Letters: SMH 29 January 2008

SMH 29/1/08

I hope Kevin Rudd will not be going or sending a representative to Soeharto’s funeral. He was responsible for the deaths of half a million Indonesians in 1965, 200,000 in East Timor during Indonesia’s illegal occupation, and up to a 100,000 in West Papua since Indonesian took control of that territory in 1963. To offer condolences or attend his funeral is an insult to the families of the victims of his brutal regime.
Joe Collins
Australia West Papua Association, Mosman

The Australian 29/1/08
I KNOW we are not supposed to speak ill of the dead but let�s get real. Suharto was responsible for the deaths of at least 500,000 Indonesians in 1965, 200,000 in East Timor during Indonesia�s illegal occupation of it, and up to a 100,000 in West Papua since Indonesia took control of that territory in 1963. To offer condolences or attend his funeral would be an insult to the families of the victims of his brutal regime.
Joe Collins
Mosman, NSW

The Australian 29/1/08
THE tributes to Suharto have begged the question, could Indonesia�s development have been achieved without militarism and repression?

Foreign governments curried favour with Suharto and his rapacious armed forces to allow primarily mining and logging companies to extract the country�s resource wealth. This support gave the green light to a ruthless process of territorial expansion and occupation. The result is that the country we know today as Indonesia was built through military force.
The murder of countless thousands of opponents to Suharto�s brutal system was accepted as a cost of doing business with Indonesia. Commentators could turn to a survivor and ask them what Suharto�s legacy was. In the villages and towns of Papua, which are still living with military abuse and surveillance, the legacy remains an entrenched system of fear.
In giving the Javanese peasantry their much-needed hand-up, Suharto enriched his cronies and oversaw massive environmental destruction through resource exploitation across the archipelago. Yet had he for one second during those 32 years suggested a change to the way business was done and jeopardised the profits of multinationals, Suharto may have become the international community�s public enemy number one.
John Wing
Research Fellow,
Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies,
University of Sydney