back to front: living dangerously


MORE COMMUNISTS were killed in Indonesia in 1965 than anywhere else at any other time in history outside of the Soviet Union in World War Two. More than half-a-million men and women (plus uncounted children) were slaughtered by the friend of north American and British governments, General Suharto.

This was done supposedly to prevent the spread of terrorism, to end anarchy and to bring stability to the fifth most populous country in the world, which, in the 1960s, was showing dangerous signs of not any longer being the plaything of western capitalism – showing signs of being independent, in other words.

Now we’ve seen the greatest single slaughter anywhere in Indonesia proper (not East Timor, in other words) since Britain’s friend Suharto tortured and murdered those who would have led their country away from anarchy and onto the road of independence. In Kuta on 12 October a massacre of the young took away two hundred lives, some of those lives not yet started in earnest.

The relatives of the dead are entitled to ask, "What happened to the war on terror?" Six months after al-Qa’ida were "routed" from their "only safe haven" in Afghanistan they’ve allegedly popped up again thousands of miles away. Were all those thousands of Afghan deaths for nothing?

Or for that matter those thousands killed in New York, Washington and over the skies of Pennslyvania?

Those relatives might conclude that perhaps there hasn’t been a war on terror. That perhaps Bush and Blair don’t want to destroy terror. That really they want to destroy nation states which are likely to stray from the course laid down by the World Trade Organisation; nation states which want to be independent, in other words. That it is more concerned with Saddam than with Osama. That the first of these two Arabs wants his country to be independent of others, while the second wants others to be dependent upon him.

They might conclude that that, after all, is one possible definition of a terrorist: someone who wants others to be dependent on him. Someone who wants others to be spiritually dependent, economically dependent, militarily dependent. Because they know that a dependent person can be a frightened person; a dependent country can be frightened, terrorised.

They might then wonder who else in the world fits that description of a terrorist. They might also realise that in fact it was the direct forerunners of Bush and Blair who actually created Osama bin Laden to stamp out Soviet influence in Afghanistan.

Blair and Bush cry crocodile tears. The road to Kuta began around Jakarta in 1965 with the sound of machine guns mowing down lines of Communists with their hands tied behind their backs. It has reached paradise, Bali, with hundreds of youngsters on holiday from work being ripped apart.

Where will that road end? And where will it take us in the meantime?