Sunday, February 14, 2010



*Tuesday, 09 February 2010*


*-- Comparing Haiti and Aceh – Dealing with disaster*


*--The integration (Of Papua) is `valid and final'*



*Dealing with disaster: Comparing Haiti and Aceh*

The last international disaster on the scale of the January earthquake in Haiti

was the tsunami that devastated coastlines across Asia in 2004. The death toll

in the territory of Aceh in Indonesia was similar to that in the Haitian

capital, Port-au-Prince.

The BBC's International Development Correspondent David Loyn, who reported from

both towns, looks at the differences in the international response.

Within days of the tsunami hitting Aceh, on the northern tip of the island of

Sumatra in Indonesia, an Australian army combat engineering battalion had landed

with a large force of trucks, earth-moving equipment, and water purification


They were the most visible sign of an international response that swiftly

brought ashore huge quantities of food, shelter, and basic sanitation.

A fleet of vessels, including a Greenpeace ship in the area, was commandeered to

move aid to where it was needed across a wide area.

In contrast, the most visible sign of aid in the same timeframe in Haiti was the

sight of US Navy helicopters ferrying ready-to-eat meals and bottled water from

the fleet anchored offshore.

Aid professionals shook their heads at this approach - so good on TV, but so

ineffective at delivering the quantities of relief necessary to help the three

million people believed to have been affected by the Haiti earthquake.

But at least the US forces were doing something.

In the squalid makeshift camps that emerged on the streets and on any open

ground in Port-au-Prince there was no sign of the shelter, sanitation nor packs

of basic essentials like soap and buckets that usually characterise the first

wave of aid donations.

So what had gone wrong? When there was such huge international generosity, both

by governments and individuals, why has it taken so long for effective aid to

reach those who need it?


Part of the answer lay in the security briefings that aid agencies received.

Some isolated scenes of looting and the sound of occasional gunfire reinforced

the view of security advisers that the streets of Port-au-Prince were a war

zone, and it found itself re-categorised into the same bracket of cities that

included Baghdad and Kabul.

That kept many aid workers firmly behind the safety fence at the UN compound.

Another problem came in the sheer scale of the US military deployment.

An aid official from a major and reputable international organisation told me

last week that when he had tried to secure landing rights for a relief flight

from Europe, he was told by the US authorities that the next available landing

slot "was on 9 February".

The airstrip is filled instead with US transport planes bringing in troops and

military equipment.

The problem is that this bottleneck means that the threat of worsening security

could become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If they do not deliver the aid fast, they will need all those troops.

Despite the enormous loss of life, the Haitian response to the earthquake has

been characterised by the patience and resolve of a people who have suffered much.

But patience is not limitless.

Damaging legacy

The most effective response has come from the World Food Programme (WFP), which

has succeeded in raising food distribution from a few thousand a day to hundreds

of thousands.

But because of the enormous need and failures elsewhere in the system they need

to spend far more time negotiating security issues than they otherwise might.

The third major issue in Haiti was in the lack of coordination of aid. One

reason for this was the huge loss of life in the UN system - more than 80 dead,

including the head of mission.

But there was similar dislocation to the staff of aid agencies in Aceh, and

there the system recovered far more quickly, so that a new co-ordination network

could deliver aid across a far wider area than was affected in Haiti.

The biggest difference between the two countries was their starting point.

Indonesia is a rapidly developing nation, while Haiti is the only country in the

western hemisphere on that unenviable UN list of those defined as Least

Developed Countries (LDCs).

Corruption and the legacy of colonial interference have conspired against good


At the best of times, water and power are unreliable, and the streets are filled

with rotting refuse.

So it was hard to expect the efficient disposal of more than 100,000 corpses,

while broken water mains continue to flood streets that were not otherwise

affected by the earthquake.



from The Women and The Generals on Vimeo. For a YouTube-video, which can be viewed on a cellphone, scroll down

a film by Maj Wechselmann


We've made this film about the genocide in Indonesia 1965 by General Suharto

*his military and his gangs, with the aspirations and ambitions that "film*

can make a difference"*

The most remarkable you can say about our film is possibly that the

president of the National Commission of Human Rights, Idfal Kassim, in a

film interview for the first time admits that there WAS genocide: "We admit

that the number of the victims were 500.000 or maybe a million". Killed how?

Idfal Kassims subcomminsioner, Kabul Supriyadhie, classifies the killings as

"extraordinary crimes". He talks about the victims from 1965 who were

decapitated, their heads were given to their widows to carry them home.

The first of October 1965 a little group of leftist officers broke into the

homes of six generals to anticipate a coup from American friendly officers -

the leftist officers stated. The six generals were killed and thrown into

the "Alligator Hole", a well in an area just outside the capital Jakarta. In

his countercoup, general Suharto initiated the killings of one million so

called communists and threw at least 200.000 people into jails and prison

camps, where they were held from 9 up till 16 years without any trial or


TAPOL is the name of all those prisoners who were never tried in court or

convicted, but nevertheless were tortured and withered away in prisons and

camps during their entire youth. In this film you are going to hear the

stories of TAPOLS who spent a long time in prison, mostly school teachers,

former students, former housewives, trade unionists and foremost women from

the women's movement Gerwani.

We have been able to gather archive pictures from the massacres and not at

least are we for the first time able to show clips from the propaganda film

made by Suharto, which was obligatory for all Indonesian school children

every year for more than 20 years.

That film can make a difference has been proved two times in the case of

the violations of human rights committed by the Indonesian army.

1. In November 1991 the young female journalist, Amy Goodman and a TV-crew,

documented Indonesian soldiers massacring several hundreds of civilians at

the Santa Cruz Cemetery in Dili, East Timor. One of the crewmembers was

almost killed by the Indonesian soldiers. The pictures were cabled out

worldwide, contributed to international awareness of the gruesome repression

by the Indonesian army and finally led to the UN-sanctions against Indonesia

2. Recently another film has made an international audience aware of the

Indonesian cruelties: The Balibo-film, produced in Australia about a team of

five Australian journalists who were reporting about the Indonesian invasion

in East Timor to SBS (the Australian television broadcasting system). They

were tortured and murdered by the Indonesian army, their bodies were burned.

Due to the good business-relations between Australia and Indonesia, this

misdeed was blackened, but the fiction film about the fate of the young

journalists has raised a public storm in Australia and after 44 years of

silence the Australian police authorities have been forced to reopen the

murder case on the now liberated East Timor, where witnesses, even

Indonesian officers, have come forward and told about the killing of the

journalists. According to Reuters, this has resulted in a "chilling" of the

diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Australia - Not bad for a fiction


Sun, 02/07/2010

Habel Melkias Suwae, a 58-year-old regent of Jayapura who witnessed Papua's

integration into Indonesia on May 1, 1963, and the controversial organizing of

the Papuan People's Free Choice on May 8, 1969, gave his political views on the


-What is your view on the controversial 1969 Determination of Papuan

People's Free Choice?


It was valid and its results were final. Almost 89 percent of 1,200

village heads representing their own people voted for Papua's integration with


It was organized by the UN and its results have been documented and accepted by

the UN and its member countries worldwide.

But some Papuans have rejected it, saying it was not held by a one-man-one-vote

principle of democracy?/

It was impossible to do so at the time because most people were politically

uneducated and living in remote jungles. And it was also unlikely to postpone it

to a later time when most Papuans had been educated and were aware of their rights.

Papuans have their own bad habits: When they receive money they stay silent but

when the money is finished they begin screaming. When they are in power they

boast that they are part of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia

(NKRI) but after losing power they are outspoken in their criticism of the

government and call for the province's separation.

– Will you fall into the same hole?

I hope I will not do the same. The political style is a choice, we have done it

and all should remain consistent and accept the consequences.

– Can you comment on the increasing rejection of special autonomy for Papua?/

As a matter of policy and decision it cannot satisfy all sides. Many are opposed

because they have gained nothing or very little or they are no longer in power.

But all sides should bear in mind that special autonomy is a national consensus

which Papuans has also chosen and accepted as a solution to unresolved problems

since integration.

In its implementation, special autonomy has its own strengths and weaknesses and

has given a big chance for the people to improve their social welfare. I am

aware of many political barriers in its full implementation but much progress

has been achieved under special autonomy. Papuans have to acknowledge the

progress we have achieved up to now is far better than during the centralistic

government of Soeharto.

– What are the root problems in Papua?/

Backwardness in education and health, poverty and inadequate infrastructures.

Almost 80 percent of the two million indigenous people in Papua are illiterate

and live in remote and isolated areas and they have no access to education and

health services.

The government will continue developing infrastructure, including roads and

bridges to make all villages in mountainous areas accessible. This is important

to bring modernity to the indigenous people and empower them to carry out their

economic development.

Papuan should exercise patience and the economic development will continue

gradually due to the government's limited capacity.

– What do you do in your region?

With the annual budget of around Rp 500 billion, almost 90 percent of 13,500

families in the regency live a normal, humane life.

All the children go to school and we have public health facilities. All

districts are accessible and low-income families have been given training and

capital in farming, fishing and home industries under the people's empowerment

program in the last ten years.

We annually send students to study overseas and now 15 students are taking

post-graduate and doctoral programs in Australia, thanks to the annual special

autonomy fund.

* * *

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