Donny Tedjo Blog

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Djago The Rooster Part 3

Sukarno_djago_the_rooster_1 Bury the Parties.
But it is easier to make a revolution than to guide it toward order and prosperity. A month after independence, a Dutch adventurer named Captain Westerling tried to overthrow the government with a mixed force of European mercenaries and native dissidents. The Darul Islam fanatics, who want to set up a theocratic Moslem state by force of arms, took over most of the mountainous area southwest of Bandung in Java; a separatist republic was established in the South Moluccas; the Amboinese, who had long supplied native soldiers to the Dutch, rose in rebellion; the people of Atjeh in Northern Sumatra, who fight everybody, fought the government.

The nation Sukarno precariously governed was precariously split politically. There are four major and nearly equal parties: 1) the Nationalists, created by Sukarno and sustained by a horde of underpaid government bureaucrats; 2) Masjumi, a Moslem party of small traders and urban businessmen with a pronounced Western outlook; 3) the Orthodox Scholars, a village-based and deeply conservative Moslem group dominated by religious teachers; 4) the Communists.

With no party strong enough to rule, there was a succession of coalition Cabinets. Each Cabinet minister was responsible to his individual party and had to run back to headquarters for voting instructions and policy directives. The years went by, governments came and went, but the total result was inaction. In exasperation, Sukarno once cried: "Let's bury the parties!"

The Colonels.

His was not the only voice raised in protest. To the impatient military commanders of the Outer Islands, nothing seemed to come from Djakarta except the sound of falling Cabinets and the noise of futile oratory. These young, vigorously anti-Communist colonels were a new factor in Indonesia's tumbling political confusion. The Outer Islands, and Sumatra in particular, produce nearly 100% of Indonesia's exports, while overpopulated Java has always been a deficit area. The profits earned by their products went to Djakarta and, it seemed to the colonels, never came back. Sukarno believes not in economics, but in people—and Java had most of the people.

In effect, Sukarno spent the Outer Islands' earnings on Java. In early 1955 Colonels Sumual and Warouw in the Celebes began shipping out copra and collecting their own taxes on the trade. Instead of sending the revenue to Djakarta, they used the money for local schools and roads. In Central Sumatra veteran Colonel Ahmad Husein followed their lead, took over the regional administration, soon was exporting rubber to Singapore. Tall, efficient Colonel Simbolon in North Sumatra and scholarly Colonel Barlian in South Sumatra also went into the business of army-managed barter and invested the profits in schools, roads, barracks. The operation was scrupulously honest. When Djakarta challenged Simbolon's operations, he produced bank records to show that he had not diverted a single rupiah to his own use.Basuki_djoko_tarub

Missing Gardner.

All this was too much for Bung Karno. By now he had taken a fourth wife—a young, lissome divorcee named Hartini—without bothering to divorce Fatmawati, the mother of his five children. Sukarno took off for a tour of the world's capitals, shopping for new ideas. The tour became a triumphal procession and a tonic for the dispirited President of a mismanaged nation. He arrived in the U.S. quoting Abraham Lincoln, got a ticker-tape welcome in New York City, saw Hollywood (he was disappointed to miss Ava Gardner, who was off in Spain), made an address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress. He told the Congressmen that "we of Indonesia are in the stage of national turmoil through which America passed some 150 years ago. We ask you to understand," and won hearty applause by dwelling on the many similarities between the American Revolution and that of Indonesia against the Dutch. He charmed the U.S. President and press. But Sukarno was not overly impressed with the U.S. Americans are too tense, he said when he got home ; they work too hard, they obviously lack halus, or spirituality. They have a good production system, but they don't know how to distribute what they make.

Scarcely three months later, Sukarno was in the Soviet Union and delighting his new hosts by implying a close identity the Soviet struggle against capital ism and Indonesia's against colonialism. The Russians spared no effort, furnished his Aeroflot plane with a pretty, blonde stewardess and interpreter named Valentina Reshetnyak. Sukarno imperially arranged for the interpreter to visit him in Djakarta, where she still remains.

But the peak of stage management was achieved by Red China. Hundreds of thousands lined the roads as Sukarno passed; schoolchildren paraded, youth groups cried "Hidup Bung Karno!" Flowers and confetti and drums and songs greeted his every appearance. Chou En-lai personally showed him factories and bridges. After Russia, Sukarno had observed dubiously: "One can see the price of their achievement in the faces of their people." But here were Communists who smiled.

Three-Legged Horse.

Sukarno came back to Djakarta full of wonder. "I've seen the answer in China," he told intimates. "Now we must do something. Every country in the world seems to make progress but Indonesia." His new political idea: "guided democracy." It was based, he said, on the ancient village idea of gotong-royong, mutual help, a sort of village meeting where all the elders discuss and discuss a proposition until they are in unanimous agreement. There was no vote, because votes produce majorities and minorities, and such division of the people leads to unhappiness and opposition. Under Sukarno's new conception, the elected Parliament would be in tandem with a National Council, selected by the President, and containing representatives of the various groups in the nation: youth, business, labor, women, the arts and professions.

When Sukarno hand-picked its 45 members, the National Council proved to have four known Communists and twelve or 14 other left-wingers. It is Sukarno's position that since the Reds win votes, they should a proportionate place in the government. "I don't want to ride a three-legged horse. We can't ignore the voices of 6,000,000 people!" he cried. Mohammed Hatta answered: "Then keep them in the opposition. Oil and water don't mix." As for a premier and cabinet, Sukarno got around the nuisance of conferring with political parties by appointing an earnest engineer named Djuanda as Premier without consulting Parliament.

"Guided democracy" was too much for Dr. Hatta. He resigned as Vice President of the nation and the crisis deepened. In the Outer Islands, the colonels were stirring restlessly. Colonels Husein and Sim-bolon in Sumatra took over the civil administration of their regions. In the Celebes, Lieut. Colonel Sumual followed suit.

Typically, Sukarno reacted to this crisis by creating a diversion. Loudly, he warned that unless the United Nations forced the Dutch to cede West Irian (West

New Guinea) to Indonesia, events would happen that "would startle the world!" When the U.N. rejected even a mild pro-Indonesian resolution, Sukarno ordered that all Dutch assets — ships, banks, plantations — be seized and all Dutch nation als expelled.

Sukarno set up a "West Irian Liberation Committee," which included Cabinet members. It proceeded to issue its own orders, which frequently contradicted the government's. Masjumi leaders tried futilely to remonstrate with the President. But Sukarno merely exhorted Indonesians to prepare for hard times: "We must dare! We must start from the bottom! In the next few years we may be short of clothing!" No criticism would have mattered so long as Sukarno felt secure in the hearts of his people. But when someone hurled several hand grenades at him he was visibly shaken. He took off on a 41 -day "vacation" tour of Africa and Asia, while rebellion festered behind him.