Jul 21, 2018 Last Updated 2:43 AM, Jul 19, 2018

In this issue

Published: Jul 30, 2007


Gerry van Klinken

As the annual supreme legislative body (MPR) got underway in Jakarta early November, costing US$1.5 million, 8,000 informal workers, garbage collectors and transport drivers were evicted from their tiny shacks in a dozen locations across Jakarta. In the dark and the rain, their dwellings were burnt the ground. The following week the inter-governmental Consultative Group on Indonesia approved US$3.1 billion in new loans for Indonesia, bringing the public debt burden to a total US$74.2 billion. (Of this US$8.7 billion had to be repaid between September and December alone).

If within Indonesia the poor seemed hardly to matter, outside it the terrorist attack of 11 September gave narrow minds the excuse to narrow them more (as reflected in some of our readers' letters...). In Australia, 11 September strengthened an anti-refugee mood that eventually came to dominate the federal election. In America, it boosted conservative agendas that prioritised military strength over justice for the poor.

Yet the most basic fact about Indonesia is not whether it is harbouring terrorists, or Afghan refugees. It is - still! - that it is a very poor country. We dedicate this edition of Inside Indonesia to the poor, and to those enquiring minds (also found among our readers' letters) who want to learn about them.

Four years after the economic crisis hit, its harmful impact is still felt in millions of homes around Indonesia. Though poverty levels are notoriously difficult to determine, several estimates predict Indonesia will not recover to pre-crisis levels till 2005. The government, meanwhile, is burdened with a debt to rich creditors so mountainous it can simply never be repaid.

Until the world has solved these basic problems, that is where we should begin.

Gerry van Klinken is the editor of Inside Indonesia.

Inside Indonesia 69: Jan - Mar 2002

Latest Articles

Obituary: The Danarto I knew

Jul 19, 2018 - SENO GUMIRA AJIDARMA

Review: A historical novel?

Jul 17, 2018 - GIORA ELIRAZ

Islam’s limited presence in Kurniawan’s novel Beauty is a Wound seems surprising given his cultural roots

Middle-path Islam

Jun 29, 2018 - MARK WOODWARD

An As’adiyah pesantren alumni group from Makassar, South Sulawesi: Mark Woodward

The vibrant force of As’adiyah is countering Islamic extremism and safeguarding ethnic and cultural identity

Review: Bicultural leader Siauw Giok Tjhan

Jun 18, 2018 - SASKIA E WIERINGA

Remembering the gang rapes of May 1998

Jun 07, 2018 - ANDY FULLER

The stories of Seno Gumira Ajidarma have helped to counter the denial of a national trauma

Subscribe to Inside Indonesia

Receive Inside Indonesia's latest articles and quarterly editions in your inbox.

 


Lontar Modern Indonesia

Lontar-Logo-Ok

 

A selection of stories from the Indonesian classics and modern writers, periodically published free for Inside Indonesia readers, courtesy of Lontar