13 February 2011
Obama, Indonesia, and Egypt...
I like Barack Obama. If I was an American I would have voted for the man. But, Mr. President, you are letting your 3 plus years in Indonesia go to your head and cloud your judgment. Indonesia is not a shining example that Egypt must follow as an example of how to transit from a dictatorship to democracy.
Perhaps you and your team need to revisit some of your perceptions of Indonesia. The reform process in Indonesia has been slow and very drawn out. There are still huge swathes of the population living on or below the poverty line. Religious fundamentalism and extremism continues to rear its ugly head. And, Mr. President, this is in spite of your claims back in November that Indonesia was a shining example of religious tolerance and pluralism in the Islamic world. Seriously Mr. President how do you think Indonesia's religious minorities such as the Ahmadis and the Christians are feeling about that in light of the recent violence that has been perpetrated against them?
Corruption is still rife in Indonesia. So rife, in fact, that it is almost an every other day occurrence. The scourge is pervasive and persistent. So much so that the president of Indonesia opts to stand idly by and claim professional distance while the primary platform of his mandate is eroded from around him by those who put him into power in the first place.
Nah, if the citizens of Egypt have the sense, and I am sure that they do, then they will not be looking towards the world's largest Muslim nation for any serious substantive pointers regarding a transition to democracy. Hopefully the Egyptian people will not suffer the same fate as Indonesia's long-suffering citizens.
On a final note, Indonesia has not successfully managed the aspirations of the people. In fact, the persistent pandering to special interests and Muslim fundamentalists has meant that extremism is on the rise. The military and police, and perhaps the whole law enforcement apparatus, are nervous. So, if success is gauged by the fact that Muslim groups are now openly canvassing the idea that it is time for the democratically elected president to resign and move out to pasture, then, yes, Mr. Obama, Indonesia is the shining example that Egypt needs to follow.
Then again, this might be why SBY is claiming responsibility for getting Hosni Mubarak to resign for the good of the Egyptian people...