Being an engineer and computer journalist, politics for me seems like little more than a legal way to extort money out of a population and waste it on undemocratic policies, overpaid bureaucrats, failed infrastructure projects, and false advertising. But the events of last week have forced me to chime in on the phenomenon.
It never ceases to amaze me how vigilant the Indonesian population is towards Australia. Witness the hundreds of protesters outside the Australian embassy in Jakarta lat week with placards shouting “go to hell Australia”, Australia “crossed out”, and burning of pieces of paper with Australia inscribed on them.
This outburst is the result of NSW Police entering the Sydney hotel room of Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso and attempting to coerce him into attending an inquest into the Balibo Five. Yeah, sure, dumb move I say, but hardly worth national condemnation. Read more about it here.
What’s more, the whole saga pales into insignificance compared with the murder of five foreign journalists (mostly likely by Indonesian, or Indonesian-backed, armed forces) and the support Australia gives Indonesia in aid and other humanitarian programs.
As recent history indicates, Australia proactively supports Indonesia in a number of ways:
– An ongoing foreign aid program to the tune of over $450 million (that’s a lot of aboriginal housing and education programs me thinks).
– Immediate and concerted aid effort after the tragic tsunami disaster in 2004 involving our already stretched military.
– A $1 billion “partnership” for reconstruction and development after the tsunami.
– Acceptance of Indonesian immigrants and foreign students.
– Many Australian companies operate in Indonesia thus helping to advance its economy.
– The island of Bali was for so long a popular toursit town with Australians before the bombings scared most sane people, and their tourist dollars, away.
Let’s not forget the Jakarta embassy bombing for good measure.
So where does all this hate come from? I say “all this” because a mob of a few hundred people expressing hatred towards Australia over a diplomatic hiccup (no, not five murders) indicates this sentiment is prolific throughout the population. These “students” should also be educated enough to see both sides of the equation. What are they, students of hate?
I’m sure most Australians would be shocked if they knew how much we help (hence “undemocratic policies” above) Indonesia and how much some people in the country seem to hate us in return. How could anyone say with a straight face all our good will and charity would ever be reciprocated? I sincerely doubt it. Out of interest, how much foreign aid and humanitarian support does Indonesia give other countires, excluding Australia?
Phew… that’s way too much political thinking for one day.