Nov 15, 2018 Last Updated 4:26 AM, Nov 15, 2018

In this issue

Published: Sep 11, 2007


Gerry van Klinken

With less than half of the population, the thousands of islands that lie outside Java make up 93% of the archipelago's land area. The colonial Dutch already knew that things are different in the 'outer islands'. Thinly populated, the area is quite unlike the intensively cultivated and now increasingly industrialised island of Java. In parts, the economy is extractive. All the mines, forests and giant plantations are there. Elsewhere it is impoverished - 'nothing but rocks', as President Habibie said about East Timor. The outer islands retain a frontier atmosphere first created by the Dutch. As in America's Wild West, tycoons and gun-slinging thugs play fast and loose with the natives and the bush.

The June 7 election result tends to confirm this image of the colonial frontier. Golkar got thrashed all around the archipelago, but it retained a lot of votes, and even areas of dominance, in the outer island periphery. The map of provinces where Golkar won a majority - from West Kalimantan all the way to Irian Jaya - makes us think the New Order lingers still out there. The election brought an exhilarating renewal to the heartland of Java, as Laine Berman and John Olle point out in this edition. But in Aceh for example, as Vanessa Johanson tells us in a riveting report, it was a failure.

East Timor is not alone. The vast outer islands region confronts us with colonial violence and exploitation in so many places it should make us think more seriously than the Jakarta-obsessed media have done to date. Roger Moody and Kathy Robinson in this edition of Inside Indonesia take us to the nickel mines of Sulawesi. Andrew Kilvert takes us to Irian Jaya, Geoffrey Gunn to East Timor, and Phillip Winn to the remote and beautiful town of Bandaneira. The people who live there are all hoping the renewal Indonesia is experiencing will touch them too. We hope you enjoy the trip!

Gerry van Klinken (editor@insideindonesia.org) is the current editor of Inside Indonesia.

Inside Indonesia 60: Oct-Dec 1999

Latest Articles

Contesting urban beauty in Jakarta

Nov 15, 2018 - JORGEN DOYLE & HANNAH EKIN

Source/ Doyle & Ekin  Wish images

Walking Jakarta’s northern coastline reveals communities experiencing disruptive and rapid change

Photo essay: Hope in the face of disaster

Nov 02, 2018 - MELANIE FILLER & TIM BARRETTO

Source/ Melanie Filler & Tim Barretto

Palu after the tsunami

Surviving while seeking asylum

Oct 26, 2018 - GEMIMA HARVEY

Hazara asylum seeker Shiringul first fled Afghanistan to Pakistan and then when the danger spread to Pakistan, she was forced to flee again, this time to Indonesia. She said the streets outside of Kalideres immigration detention centre were her best option. Source/ Gemima Harvey

A change in Australia’s asylum policy has denied refugees in Indonesia vital support

Review: The killing season

Oct 01, 2018 - FRANK BEYER

More than 50 years on, mis-truths about the 1965-66 killings and what motivated them prevail in Indonesia. Geoffrey Robinson's and other books and films on the issue, based on archival research...

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