by Andre Vltchek
Last year, I stopped travelling to Indonesia. I simply did… I just could not bear being there, anymore. It was making me unwell. I felt psychologically and physically sick.
Indonesia has matured into perhaps the most corrupt country on Earth, and possibly into the most indoctrinated and compassion-less place anywhere under the sun. Here, even the victims were not aware of their own conditions anymore. The victims felt shame, while the mass murderers were proudly bragging about all those horrendous killings and rapes they had committed. Genocidal cadres are all over the government.
Don’t get me wrong: there is really nothing wrong with maturity. But instead of maturing elegantly into something noble, like a precious wine, Indonesia just decayed into disgusting vinegar, or spoiled milk, or most likely into something much, much more sinister – a monstrous decomposing carcass in the middle of a once socialist, progressive and anti-imperialist Asia.
After the 1965 coup backed by the US, Australia and Europe, some 2-3 million Indonesians died, in fact were slaughtered mercilessly in an unbridled orgy of terror: teachers, intellectuals, artists, unionists, and Communists vanished. The US Embassy in Jakarta provided a detailed list of those who were supposed to be liquidated. The army, which was generously paid by the West and backed by the countless brainwashed religious cadres of all faiths, showed unprecedented zeal, killing and imprisoning almost everyone capable of thinking. Books were burned and film studios and theatres closed down.
Women from the left-wing organizations, after being savagely raped, had their breasts amputated. They were labeled as witches, atheists, sexual maniacs and perverts.
Professional militant Christian cadres from Holland and other Western countries landed in Indonesia well before the coup. They were entrusted with the radicalization of Muslims, Hindus, Protestants, Catholics and the Indonesian military. They labeled Communists and other leftists as “dangerous atheists” and began an indoctrination and training campaign aimed to liquidate them.
The right-wing Chinese individuals, mostly traitors who just escaped from their Communist revolutionary homeland, happily joined the fascist putsch-nick clique and later the murderous, whoring and treasonous regime of General Suharto. They joined it as snitches and “preachers”. The Chinese minority in Indonesia, while undoubtedly suffering from certain discrimination, had joined the most oppressive domestic and foreign forces, shamelessly collaborating with military fascism, Western imperialism and the savage capitalist system, which it itself had helped to establish. Because of its control over the crucial part of the local “economy” (read: plunder of the natural resources) and its ownership of the countless brainwashing media outlets and private educational facilities, the Chinese minority in Indonesia has been playing a decisive and devastating role in the spectacular collapse of post-1965 Indonesia.
After the slaughters of 1965/66, everything resembling the Revolution and the People’s Republic of China was banned and obliterated in Indonesia, including red color, the Chinese language, and the word “Communism” itself.
Some of it was “inconvenient”, but overall, the Chinese right-wing anti-Communist émigrés in Indonesia finally had it their way. Suharto’s fascism was definitely closer to their hearts than the anti-Western-imperialism and the power sharing between the progressive Muslim leader Sukarno and his “golden child”, the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI).
After the genocide, the great selling of Indonesia began. Corruption and privatization went hand in hand. Ideological and intellectual blindness were administered to the population.
The murder and rape of millions, theft of everything that used to belong to the nation…
Thus was committed the greatest treason of the 20th century.
Roughly 50 years after this disaster took place, I broke my self-imposed ban and visited Indonesia once again.
This time, I did not come to Indonesia for academic work. In fact, I have fully divorced myself from academia, now considering it as prostituted and defunct as journalism. Philosophy has to break itself free from academia and its institutions. Philosophy deals with life, while contemporary academia represents intellectual death.
My damning book, Indonesia: Archipelago of Fear, was published more than 3 years ago by Pluto in London, then translated and published by Badak Merah into the Indonesian language. Other translations followed. Enough of theory!
I came back once again to breathe polluted air and to see the ruins of Indonesian society – ruins visible all over the capital. I came to observe the uninspired expressions on people’s faces, to once again experience the totally collapsed infrastructure. I came to face the society that had liquidated almost all science, philosophy and arts, and where local workers are now unable to even put two simple tiles together in a matching manner, much less construct a spaceship or passenger jet.
I returned to shout and to curse, and to write this as a warning to those who still think that a savage capitalism could actually work, that a country that would allow its “elites” to turn it into a doormat (or worse) of the West, could simply survive, let alone thrive.
I came to say what is clear but “forbidden” to say: “Indonesia died! It is finished. It was murdered some time between 1965 and now. It will never get back to its feet. People living there do not really live in a country, but inside a horrific, decaying cadaver.”
The only way forward would be a revolution, as Pramoedya Ananta Toer used to say. A total revolution, a reset! Return to what was destroyed in 1965. Bury the corpse, put on trial all those who have been committing treason, and start from zero, from the beginning!
This is reality, and it does not require footnotes or quotations!
But back to the deal between Empire and local “elites”.
The deal was clear: the West allowed the putsch-nicks and their religious and “educationalist” lackeys to rob the nation, tolerating the lowest forms of corruption. But, in exchange, they had to guarantee that the Indonesian people would to be kept thoroughly brainwashed and uneducated, never demanding the return of the Communist Party, never striving for great patriotic ideals and never questioning market fundamentalism and the indiscriminate looting of Indonesia’s natural resources.
The Christians that were put in charge were those from the most deranged evangelical sects, braced by the imported army of North American and Australian intelligence/religious cadres. “Prosperity Gospel” and “Pentecostals” were the most successful implants. The preachers listening to Voice of America and reading Western economic journals were suddenly in control.
Saudi-style Wahhabi Western allies shamelessly sidelined almost all socialist brands of local Islam, and the most militant and intolerant varieties of otherwise progressive and socialist Muslim religion began their destructive, totalitarian and intellectually ruinous activities.
The West, its media and academia, started unashamedly backing all fascist cultural dogmas: including regressive religious and family structures.
Not only that – they kept spreading the most grotesque lies: about “how tolerant Indonesia became”, and “how moderate” it is. “Third largest democracy” was how the Western demagogues have constantly described the country without one single pro-people or anti-imperialist political party. Indonesia is called “the largest economy of Southeast Asia”, a totally misleading definition, considering that Indonesia has more than three times more people that any other nation in the region. And could it really be called an “economy”, something that produces hardly anything and lives predominately from the unbridled plunder of its natural resources, as well as from the resources of colonized Papua, where Indonesia has been committing horrific and silent genocide?
The local media has continuously quoted all this propaganda and disinformation, quite logically, considering that corrupt business interests own virtually all of it.
After the regime murdered around 40% of teachers in Java alone, the education system fell to the hands of totally ignorant but zealous morons: themselves collaborators with the West. These people were nothing more than cynical and money hungry businessmen and businesswomen, but definitely not educators. Spreading ignorance and stupidity was not only their mission; it was a natural way of expressing themselves, their method of interacting with the world.
After years of the horrid plunder of the resources, of incongruous religious gaga, of censuring of everything deep and creative, and after preventing Indonesian youth from getting real knowledge about the world, the country of Indonesia began eventually resembling what it is not: a nation of 300 million people (the government lies about the numbers, too, as I was told by several leading UN statisticians while I was working on my book) without one single thinker (now that people from the PKI and Sukarno era, like Pramoedya Ananta Toer, passed away), without one single internationally recognizable scientist or a musician or public intellectual…
Dirt everywhere, horrendous immoral social contrasts on every corner… Range Rovers and Gucci boutiques right next to open sewers and children showing clear signs of malnutrition. There are hardly any parks in Indonesia, no waste treatment plants, and hardly any sidewalks or public playgrounds for children. There are no public educational television channels, while public libraries are almost-not existent – a shocking contrast to Malaysia. Water is, of course, privatized.
The nation stopped reading. One bookstore after another is closing down. It only translates a few hundred titles each year, most of them commercial. Translations are of horrendous quality.
Nothing, almost nothing, works. There are constant blackouts, and the roads are uneven and narrow. Even trans-Java “highways” are two-lane, narrow potholed tracks, of a worse quality than some village roads in Thailand or Malaysia. Traffic jams are all over, in the cities and countryside, as even poor people have to rely on private vehicles and infrastructure that has already collapsed many years ago.
Internet and phone signals are so bad that when I was editing my films, I was forced to fly to Singapore in order to upload some larger files.
Old ferries are sinking, airplanes are falling from the sky, and trains keep derailing.
No forests are left intact. The entire nation is logged out, mined out – ruined, screwed!
And the West is dancing on that horrid Indonesian carcass, celebrating! Yes, celebrating! It loves, it adores this “democratic”, “tolerant” nation which is in ruins. Instead of thinking, Indonesia is listening to some repulsive pop, grinning idiotically, producing incomprehensible squeaks and giggles befitting a mental institution, sacrificing itself oh-so-generously to the wellbeing of Western corporations and governments!
And so I came again, for just a few days, to show my feature documentary film at a small, new film club at TIM in Jakarta… the only film club, with 45 seats for an entire nation of 300 million inhabitants. I came to show my film about the 1965 Coup, called “Terlena – Breaking of A Nation”, which I produced some 11 years ago. It was the first feature documentary film ever made about the 1965 “events”.
I watched my own film and suddenly felt devastated, because my old friends had “departed” several years ago, and I missed them… Abdurrahman Wahid, a former President of Indonesia, a progressive Muslim leader and a closet socialist, who was “discreetly” overthrown by the “elites”… Pramoedya Ananta Toer, the greatest Indonesian thinker and paramount Southeast Asian writer…
I looked as their faces on the screen, faces so dear to me, and I thought: “How alive you were! Even when you were old and ill, how strong and determined was your will. How alive was your generation that grew up on the socialist fervor of great President Sukarno, father of the non-aligned movement… how alive you were compared to this cynical, greedy, brainwashed “young generation” of the corporate whores, of covetous nitwits, of the pathetic, emotionless, selfish and empty moral and intellectual degenerates!”
After the screening, predictable questions came from the audience: “what is to be done?” and later: “what do you think about the young generation in Indonesia?”
I thought about some of those young social media damsels, who had come to me in the past, begging to be ‘educated’ and ‘brainwashed back into reality’… They ‘wanted to work for humanity’, they said. I thought about how they were faking and lying, and how they betrayed and ran away, always, at the slightest sign of danger… How they ran back to their fascist clans whenever they were whistled for, how they dove immediately and directly into the rectums of their corrupt and venomous parents and grandparents… I also thought about the students at the University of Indonesia – arrogant, disinterested, banging into their phones and eating shit food during the lectures, even when presented with some tiny bits of essential information.
“Young generation?” I wondered. In Indonesia, they felt like some old nomenclature, even at the age of 15: endless idiotic Barbie dolls on thin legs… Those of the “elites”, I mean… the rest were just slaves, exploited, humiliated and fully conditioned not to ask and not to know. “Young elites” – embarrassing parodies of the movers and shakers from Wall Street. So pathetic! No individuality, dreams, talent, hard work; no revolutionary and rebellious spirit! The same crappy, sugary pop music and Hollywood films, the same Starbucks lattes… While outside, the nation was burning, choking on its own smoke and excrements, collapsing and murdering in some of the most horrendous genocides in the modern history – East Timor before, and Papua now.
Damned collaborators with the Western fascism! Bloody ass-lickers of the colonialists! And nobody thinks about shaving their head as punishment for selling themselves and the country to the Empire! That Indonesian boo-boo, coo-coo, absurd “young” (really, young?) generation!
I spoke. They listened. Then they went home. I think my shouting provided some entertainment. Nothing more. I was not shouting in Quito or Caracas. I was shouting in Jakarta. Most likely, nothing could be revolutionized here anymore.
The next day, I wanted to see a rhino at “Safari Park”, outside the city of Bogor, but police decided to torture people and it blocked, for no apparent reason, the highway exit. They did it for several hours, just to show that it could… This way the thugs were able to sell their junk, and ‘guides’ could take motorists through back roads. Booty was shared with the police, of course. Everything was corrupted: even a motorway could be blocked so police and gangs could make extra cash! I somehow managed to leave the highway, after my lungs began threatening to collapse from pollution.
I tried to make it to Bogor, to those old and famous Botanical Gardens, that were until recently one of the very few public places in Indonesia. But when I arrived, I saw devastation: the gardens were now systematically destroyed by some horrid construction project. Ancient trees have been cut down to give way to yet another revolting sprawl of parking lots. A historic bridge had been torn down and a new one was being built, obviously in order to change a predominately pedestrian area into a driveway. Instead of serenity, there was loud pop junk music, coming from all directions.
Then I was going on yet another stretch of clogged highway… and then I witnessed and smelled a mountain of garbage burning in the middle of Jakarta.
There were some deformed, gangrenous beggars in the middle of the highway and at several major intersections…
In Jakarta, a former bookstore that I used to frequent was now converted into a fruit shop. For dinner, I ate disgusting food at overpriced restaurants, where the waiters were clearly “somewhere else”, unable to even keep their eyes open, or to concentrate on what they were being told.
Several Ferraris were in between all this, and also a few Prada stores… and those enormous, monstrous advertisement billboards promoting cigarettes as something cool and hip.
There was no beauty in sight. No beauty at all. All gone.
While in the traffic jams, I tried to work. But how could I? The Internet was collapsing, and mobile phones hardly functioned. I’d written about it so many times, so why was I surprised?
50 years since the coup. A real anniversary – what many Indonesians are genuinely proud of! Their moment in the limelight! Their betrayal of all great ideals and their submission and surrender to the West.
Again, I wanted to run away. I felt physically sick here: a revolutionary, a rebel, and a philosopher in this land of obedience and intellectual collapse.
So, I ran. From canals clogged with unimaginable filth, garbage… from deformities of children and adults, but with Louis Vuitton boutiques in the background… from sickening betrayals, and from constant lies, from long uninterrupted silences, from the inability to rely on almost anyone, from the absolute and total lack of poetry, and from joylessness, from bleakness, from the absence of love. Yes, above all, from the absence of love.
During the 72 hours that I spent in the place that I consider to be the closest to hell (and I have seen more than 150 countries on this Earth), I suddenly recalled so many things that I tried to bury and forget: from the stench of the mutilated bodies of gang raped women in Ermera, East Timor, to those hundreds of poor animals slaughtered in the Surabaya zoo, so that some corrupt “international” project could go on.
I recalled how, after the tsunami in Aceh, the Indonesian soldiers and police, instead of helping traumatized victims, were blackmailing the volunteers, demanding money and threatening to cut with their knives those precious barrels of drinking water if the bribes were not forthcoming. I remembered bodies decomposing in the pits, because no government worker would lift his finger and operate heavy equipment without being “greased”.
Oh Indonesia, you are a true daughter of turbo-capitalism, of the lowest religious aspirations, of senseless obedience, notorious lack of education and knowledge, and unimaginable brutality and lack of compassion!
I saw so much shit during the 20 years that I tried to document your downfall!
I saw deranged Christian preachers, their sadistic and fanatic eyes popping in ISIL-style zeal, locking up, for years, their adult daughters, simply because they wanted to marry non-Christian men.
I witnessed Christian religious services in Surabaya malls, where totally molded idiots preachers were declaring with absolute conviction: “God loves the rich, and that is why they are rich!” I observed some English-language church services performed by US and Australian intelligence apparatchiks… complete with bizarre and repulsive pop gospels, accompanied by ass wiggling of thrilled matrons and young girls. I saw racist, bigoted extremist Sunni Muslims, paid and conditioned by the Saudi Wahhabis, destroying Shi’a villages in the middle of backward and desperate island of Madura.
I saw a little girl running away from a burning mosque in Ambon, and a Christian boy trying to escape from a gang of Wahhabi youth. They cut him to pieces, at the end, with their machetes…
I saw so many fires and ashes, and so much intolerance, stupidity and hate! I saw what replaced a once great and proud nation governed by a progressive Muslim President who trusted and relied upon the great and democratic Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI).
I saw clearly what capitalism, what imperialism, ignorance and fascist indoctrination can do!
And deep inside I swore: “I will re-edit Terlena! I will re-edit that film of mine, damn it!”
I swore, and it made me feel much better.
Indonesia is the greatest untold story that I know – the story about what imperialism is capable of doing!
Entire islands deforested, robbed: enormous Borneo and Sumatra… Tortured elephants and great apes… Corruption and theft… Filth everywhere, on the surface of the earth, and inside people’s brains.
The collapse of humanism… the collapse of humanity. The persistent ruin of intellectualism, creativity, compassion and tenderness…
I ran, but as I did, I felt those millions and millions of hands trying to hold me, trying to slow me down. “We are alone, we are forgotten” I heard voices. “Stay little bit longer… Write a few more books, write a few more essays, and make films… Do not abandon us!”
I knew I would do what they were asking. I would leave and come back again. For those slaughtered and defenseless creatures, for the ruined rainforest, for the millions of interrupted lives…
I would come back out of spite for those who ruined Indonesia.
I would come back to warn the world.
I would come back, so I could call murderers by their real names, and give collaborators the titles that they deserve.
As I was leaving, I knew I would soon return and expose the full horrors of the Indonesian experiment that has been conducted on the local people by the sadistic Western regime, by its religions and its capitalist dogmas.
I knew that I would expose local collaborators. That is how revolutions begin!
I would give back, years and decades after they passed away, at least some dignity to those Indonesians who lived and fought and were killed. To those Indonesians who knew how to love passionately and desperately, fully and selfishly, each other and their Nation, and who were therefore eternally alive!
I knew one day soon I would return and re-make my film. For “them”! And my film would be, with some luck, damn good!
But as I was leaving, it was all smoke, stench and rubbish.
Indonesia died. Silently.
No more lies! Right now, the Indonesian people have no country. It was taken away from them by Western imperialists, by their own corrupt and treasonous “elites” and by the military. Only after they realize what has been done, they will be able to struggle and build their new motherland.
Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His latest books are: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”.Discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western Terrorism. Point of No Return is his critically acclaimed political novel. Oceania – a book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about Indonesia: “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Press TV. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and the Middle East. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter.
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