18 July 2009

SBY's Speech in the Aftermath of the 17 July 2009 Bombings

The translation that follows has been lifted / borrowed from The Jakarta Globe (it is good enough for the comments that I want to make on it, and besides I am too lazy to do it myself so it would be a bit rude to criticize it when that is the case :D). I am not a big fan of the incumbent president, and now president-elect to a second term, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono or SBY. This lack of enthusiasm clearly puts me in the minority according to the quick counts in the post-election wrap-up and the surveys leading into the most recent presidential election.

I will insert my comments in square brackets [] and in this bold.

Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

Greetings to everyone,

My fellow countrymen and women, to all Indonesians that I love, wherever you are. Today is a black dot in our history [as a nation]. Once again, there has been an attack or a bombing committed by terrorists in Jakarta. It is suspected to have been committed by a group of terrorists, although it may not necessarily be the same terrorism network that we have realized cause nothing but sufferings and troubles that all Indonesians have had to bear.
[Expected start]

This barbaric act has brought about innocent casualties as well. Therefore, on this opportunity, on behalf of the country and the government, and as a person, I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. To all the victims, our thoughts and prayers are with you.
[Expected - violence is not the answer. Not only is the act barbaric it is wrong on all fronts and grounds. Nobody with a sane mind can condone the killings of innocents]

My fellow countrymen and women, the inhuman and thoughtless bombing occurred just when our nation had held its presidential election and while the General Elections Commission (KPU) is still tallying the votes. It has greatly disrupted the security and peace of the country while people want a safe, peaceful and conducive situation. People want the conclusion of the 2009 General Elections to be the starting point for us to unite and rebuild our country for the sake of all Indonesian people.
[Some have argued that the speech does not politicize the bombing and has not sort to capitalize for personal popularity the tragedy of these bombings.

There has been much made of the possibility that Prabowo or someone associated with one of the campaigns is responsible for the bombings as a means of undermining and destabilizing SBY. This seems highly unlikely, but not outside the realm of possibility. Nevertheless, the question remains why raise the spectre of this kind of evil prior to the inevitable investigation being completed. The intent seems clear to me that the president is trying to link the bombings to the election outcome. A little premature, even if ultimately proved true.

Interestingly, if this, the election and bombing link, was to prove true, then all this discussion about Jemaah Islamiyya, Noordin M. Top, splinter groups, and the like, is then way off base. This is extreme domestic political violence and not terrorism in the traditional meaning of the word or at least how many viewed terrorism before 9/11.

Another interesting angle getting some airplay is that this was not terrorism or political, but rather a dispute about local control of resources, particularly in Papua. Specifically, the suggestion is that the round table hosted by James Castle of CastleAsia was targeted because of the executives who were to attend. If this turns out to be true then the attack was brazen and audacious. The idea that the bombings are in some way related to the recent violence and killings in Papua in and around the Freeport concession is one for the conspiracy theorists. Although conspiracy theorists can give any piece of speculation enough legs to run with and some people will believe it -- 9/11 and the CIA and FBI involvement in bringing down the World Trade Centers.]

The bombing was committed when people were still concerned with political brouhaha at the elite level, also — as I have been noticing everyday — with provocative remarks that maintain heated and hostile circumstances, which is not the aspiration of the people who fulfilled their political duties a few weeks ago.
[Seems to be a dig at Prabowo. Prabowo has been vocal in his public criticisms of the electoral process, particularly the quick counts. This part of the speech says to the other two campaigns that it is time to suck it up and admit that you lost, the people have spoken and spoken decisively, they do not want you, they want me. So, be good sports and good losers and go home!]

My fellow countrymen and women, I believe almost all of us feel sympathy and sadness, and cry inside, as I do now. Indeed, there are few people who are laughing and screaming in delight, satisfying their maddening anger. These few people, heartless and careless for the destruction of our country from terrorism, do not care about the vast implications of their brutality toward our economy, business climate, tourism, image in the world and many other factors.
Presently, my brothers and sisters, beside us, the government is performing emergency response measures to treat the victims of the bombing. An investigation is on the way as well. I have received a preliminary report of the ongoing investigation. After I read the report, I instructed the Chief of Police, the National Intelligence Agency and other related state institutions to conduct a proper and thorough investigation and to bring the perpetrators to justice. [A little bit cryptic for me.

Besides, the Chief of Police, the National Intelligence Agency (BIN), and other related State Institutions have not been able to bring the perpetrators of the Munir assassination to justice. So, the best bet here is that a few low-ranking goons will be "caught", paraded about, tried, convicted, and executed, while the elites to which SBY referred to earlier will continue to go on their respective merry ways.]

I believe, as we have discovered before, that the perpetrators and the people who masterminded this terror will be apprehended and we will prosecute them under the law. I have instructed law enforcers to prosecute anyone involved. Whoever he or she is, from whatever political rank and background.
[see the above comment. Not likely!]

This morning, I have received many statements, or reminders, that made me theorize, or at least be concerned, that this terrorism is related to the result of the presidential election. I would respond like this — that we should not point our fingers, or blame someone without proof. All theories and speculations must be proven in court. Our country is a lawful country, as well as a democratic one. Therefore, the norms of law and democracy must be enacted properly. If someone is guilty under the law, then we could say that the person is guilty.
[SBY returns to the political / election theme.

Why does he do this if he is not trying to politicize these tragic bombings for personal political gain?

He is pointing fingers and casting about blame without proof. Unless a photo of a masked man shooting at a picture of his head is proof that the bombings are political. Then, if the bombings are political, why raise the spectre of terrorism?]

I must say for the first time to all Indonesians that during the series of legislative and presidential elections in 2009, there were several intelligence reports that were gathered by law enforcers. Once again, this information has never been made public. The report showed a group of terrorists had practiced shooting at my picture, SBY's picture, as a target. Let me show you. [See the above comment.]

This is a video recording of them practicing shooting. Two men are shooting with handguns. This is the target. And this is my picture, and they are aiming approximately at my face. This is the intelligence report, with video tape and pictures. It is not a slander, nor an issue. I received the report several moments ago. It is still related to the intelligence that acknowledged there is a plan to commit violence or actions against the law in relation to the election result.
[Continuing with the theme that this is a political attack against him as the sitting president. A few pictures and a video is hardly evidence of a wide-ranging political conspiracy to assassinate him.]

There was also a plan to occupy the office of the General Elections Commission when the result is to announced. There was a statement that there would be a revolution if SBY wins. This is an intelligence report, not rumors, nor gossip. Other statements said they wished to turn Indonesia into [a country like] Iran. And the last statement said that no matter what, SBY should not and would not be inaugurated. You can interpret such threats, and the tens of other intelligence reports that are currently in the hands of our law enforcers.
[Fear mongering at best. At worst this is a clear attempt to set the scene for a repressive crackdown on any political dissent by saying "if we do not stop it now then we will never be able to stop it".]

This morning, just like I used to do, I wanted to come personally to the location [of the attack]. But the Chief of Police and others suggested I should wait, since the area was not yet secure. And danger could come at any time, especially with all of the threats I have shown you. Physical threats.
[This is a nice touch. No matter what the danger I am there for you my fellow citizens.]

Surely, life and death is in God's hands. I should not worry and be restrained in doing my duty to the people, to this country. Since presidential security is borne by the Indonesian Armed Forces, I believe the armed forces have taken the precautions needed. To all intelligence reports, whether they are related to the bombing or not, I have instructed to all law enforcers to perform their duties correctly, objectively, decisively and lawfully.
[Clearly life and death is not exclusively in the hands of God. It is also in the backpacks and suitcase of bombers who care not for what God thinks with respect to the killing of innocents, they just go about their business of killing and maiming.

I have always had a few issues with the idea of a vengeful God that permits the killing of innocents.]

If the threats are not related to today's bombing, they still need to be prevented, because anarchy, violence, vandalism and all other crimes are not the characteristics of a democratic and lawful country, obviously. For all of this, I, as the president, condemn the brutal act of terrorism. I also feel very sorry about the incident. Perhaps, or usually, during times like this, many of us are afraid to express our scorns or condemnations due to political considerations. On the other hand, I must say it loud and clear, as my mandate as the president.
[What? After all this talk about how the bombings were election related and an attempt to undermine political stability and related to a plot to assassinate you, there is still a chance that the bombings are terrorism and not political? OK deh!]

Why do I have to feel very sorry? First of all, you all know that for the last five years, our economy has been growing rapidly. Business, tourism, food self-sufficiency, investment, trade, real sectors, have all been moving favorably regardless of the global crisis. Secondly, during the last week alone, our stock exchange index were improving drastically and our Rupiah was strengthening [against US dollar] as well. With the growing economy, the welfare of our people was developing also, including the execution of poverty and unemployment eradication programs, which I usually mention as the Pro-People Program.
[Ahhh, this is not a campaign stop and a photo opportunity to talk up the last five years you have been president. Besides, there has been plenty written in the lead up to the election that would suggest that your record is not quite as rosy as you make it out to be.]

All that has happened, my beloved brothers and sisters of Indonesia, is because in the last couple of years, our country has been truly safe and peaceful. In addition to the economic growth, our people throughout the country can work and live their lives in peace, free from fear. Meanwhile, the reputation of our country in the world is increasing as the world sees our country to be more safe, organized and peaceful. Our country has a blooming democracy and improved human rights implementation, a developing country that plays its role globally. Even, and this is a sad part, if the bombing did not occur, a legendary football club, Manchester United, would have played in Jakarta.
[There are a few more things a little more sad than whether Manchester United plays a football game in Jakarta!]

My fellow countrymen and women, with all of these brutal and thoughtless acts of terrorism, what we have built in the last five years with the labor and sweat of all Indonesians, once again must endure another shake and setback. Implications, once again, must be borne by all Indonesians, minus the bombers. [Of course, particularly if the bombers were suicide bombers.]

Therefore, truth and justice will be served. I swear, for the sake of my beloved Indonesians, that the government will execute proper and decisive punishments to the bombers, including the mastermind and organizers, and for other crimes that might or could happen on our country nowadays.
[Not likely. As I said, the authorities have not been able to catch the masterminds of the Munir assassination. So, why would this be any different?]

To the Indonesian Police Force, Indonesian Armed Forces and National Intelligence Agency, also the governors, district chiefs and mayors, I would like to ask you to remain on high-alert status and strive to prevent terrorism. More importantly, the law enforcers must truly seek, capture and prosecute the perpetrators, organizers, and masterminds behind this violence. Maybe some of them have committed crimes, assassination or murders and gotten away with these crimes, but this time we will not let them become Draculas and death-mongers in our country. [So, why did the State let these "Draculas" get away with crimes in the past and what has changed now?]

I realize that for the last five years, police have frequently prevented and stopped terrorism actions. Confiscating explosive materials, uncovering several terrorism networks, even though today's bombing has happened, a disaster that has torn the security and reputation of our country and nation. To prevent and exterminate terrorism, and other crimes properly, the intelligence [agency] must be very sharp. Prevention must be very effective. The police, the intelligence agency, the armed forces must unite in a complete synergy. Negligence and ignorance must be discarded. This is our mandate given by the people, for our country.
[By whatever means necessary?]

To all Indonesians, as you increase public alertness, stay at your work and live your lives normally. If something suspicious happens, call the police. Don't let terrorists and their masterminds lurk in your neighborhood. You can fall prey to their actions at any time if they are allowed to mastermind further terror in our country. [This is similar to a program currently running in Australia. There are public service type announcements and advertisements on the TV asking people to report suspicious activities to the Australian authorities.]

For the future, I encourage all Indonesians and all elements of the nation to unite and stand together in protecting the safety and peace of this country. No country and no religion condones terrorism, whatever the motives and reasons are. Don't hesitate, nor be afraid, in preventing and exterminating terrorism. Meanwhile, the terror we had today should never break our spirit and endeavor to build and to advance our country. [Agreed. This is very sensible. Viva democracy, viva peace, viva Indonesia!]

We must keep on fighting to better our economy, politics, democracy, human rights implementation, law enforcement, regional development, people's welfare and so on. The fact is that there is a major catastrophe due to today's act of terrorism. But we will make it right together, and we shall rise and move forward again. We, the nation, the country and the people, shall not falter nor cave in to terrorism. No violence, extremism, and other crimes shall continue to live on this country.

God Almighty, Allah SWT, shall protect and save our lives. With God's blessings, I assure you, my brothers and sisters of Indonesia, that I shall stand right up front to face the clear and present danger and to carry out the hard, yet noble, mandate you have given to me.

Thank you, [You're welcome!]

Wassalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.


Brett said...

VEEERRRYYY cynical, Mr Baiton! :)

I'd be careful, you indirectly accuse SBY of lying at least once. Housewives have been thrown in jail for less.

Among my circle, most people I know are puzzled (and bemused) by the "politicize" accusations, and no-one thinks for a minute that Prabowo is behind this awful event. Suicide bombers are very hard to organise.

I suspect that the bombing was politically motivated --- in the same way that the 911 attacks were politically motivated.

Rob Baiton said...


Not cynical.

Not accusing the president of lying. Merely questioning his motivations and the evidence that he says is critical to any prosecution in the future.

He indirectly suggests that Prabowo may be involved in the bombings. For my mind this is politicizing the moment, unless of course the president is suggesting that Prabowo is in some way involved in the training of terrorists.

I guess we (your circle included) will have to agree to disagree on the politicize angle.

What were the political motivations, at least, on the domestic front in the US?

Jakartass said...

Prabowo is certainly the current bogeyman amongst the 'working classes' here. I can't say that this is such a bad thing as heaven forfend that he's in a position to be elected president in 2014.

He has certainly been involved in some very shady dealings with 'terrorists', in Papua for example, and his campaign manager, Muchdi, was 'acquitted' of Munir's murder.

Read Aangirfan's article for extensive, documented, background.

Still, as Rob says, SBY was politicking over much.

And the USA connection? Could it be Freeport?

Tikno said...

I cannot say any more, except "Terrorist is more cruel than all devils".
Even applying the death sentence, I think, cannot reducing terrorism, because it's clear that they are not afraid for death.

Rob Baiton said...


Thanks for dropping by. Also thanks for the mention over at your place. Much appreciated.

The speech just reads like SBY calling Prabowo out. It strikes me in the same way as yo would see two fellas in a pub with one calling the other to take their differences outside and settle them once and for all, like "men".

I / you would have to think that the speech was prepared and not off the cuff. So, this is calculated and certainly ups the ante.

I am not a Prabowo fan and to all intents and purposes do not give the proverbial rat's arse. But, politicizing an event such as this belittles the office of president in my mind.


I do not support the death penalty as I do not see it being an effective deterrent to the commission of crimes. Desperate people will do desperate things, no matter what the penalty.

In many ways, sentencing a terrorist to death is giving them what they claim they want. For example, Amrozi; Ali Ghufron; and, Imam Samudra. I hope these fellas are enjoying breaking rocks in the fires of hell!

lawRitz said...

That's surely silly - invoking notions of hell??

Rob Baiton said...



It is Sunday :D

lawritz said...

Get back here fast!! Its sunday here too you know.

Jakartass said...

Hell for these nihilists is the sought after 70 virgins - octogenarian Catholic nuns.

Presuming you didn't see the speech on TV, yes it was prepared: SBY read from a sheaf of sheets. I do wonder if I misheard, however, an impromptu ending. As he walked away at the end, he turned back to the microphones (just two of them) and said "Goblok".

About who or what seemed unclear; perhaps he was answering one of the assembled journalists, but at this point he seemed angry rather than the "emotional" (i.e. close to tears) state he was in before that.

Rob Baiton said...


I am done for a little while, at least, with Jakarta. Have a few plans in place in this neck of the woods that are really unfinished business from many years ago, and need to be completed.


I did, but I did not see the goblok part. It would have been interesting in terms of trying to work out the context.

Not very presidential language :D

Then again, I am not a president, my country has not just been bombed, and I am not feeling a little under the gun (pun intended) with respect to alleged assassination plots and other political scheming.

therry said...

All I can say is that thank goodness I didn't vote for him. He's too much of a wimp to lead this country and that will never change.

He's said some really stupid things on TV so many times that I actually wonder what do people really see in him.

The last quote I heard from him was when he commented about the bombing, in which he said, "The security of this country has gotten worse."

I was like, hello?! Weren't you the president for these past 5 years? If there was someone to blame for not being able to provide a safe and secure country, it should be him, no?


Rob Baiton said...


Tell us what you really think :D

All I will say is that it was strange timing to be having a press conference in which the theme seemed to be "me, me, me".

The idea being this was not an attack against you the people (although it was you the people who suffered most) it was an attack against me. It was an attempt to undermine my legitimacy as president and now president-elect to a second term (assuming that the KPU count mirrors the quick counts).

The idea that security has become worse during his tenure by his own admission is an interesting one. Not only because it was pretty bad before, but because in the period before he was president he was intimately involved in organizing that security.

Oh well!

Unknown said...

hi all,

late to be around since the whole thing was just too fucking messy, full stories later, but yeah, for what it's worth, SBY's ppl are seriously backpedalling from this earlier statements.

very weird, and very stupid that he'd do that. he's losing credibility fast and i'd say that he loses a lot of his recent political gain (it'll be very interesting to see the polls NOW).

I saw Prabowo and heard his statements (on TVOne) and frankly, he appeared to be very much in control and a lot better than SBY in his remarks.

crazy times.

Rob Baiton said...


Crazy times indeed. And, you need to learn to respond to sms and other forms of communication just to let people know you are safe.

That said, yep, back-pedaling would be one way to describe the post-speech response from SBY's people. It was a serious miscalculation on their part. Although, I think it was really an ego thing and 60% quick counts that convinced them that SBY could say just about anything he wanted to and get away with it.

There has to be some serious questions being asked now about not only his judgment but also his ability as a statesman and diplomat. Particularly so, considering that Partai Demokrat appear somewhat serious about the president-elect for a second term moving on and becoming Secretary General of the UN.

It will be interesting to watch to see what becomes of it, if anything.

lawritz said...

if anything...

Rob Baiton said...


There will undoubtedly be many like you hoping for "if anything".

I on the other hand would hope something would come of it one day (does not have to be today or even tomorrow).

If people want to hold me to account for the things that I say and the allegations that I might make in the course of my existence, then so be it. I am up for it and ready.

I have always argued that if whatever it is that you want to say is worth saying, then it is worth defending as well.

There is nothing written in this blog, by me, that I would not be comfortable defending. Where I have made mistakes, I am willing to admit those mistakes, and go on (perhaps not always happily so in the admitting of mistakes).

Simply, if you're wrong, then you're wrong! Get over it and get on with it.

Unknown said...

my apologies on the sms - it was a bit messy :)

SecGen of UN, really?


john said...

Put those pecadillos in the Forgetery as T. Rein says..

Rob Baiton said...


No dramas on the SMS. I am sure someone would have told me either way in the end.

If I recall, Dilligaf said something about De Hooi and sexy Dancers, which made a lot of sense in the big scheme of things.