Indonesia: Side Effects


January 19, 2006: In the last few days, six Islamic terrorists have been arrested. This is part of the operation running down all those involved with the 2002 Bali bombing. This attack, that killed over 200, horrified most Indonesians, and wrecked the tourism based economy of Bali. Normally, Bali gets 1.6 million tourists a year. That dropped by nearly half after the 2002 attack, and had revived to nearly 1.4 million last year. But now it looks like another, smaller, attack in Bali late last year, is driving the tourists away again, causing much unemployment in Bali.

January 18, 2006: A UN survey in East Timor concluded that, during the 24 years the Indonesian army occupied the area (which used to be a Portuguese colony before Indonesia moved in), a third of the population died from the effects of military operations. About 18,000 were killed by combat operations, while over 160,000 died from side effects like disease and starvation. This happened when troops drove civilians from their homes and farms. The East Timorease were different from Indonesians, both ethnically (they were Melanesian, not Malay) and in religion. (Christian rather than Moslem.) These differences contributed to the brutality of the army operations against separatist activities. East Timor is still poor, but foreign aid prevents starvation and deals with a lot of the disease.

January 17, 2006: Piracy has become mostly a matter of burglary. Most recent piracy incidents involved men sneaking aboard large ships during the night. Boats in port, or in anchorages (waiting to load or unload) were favored. The targets were usually large container ships or tankers. The pirates tried to steal what they could without alerting the armed guards who tend to be hired to guard these ships while they are in port.

January 5, 2006: Some 2,000 police have left Aceh, as part of the peace deal with the separatists. These police were reinforcements brought in to deal with the rebels.


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