Former President Suharto is ill.
December 16, 2001 2:41 PM   Subscribe

Former President Suharto is ill. This story is being carried on CNN and the BBC, but good luck trying to find any references to genocide or 200'000 dead. MSNBC buries this fact in a flash animation. Remember, according to Western media, not all genocide is bad.
posted by bobo123 (6 comments total)
Suharto was a ruthless dictator, a grand larcenist and a mass killer with as many victims as Cambodia's Pol Pot.

And that about sums it up. A period of history that nearly everyone seems more than a little anxious to forget.
posted by lucien at 6:45 PM on December 16, 2001

Hey now, Suharto's #1 on my dead pool list for next year. Let's not be giving away any late-breaking news!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:57 PM on December 16, 2001

Edward Herman (author of the last document linked) has a history himself of
claiming that not all genocide is bad. Or at least, that it's not genocide when someone on his end of the political spectrum commits it.
posted by gimonca at 8:01 PM on December 16, 2001

The problem with assigning blame for E. Timor in an Indonesian context is that the brunt of the blame most likely falls on persons like Ali Murtopo and Gen. Benny Moerdani. But--if you represent yourself as a critic of that faction, you align yourself with their political opponents, some of whom tend toward Islamic fundamentalism. Yet, those same Islamic pols would have good reason to complain about the tens of thousands of Muslims who have had to leave Timor under duress in the last two years, a refugee exodus that has gone pretty much unreported in the Western media. It's a situation too complex for persons who have to pigeonhole everything on a political-correctness scale.

The Suharto who one ought to worry about is Tommy Suharto. That man is an actual menace, right now, even in custody. Let's just hope he doesn't mysteriously walk out of jail, like tycoon Eddy Tansil did a few years ago.

posted by gimonca at 8:12 PM on December 16, 2001

Thanks for the comments, gimonca, especially about the Timor situation. I have to say, though, the (undergraduate) thesis you linked to doesn't really seem to support your claim about Herman--or if it does I couldn't find it--though it clearly has a ax of its own to grind about Cambodia.
posted by rodii at 9:07 PM on December 16, 2001

where-ever the brunt of the blame may lie, there is no question that the terrible suffering of the east timorese could have been averted by interventions by the countries supporting indonesia. australia, the uk and the us can be held responsible for their willful ignorance of the situation.

i have spent time with east timorese, a very forgiving people, IMO, would i could muster the level of compassion they seem able to attain.
if i had seen harrier jump jets used by the government to massacre my friends and family as they went about their daily business in their village, undefended and un-armed, i wonder how i would cope?
the western governments still continue to exascerbate the situation (via the UN) by not offering any real protection to the people of east timor, to whom they have promised it.

The UN contributed to this downward spiral by failing to stop the violence in East Timor. It seemed reasonable for the East Timorese to expect that the thousands of white observers who had crowded out the hotels and jammed the flights to Dili would ensure their peaceful transition to independence. But, once they had raised the hope of the locals for peace, the UN seemed to be like children who block their ears so as not to hear bad news. The violence continued unabated. There were also reliable indications that the announcement of a pro-independence vote would unleash militia rage (see box). But still the UN insisted on holding the referendum thinking it could face the consequences with its meagre contingent of unarmed personnel.

Who benefits from this waste of resources?

gimonca - where, exactly, does edward herman 'claim that not all genocide is bad'?

From the linked article:

STAV......While they expressed unreserved support for the Khmer revolution, fully twenty percent of the Cambodian population may have perished due to execution, forced labor, illness, and malnutrition during the period 1975-1979.
posted by asok at 2:58 AM on December 17, 2001

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