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Bali's history and unlawful Indonesian rule - Jakarta, the corrupt state of hate, jealousy and greed

For me now anyone who describes themselves as Indonesian is someone at best to be avoided, at worst despised. I do not mean this in the Q: "Where are you from / what is your nationality?" A: "Indonesia(n)" context; I mean it from the point of cultural identity. I have no issue with people who would say "Balinese", "Javanese", "Sumatran", etc. and could not as I have friends from each of these islands, but with rather with people who consider their culture to be Indonesian. This is because for me Indonesia absolutely is an unlawful, even illegal state built on hate and jealousy, riddled with corruption from the top (president) down. Indonesia routinely commits institutional civil and rights abuse including unwarranted cold blooded murder, uses its armed forces solely to suppress the people (which is why historically Indonesia's armed forces are militarily inept) while the wealth divide is one of the greatest in the world (the tiny minority of rich are stinking rich while the masses are impoverished). If Indonesian is a worthy culture, then I am the King of Bali !

As Indonesian human rights abuse against me continued I became increasingly aware of Bali's history and how much the Balinese suffer at the hands of their sworn enemy, the Javanese.

From the 13th to 16th Century invading Islamists and converts to Islam drove the aristocracy, priests, artists and artisans of the formerly dominant "Majapahit" empire who were unwilling to be Islamised to eastern Java and then onto Bali. Bali thereby became the cultural capital of the region and the regional Hindu stronghold, much to the anger of the now Muslim Javanese who have since that time despised the Balinese. The Netherlands established the Dutch East Indies from the beginning of the 17th Century and in 1619 captured Yacatra renaming it Batavia. By 1750 the Dutch controlled all the Indies except for Bali and Lombok; it let Bali be because the island did not have a suitable port and the Balinese rulers willingly sold many of their subjects as slaves prized for their fighting ability. In fact, Bali has a high Chinese (4%) population because they were involved in the slave trade which explains much of the historical animosity towards them. Dutch control of the Indies was interrupted from 1811 to 1816 with the British administering Dutch possessions during the French occupation of Holland under Napoleon. Although the British saw Dutch colonial rule return, the Dutch were subsequently worried by increased trade between the Balinese and England, so tried to invade and control Bali in 1846. Because of the ferocity and ability of the Balinese fighters, the Dutch only managed to control the North of Bali and only after heavy losses and by 1849.

The Balinese king remained in power but had to recognize Dutch sovereignty and promise not to enter into agreements with any other Europeans. The Dutch then conquered Lombok in 1894 which was ruled by the Karangasem kingdom in East Bali, so it too fell to Dutch rule. The Balinese kings of Gianyar and Bangli sought protection against their rivals from and recognized Dutch rule over their kingdoms in 1900, leaving only Badung, Tabanan and Klungkung outside Dutch rule. Not content with that the Dutch engineered a false Chinese shipwreck off Sanur which they knew the Balinese under local law but against Dutch law would plunder, which the Dutch then used as an excuse to send five warships whose artillery fired for days on Badung (Denpasar). Finally 3,000 well armed Dutch troops marched into the capital on 20 September 1906 and were met by the entire Royal family and their entourage who had just burned down their own palaces to prevent them falling into Dutch hands. The mass royal party ceremonially dressed with only ceremonial "kris" (daggers) then killed their own king at his own request and began to throw their jewels at the Dutch. In an orgy of death, the Balinese royals allowed themselves to be killed by the Dutch and by suicide themselves in what was called a "Puputan" (ending of an empire). The suicide was reported as so complete that it is believed none of Bali's royal family survived and is part of the reason no-one could claim Bali back as a kingdom at the end of Dutch rule.

The next significant event in Balinese history and the reason it is now part of Indonesia came with World War 2.

“Indonesia” (then parts of Java and Sumatra known as the Jokya Republic) was an Axis power, aligned to Japan during WW2. While many other islands within the Dutch East Indies actively fought the Japanese (e.g. The Moluccas Islanders) and / or denied them assistance (e.g. Papuans) which lead to many Japanese perishing (it is believed the Japanese would have been able to invade Australia had it not been for this), the leaders of the “Jokya Republic” Mohamad Hatta and Sukarno sided with the imperial invaders and thus became fellow war criminals. During the war many Christians which made up the majority of many islands outside Java / Sumatra suffered at the hands of the Japanese who were assisted by the Muslim minorities under the instruction of Sukarno. Not that the Muslim minority were rewarded for their treachery as many of their daughters, sisters and wives were forced alongside their neighbours of other religious beliefs into brothels set up by the Japanese to service their military. As the tide turned in WW2, islands like Papua played an important role as a military base for the western forces who, unlike the Japanese, received every help from the native people. As a point of reference, Sukarno’s influence only extended across limited parts of Java and Sumatra at the time, although he repeatedly claimed control of all of the former Dutch East Indies including West Papua (now called Irian Jaya under Indonesian occupation) despite the fact Papua had no historical or cultural links with any of what is now Indonesia.

After WW2 the enemy was rewarded and the west's friends and allies betrayed.

In the mid to late 1940’s the Netherlands / Holland tried to reassert its colonial claim to the Dutch East Indies and was actually supported for a brief while by the British who were sent to the region to accept the surrender of and repatriate the Japanese soldiers still there. Sukarno’s small guerilla army was heavily defeated and forced into jungle hideouts after it dared attack the British military. However the USA of which there is considerable evidence knew (solely so) about the vast mineral wealth of places like Papua, decided they did not like the idea of Holland getting its hands on the area again. So the USA and of course with it their puppets the British and in turn their puppets the Australians got together to deny Holland the Dutch East Indies back. The USA threatened to block essential post-war reconstruction payments to the Netherlands and the Australians denied Dutch ships access to their ports.

This despite the fact Holland was in some cases trying to do the decent thing and actually complying with International law by assisting its former colonies achieve independence by installing the government agencies necessary, such as the case of West Papua. In fact Australia thwarted their former ally's aspirations by arresting members of West Papua's new independent government at one stage to prevent them from securing international recognition of their independence claims. Legally West Papua achieved independence before it was robbed of this by the USA, Britain and Australia as the US railroaded the UN into recognizing Jakarta’s claim to their lands, despite the fact Papuans are of totally different decent and culture. Before that infamous act, the then US controlled UN helped “create” and recognized two states; Eastern Indonesia AKA The Great East (Dutch: de Grote Oost) and finally (after the “Denpasar Conference” in Bali on 24th December 1946) AKA “Negara Indonesia Timor” (a federation), plus the infamous Jokya Republic, now called the “Republik Indonesia”.

With UN recognition and Dutch capitulation to the will of the USA came two unfortunate side effects, the arming of the Republik Indonesia with the weapons the Dutch had to surrender to Suharto’s “army” and with it provided his ability to take control of all of Java, all of Sumatra (hence you may now understand the origins of Aceh’s fight for Independence) and much of Borneo under the flag of his new found UN legitimacy. Meanwhile the rest of what is now called “Indonesia” including Bali but excluding West Papua, the "Negara Indonesia Timor" was going about setting up its new federation of states with much better intent. All member states of the “NIT” were given the constitutional right to pull out of the Federation and become an independent state if they chose to.

Partly because of US and Republik Indonesia (Sukarno) pressure, partly because of the idea of forming a mutually beneficial federation between Negara Indonesia Timor and the Republik Indonesia and partly to "simplify" the passing of Dutch colonial rule to a United States of Indonesia, the infamous “Round-Table Conference” at The Hague was convened in 1949 which saw the creation of a federation of Indonesian states (those within Negara Indonesia Timor and the Republik Indonesia). During that conference the rights of states within Negara Indonesia Timor, importantly the right to leave the Federation / Republic and become a separate Independent state were guaranteed / enshrined. Unfortunately though an important term was introduced into the constitution of this new Indonesian federation, the prohibition of any individual state having its own army in that only a Federal army could exist. On the 27th December 1949 sovereignty was handed over by the Queen of The Netherlands personally to Mohamad Hatta, while Sukarno entered Jakarta as President of the United States of Indonesia, a federation not a republic.

While the Round Table Conference had given member states hope and optimism for the future, it had given Sukarno the keys to totalitarian rule, many believe with the knowledge and support of the USA, Britain and Australia. You see, Sukarno’s especially nasty rag-tag Jokya Republic army was now very well equipped and could now be made into the Indonesian Federal Army to take control of not just Java and Sumatra, but also of all what he called “Indonesia”. When Sukarno started trying to impose his will over the entire archipelago one of Negara Indonesia Timor Federation managed to legally declare independence, The Republic Of The South Moluccas, what Indonesia calls "Ambon Province". Despite the presence of UN monitors agreeing the South Moluccas had declared independence and were being threatened with invasion by Sukarno's criminal army, the world stood by and watched Jakarta systematically rape and rob these islands; although to the islanders' credit, they still fight a guerilla war against Jakarta to this day.

With Jakarta's invasion of The South Moluccas with the apparent de facto support of the US, Britain and Australia who were all to gain enormously from the mineral wealth of Negara Indonesia Timor and West Papua, the other islanders including Bali succumbed to Jakarta. Without a royal family, after a fairly recent colonization by the Dutch, the once militarily revered people of Bali who clearly had no will to fight finally became victims of Indonesian Islamism. Although Indonesia presents itself as a culturally and religiously tolerant state, those are just more PR lies for the world stage. Literally read, the Indonesian constitution allows only one religion (Islam) but tolerates 4 others (Protestants, Catholics, Hindus and Buddhists). Although it is a crime for any other religion to indoctrinate Muslim children in Indonesia, all schools in the RI subject their pupils to "An Introduction to Islam". Opposition leaders are murdered or interned, Javanese and Sumatran Muslims are settled in Christian and other provinces to try and tip the balance of voting power, although Indonesian elections are rigged anyway. Anything non-Islamic is being slowly suffocated in the Indonesian occupied territories and the English speaking west just stand by and reap the major corporation exclusive economic benefits of receiving Jakarta's thanks.

Sukarno himself did not personally win in the end though because he angered the USA. It seems clear that promises were made by Jakarta to Washington DC and London regarding licenses for mineral exploitation but not kept. Sukarno then made the mistake of threatening to make Indonesia a communist state. It is well documented that the USA and Britain colluded with the Indonesian military to bring down Sukarno; the British with their local intelligence providing the heir apparent Suharto with a list of socialist and communist leaders who they wanted killed and who were. Suharto came to power, his government granted mineral licenses to the American, British and Australians, bought weapons used against their own civilians from the USA and Britain, turned Bali into a commercial holiday center in partnership with American and British hotel groups, established a military connected elite and everyone except the everyday Balinese and other Indonesians became very, very wealthy, thank you very much. As a footnote, although Suharto is alleged to be a mass murderer and corrupt thief, he did at least control the extreme Islamists and keep tight control on corruption.

Suharto's "reign" over Bali was tainted red with Balinese blood. Estimates range from 80,000 people (about 5% of the population) to 200,000 Balinese were murdered by either the Indonesian armed forces (TNI) or Golkar supported mafia "Laksar Indonesia". One Indonesian general is quoted as saying "‘In Java, we had to egg them (the soldiers) on to kill Communists; in Bali we had to restrain them"; clearly showing the age old hatred through jealousy of the Javanese against Bali. Under Suharto where whole Balinese villages got in the way of "progress", they were all (men, women and children) hacked to death with knives and machetes. Although the Indonesian state machine preaches hate against the Dutch colonists to this day in classrooms and media, brain washing the Indonesian population into believing their greatest foes were the Dutch and are today the west, the statistics show a whole different story. The greatest enemy of the Indonesian / Balinese people in terms of human rights abuse are the Indonesian Government followed by the Imperial Japanese invaders who Sukarno worked with yet never stood trial for.

After Suharto was forced out of office during the Asian economic crisis (although many say not out of power) in 1999, there was a brief period when freedoms seemed to be flourishing in Indonesia. However that has all ended now and freedom of speech and freedom of the press have both been strictly curtailed, while corruption has actually increased and both civil and human rights abuse has gone on unabated. Sukarno's eldest daughter Megawati Sukarnoputri eventually became president and was reckoned to be one of the most corrupt, most dishonest, most cruel (Aceh and Timor abuses) ever. Many believe her replacement President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono secured victory in a highly questionable election after promising he would pardon Suharto of all corruption charges, which he did. While pandering to the PR needs of international diplomacy, civil liberties have clearly gotten much worse still under President Yudhoyono.

If you ever wonder where the once proud and revered Balinese fighters went, they had the stuffing knocked out of them over the last 100 years and with suicide legitimatized by their once cherished royal family the Balinese now take their own lives in frightening numbers rather than fight. Suicide rates in Bali are the highest throughout Indonesia and probably Asia / the world. The problem is not so much poverty through the collapse of the tourism industry, but pride. It is a sad statement that the Balinese perhaps show they want independence from the hate and corruption of Jakarta not by fighting for it as they once did, but simply following their own royal family's footsteps. Had the Balinese Royal Court not decided upon Puputan, it seems perfectly clear Bali would now be a whole different island in many different ways.

I believe it is very ironic that the Balinese would have been so much better off under Dutch rule; less murders, less theft and a much brighter future than they have now. Of course if Bali had never been colonized by the Dutch, Sukarno could not have claimed Bali in the first place as he claimed all former Dutch territories not specific islands. So perhaps even more ironic is the fact the Dutch only invaded because the British were showing a keen interest. That is my country, Great Britain unwittingly caused the loss of independent Balinese liberty and then after WW2 in league with the USA shamefully made sure they were unlikely to ever get it back. I can only apologize to the Balinese and do what I am able to restore what they had and deserve.

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© Copyright 2006. Mark Austin / Nasty Bali Org. All Rights Reserved.