ing to killing each other.

Af­ter the mil­i­tary suc­cess in deal­ing death blows to PKI, their mass sup­port­ers and the politi­cized seg­ments of the Is­lam, Sukarno’s two main pil­lars of sup­port, in 1967 Sukarno was stripped of his re­main­ing pow­ers by the In­done­sian pro­vi­sional par­lia­ment and cabi­net largely in­flu­enced by the In­done­sian mil­i­tary, and paved the way for nam­ing of Gen­eral Suharto as the act­ing pres­i­dent.

In March 1968, Suharto was for­mally elected pres­i­dent. The three decades that fol­lowed wit­nessed the au­thor­i­tar­ian fas­cist rule of Suharto, backed by US-CIA, as re­vealed in de­clas­si­fied US doc­u­ments in 2017.

Suharto re­signed in 1998. His reign was char­ac­ter­ized by mil­i­tary rule; mas­sive com­mu­nist purge and killings of non-com­mu­nist pro­gres­sives and left­ists, pro­gres­sive Is­lam lead­ers and churches and eth­nic Chi­nese; rule of ter­ror and si­lence; a rub­ber stamp par­lia­ment; plun­der of In­done­sia re­sources by for­eign cor­po­ra­tions mostly US and Euro­peans; in­debt­ed­ness to World Bank, IMF and other tri­lat­eral fund­ing in­sti­tu­tions.

See the par­al­lel­ism. By end of 2016, it was clear that Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Roa Duterte (PRRD) was not se­ri­ous in his self-pro­claimed so­cial­ist and left­ist stand­point, that he was not in­ter­ested to ma­ture his “good re­la­tion­ship” with the com­mu­nist move­ment into a strate­gic part­ner­ship, and that all his com­mit­ments to end cor­rup­tion, ease poverty thru com­pre­hen­sive so­cio-eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal re­forms, participatory gov­er­nance, and a sov­er­eign na­tion have been fall­ing apart.

He has been giv­ing more eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal fa­vors to the mil­i­tary, been re­ly­ing more on the mil­i­tary to run the govern­ment by plac­ing re­tired mil­i­tary gen­er­als in key po­si­tions.

With the in­sti­ga­tion of the mil­i­tary and mil­i­tarist leg­is­la­tors, he aban­doned peace talks with the com­mu­nists and de­clared all-out war against them, and against pro­gres­sives of all shades, ad­min­is­tra­tion crit­ics, crit­i­cal churches, in­dige­nous peo­ples, and their sym­pa­thiz­ers.

His re­peated ex­hor­ta­tions for the mil­i­tary and po­lice and even pri­vate groups to kill those who op­posed his pro­grams es­pe­cially his war on drugs has in­spired killing spree through­out the coun­try and un­bri­dled abuses by men in uni­form and those with po­si­tions of au­thor­ity.

To­day, death squads abound; some are for­mer rebels tapped by the mil­i­tary and fi­nanced by land­lords and cor­po­rate farm own­ers; their tar­gets are mostly the com­mu­nists, pro­gres­sive la­bor and com­mu­nity lead­ers, priests and lawyers.

Worse, with thou­sands of killings, mas­sacres, sal­vagings, ru­ral bomb­ings, no govern­ment agency has yet solved any of these de­spite re­peated lip ser­vice com­mit­ment to hu­man rights and jus­tice to the vic­tims by au­thor­i­ties and the Pres­i­dent him­self.

The only dif­fer­ence per­haps from the In­done­sian sce­nario is that these state-in­spired killings are done qui­etly, spread through­out the ar­chi­pel­ago, and with the aid of ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies and or­ga­nized so­cial me­dia trolls, these are made to ap­pear as iso­lated and fake, worse, the hand­i­works of the com­mu­nists to fan anti-com­mu­nist hys­te­ria.

But soon, when re­sis­tance grows, these killings will likely be­come more open, un­spar­ing, bru­tal and high in in­ten­sity.

With govern­ment key po­si­tions now un­der the con­trol of mil­i­tary gen­er­als who are ob­vi­ous US-CIA fa­vorite boys and ef­fec­tively turned PRRD more docile to them, and backed by the olds of Mar­tial law years, is it not pos­si­ble that PRRD will be forced to re­sign be­fore his term ends, and let one of his gen­er­als t ake over the pres­i­dency?

Or will he just con­tinue to be a mouth-piece of the mil­i­tary, the big land­lords and for­eign cor­po­rate in­ter­ests, and carry out more mas­sive killings against com­mu­nists and those who op­pose their so-called “new or­der?”

Well, par­al­lelisms are clear, still ex­pand­ing and tak­ing more vari­a­tions un­der the in­creas­ingly “dig­i­tal world.”

Mean­time, our peo­ple are be­ing good time by the govern­ment’s war on drugs, over­whelm­ing and so­phis­ti­cated pro­jec­tion of its build build build and other grandiose in­fra­struc­ture projects heav­ily de­pen­dent on higher taxes and for­eign loans, thus sub­du­ing the mas­sive killings into the side­line like a dope in­jected into our psy­che and cul­ture of a ter­ror(rized) peo­ple.

Any­one who dares to ques­tion and chal­lenge the “new or­der” will have to pay a dearly high price.

Still, I hope I am wrong.*

(For feed­back, email to om­bion.ph@out­look.com)

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