Thursday, March 16, 2006

No Surviving Indonesian Left Behind

By Jim Glover

In case you missed it, the U.S. is giving Indonesia $157 million to improve education there. [1]

This in itself may seem ironic, in light of the condition of our own educational system. But it’s not ironic at all, at least by comparison with the overall U.S. – Indonesia story.

Ever since the Gerald Ford days, when Henry Kissinger brought them a large sack of money and a green light to mass-murder, Indonesia has been hard at work killing, torturing, and rendering homeless several hundred thousand of its own citizens. Or possibly millions, depending on whose estimates you prefer. The carnage has been especially severe on the islands of East Timor, Aceh, and Papua. [3]

According to Condi Rice, however, that’s all over now. Indonesia is well on the road toward – how’d you guess? – DEMOCRACY!

Condi must have missed a report, published just this year, from Human Rights Watch. Here’s what HRW said about Indonesia:

1. Armed forces there “continue to violate international human rights and humanitarian law with impunity.”
2. On Papua, “undisciplined and unaccountable troops [are] committing widespread abuses against civilians, including extrajudicial executions, torture, forced disappearances, beatings, arbitrary arrests and detentions, and drastic limits on freedom of movement
3. Torture by the government is widespread across the country.”;
4. “some of the detainees tortured are children.
5. The country’s executive and judicial branches “regularly fail to address such abuses.” [4]

Final Irony

And now for the final irony. Eight and a half million of the U.S.’s education grant will be for the development of an Indonesian version of “Sesame Street.”
Apparently the Indonesians, though “ready” for democracy (and for plenty of more military hardware), aren’t considered smart enough to develop their own TV puppet shows. Far better to indoctrinate their children with good, quality U.S.-style characters.

But Condi’s optimistic that Elmo (who was right there with her when she announced the grant) and his friends can get them up to speed on puppet character creation. After seeing enough of Burt and Ernie, Condi told an assembled crowd of grade-schoolers, “I'll bet you'll find that you'll start creating some other characters, maybe some characters that would live here in Indonesia.” [5]

What a concept.







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