The limitations of Gus Dur's powers in the face of the military's many-headed Hydra are nowhere more apparent than in Indonesia's policy towards East Timor. During his three-hour visit to Dili on February 28, Gus Dur hugged Xanana Gusmão, laid a wreath in honor of the victims of the 1991 Santa Cruz massacre, apologized for the scorched earth campaign of last year, and signed an accord for improving relations between the two countries. Only days later, the Indonesian military sent its East Timorese militia across the border to kill more civilians and burn down more buildings. The militias have made cross-border raids almost every day since early March. Despite public disavowals, both the militias and the military are certainly responsible. Gus Dur has denounced these raids but has been so far powerless to stop them. The military, through its militia Cerberuses, are still holding East Timorese hostage in camps in West Timor, months after insistent demands for their release from Gus Dur, the UN, and dozens of international political figures.
Monday, January 4, 2010
Gus Dur and East Timor
From Gus Dur and the Military Monster by John Roosa in the Spring 2000 Estafeta
Indonesian president Abdurrahman Wahid, left, shakes hands with East Timorese leader "Xanana" Gusmão during their meeting at the presidential office in Jakarta April 28, 2000. At center is Indonesian Foreign Minister Alwi Shihab. (AP Photo/Muchtar Zakaria)
For the West Papua Advocacy Team's farewell to Gus Dur see the West Papua Report for January 2010