Donny Tedjo Blog

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Djago The Rooster Part 4

Sukarno_djago_the_rooster Geisha Delights.

Police and pemuda (youth action groups) took over the streets of Djakarta. Sections of the city were cordoned off and a house-to-house search made for dissidents. Mohammed Natsir, the titular head of the Masjumi Party, and Sjafruddin Prawira-negara, ex-governor of the Bank of Indonesia, found themselves harassed by threatening phone calls at all hours of the day and night; armed hoodlums tramped through their houses and the police ignored their complaints. In fear of their lives, they fled Djakarta for the clearer air of Padang. Colonel Sumual flew in to Padang from the Celebes and Colonel Barlian from South Sumatra. Dagger-bearded Colonel Zulkifli Lubis, onetime deputy chief of staff and probably the shrewdest of the Padang rebels, appeared also, although the police were searching for him in Djakarta as a prime suspect in the attempted assassination. Snapped Lubis: "I didn't do it. If I had planned it, .it would not have failed." An ultimatum was dispatched to hand-wringing Premier Djuanda in the capital: unless a new anti-Communist Cabinet was formed under Hatta or the Sultan of Djogjakarta, the rebels would establish a counter-government of their own. Two of the colonels flew to Japan to deliver the ultimatum personally to Sukarno, who was busy renewing an old acquaintance with a 29-year-old geisha whom he had known under the Japanese occupation of Indonesia. Said Sukarno: "How can you behave this way? Aren't we old friends?"

Six days after Sukarno's return to Djakarta, the rebels got Sukarno's answer—bombings of their communications by government planes, blockade of their coasts by government warships. The men who had made the revolution together were at war.

Sudjojono_persiapan_geriljaMixed Feelings.

On paper, the rebels seem doomed. Sukarno has a tiny navy and a small air force (twelve bombers, 20 fighters); the rebels have neither. Sukarno can muster some 85 battalions of troops, the rebels scarcely 14. But the rebels a re prepared to fight if attacked, and the army and navy have shown little enthusiasm for turning their guns on brother Indonesians. Military commanders in such outlying spots as Borneo, Timor, Flores, Sumbawa, the Moluccas hastened to promise loyalty to Djakarta but with the proviso that, unfortunately, they had no forces to spare for an invasion of the rebel areas. The only dependable government arm is the air force of General Sukarni Suridarma, who has Communist sympathies and a tall, good-looking Eurasian (and Communist) wife.

The rebels must avoid being strangled economically. Their agents in Singapore are dickering for patrol boats to help break the naval blockade of rebel ports, and have reportedly purchased six transport planes that can be used either as courier planes or bombers. In Padang, machine-gun posts are protected by sandbag revetments, and Sumatran youth are being drilled in guerrilla tactics. In the Celebes, Colonel Sumual has recaptured Gorontalo from the government forces that seized the city and boasts that he can raise 30,000 men against a government invasion.

What the rebels need most is allies, and here they are experiencing the most difficulty. Natsir lingers in Padang still uncommitted, but still the probable candidate for President, if the rebels are forced to disavow Sukarno. A key man is Colonel Barlian, commander of South Sumatra. His area includes the rich Stanvac and Shell oilfields and refineries at Palembang, which supply most of Djakarta's gasoline. Padang's Colonel Husein is his closest friend, and he is with the rebels in spirit but, so far, hesitates to disown Djakarta. Possible reasons: his region is heavily settled by migrant Javanese who in recent municipal elections gave one-third of their votes to the Communists; one of his four battalions is made up of Javanese troops. To underline his neutrality he last week had his officers and men swear allegiance only to him.

Bomb in August.

At week's end Sukarno seemed to be treating his latest dilemma as airily as those of the past. He chucked schoolgirls under the chin, pursed his lips over the prophecies of his latest favorite soothsayer ("A great bomb will drop in August! There will be trouble everywhere"). His wife, Hartini, gave birth to a son at the presidential summer palace 35 miles south of Djakarta, making Sukarno a father for the seventh time. Because his own Nationalist Party was rapidly losing touch with the masses, Sukarno has leaned increasingly on the Communists. He admires their dynamic ability to organize monster demonstrations with all of the theatrical effects—banners, chanted slogans, parades, fiery speeches—which have always been his weakness. But the Communists frighten him too. Says an intimate: "If they staged rival rallies in, say, Surabaja, I am convinced the Communists would outdraw Sukarno. This would kill him. He knows the Commies can outdraw him, and so he has to stay with them."

The police in Djakarta rounded up Sumatrans thought to be sympathetic to the rebels, threatened prosecution of anyone caught listening to rebel broadcasts. Dr. Bahder-Djohan, president of the University of Indonesia and a Sumatran, asked to be relieved of active duty in protest at the bombing of his homeland. Other Sumatrans on the faculty and in civil service were threatening a walkout that would further cripple the government, since the vigorous, active Sumatrans make up a disproportionately large percentage in the nation's intellectual fields. With the disruption of trade consequent on the seizure of Dutch property, the price of rice had risen precipitously, and with it. criticism of Bung Karno. Muttered a Djakarta housewife: "We starve, and he spends our money on women. His women will kill us all."

Dying Corpse.

With a display of kasar, rebel Premier Sjafruddin called Bung Karno a coward "who strutted and wore medals but had never fought a war, a man who was so frightened that he wouldn't even go to the bathroom without a bodyguard." The rebels were also disappointed in the inactivity of Mohammed Hatta (who in the midst of last week's maneuvering was discovered quietly lecturing on Islamic history at the University of Indonesia). "Hatta is the undertaker," said Sjafruddin bitterly. "He'll sit quietly while the corpse dies, then conduct a post-mortem."

But even at this late date the rebels would probably consent to keep Bung Karno if he subsided into a constitutional President. So would the U.S., though in a statement two weeks ago Secretary of State John Foster Dulles had hinted that Washington would be more pleased with a more constitutional government in Indonesia. Sukarno is still Mr. Revolution to Indonesians, and his displacement would mean a lot of trouble in the villages—where 80% of Indonesians still live. For the foreseeable future, the shape and future of Indonesia is in his hands.

*Indonesians take a detached view of first names, middle names and surnames—adopting or discarding them on whim..