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Can foreigners hope for Bali to ever be independent of Jakarta?

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Could it ever happen? Balinese Independence Movements

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Balinese Independence Movements / Referendums


There have been no pronounced or public calls by the Balinese for a referendum on independence from Jakarta, although Indonesian presidents have eroded the autonomy and local decision making once granted to Bali which has not gone down too well with the Governor of Bali and other dignitaries. Also proposed legislation such as the inappropriately named “Anti-Pornography” legislation which actually de facto afflicts non-Muslims with many “attributes” of hard line Islamic Sharia law (dress codes which would prohibit western garments including bathing suits and Balinese traditional dress, plus outlaw kissing in public and bathing in rivers as many Balinese do) and which is wholly unconstitutional may change Balinese attitudes (see report: Indonesian Sharia Law).

Balinese independence may well become an issue as the Indonesian Constitution laid down by President Sukarno in 1949 which mandates a secular state involving “Pancasila” (monotheism, humanitarianism, national unity, representative democracy by consensus, and social justice) seems to be at risk with more recent presidents such as Yudhoyono trying to have Pancasila “discussed” by the government, which has closed doors of course. It seems clear the Islamic militants are not just the only problem in and for the other religions and cultures of Indonesia, and for that matter the region, as such acts seemingly show Jakarta has designs on instilling an Islamic state which they control and can derive financial benefit from, perhaps to the same model supported by terrorist group JI, for the whole of SE Asia.

Unfortunately for independence movements but fortunately for Indonesia’s neighbours, Jakarta has one of the most ineffective armed forces in the world militarily speaking. Although Indonesia has a substantial army with some 280,000 personnel, it is recognized by experts (including the US State Department and The National Defence University’s Institute for National Strategic Studies) as being there majoritively to suppress internal conflicts and to play an active part in the nation’s political and social affairs! That’s right; Indonesia’s armed forces exist to keep their own people under control and to help their government fulfill its “duties”! In fact, most Indonesian politicians actually have a “military” background. But as for any military threat to their neighbours, it is reckoned tiny Singapore could take on Indonesia and win. This leaves frustrated Indonesian militants, both those in and outside government, with their over-optimistic goals for an Indonesian based Islamic state covering Burma to the Philippines to instead wage their “war” through terrorism and inflict nasty inhumane laws enforced by military control over their own civilians. So Indonesians including the Balinese do not enjoy the civil liberties and freedoms (freedom of speech) most people associate with democracies; although Bali BS believes it can show Indonesia is not a true / fair democracy (see information page: Indonesian Elections).

Although independence is Bali’s legal right by UN charter governing self-determination, it is apparent Jakarta would never peacefully allow so much as discussion, let alone a referendum or actual separation. Given Indonesia’s armed forces are there primarily to exert control over the population, any hope for Balinese independence is slim. Anyway, in reality Balinese independence is not a solution to the Indonesian problem in itself, there is also the matter of the endemic corruption within Bali. Although independence would get rid of the ugly specter of Javanese based Islamic militancy and the “Suhartoites” putting Bali’s constitutional, economic and cultural rights at risk, the people in power in Bali are pro-Indonesian and therefore are also very corrupt. Bali would need more than independence from Jakarta to have a bright decent future; it would also need to rid itself of the people and institutions, including all of the police and judiciary who currently afflict and / or suppress the Balinese people. Certainly if this were possible, for Bali to rid itself of the risk of cultural / human rights annihilation, the Indonesian pariah state and also the corrupt parasites which infest the island courtesy of Jakarta, Balinese independence would no doubt be a very good thing indeed for everyone except the corrupt Javanese wealthy families.

We even wonder if Indonesia’s claim to control over any territories (including Bali) outside Java and Sumatra is 100% legal. It seems it was the UN in its post WW2 rush to decide what belonged to whom which decided the fate of islands like Bali. Indonesian leader Sukarno, who was an axis war criminal in many people’s eyes (he sided with the Japanese) and should have stood trial, did not control anything outside Java and Sumatra, and not all of these two islands either when the UN awarded the former west’s enemy all of the former Dutch East Indies. Of course the UN at that stage was very much influenced by the USA, who was firmly against the Europeans resuming their colonies. And of course the UN in hindsight has made some other very bad US inclined decisions, such as awarding the best (strategic) parts of Palestine to the Israelis; many say “Thank God the USA no longer proxy runs the UN”. Perhaps one of the reasons the US was apparently so keen to help a former enemy had something to do with phobias about keeping communism at bay and also the huge mineral wealth of Indonesia and Irian Jaya (see page: West Papua – you should be shocked and disgusted). After all, Sukarno only claimed the whole of Indonesia (and elsewhere) on the basis it was a Dutch colony, not that there were true cultural or historical ties, and his army walked in and held a physical presence on the other islands only after the UN sanctified Sukarno’s territorial aspirations.

In fact, before the Dutch came Bali was very separate to Java and the rest of what is now Indonesia. So surely Bali should have been restored as an independent state in its own right by the UN and then acceded to Jakarta / Sukarno in order for the Indonesian state to have any legitimacy? As the UN presumably made decisions on behalf of others they were not legally and / or morally entitled to do, surely the Balinese should now be required to hold a free and fair referendum to show whether they want to be a part of Indonesia or to be a separate island state as they were before the Dutch and Americans / UN had their way? And perhaps the USA should answer to questions as to why it apparently supported, many would say railroaded Jakarta’s control over territory it clearly had no ethnic or legitimate claim to.

Perhaps the Balinese are too meek and suppressed to seek independence. Maybe people with free speech, compassion and love of liberty should ask the UN to look back at what happened, what it did, undo any damage and make sure Bali is governed by the correct legal authority. After all, imagine Bali without corruption and widespread Javanese culture of hate. The Balinese would likely be much better off, foreigners going to Bali would be better off, the world would be better off. This clearly is why Jakarta’s (Indonesia’s) armed forces are a suppressing, not military force. This is why Jakarta went overboard to reign in Aceh and why it will not willingly let go of West Papua. Because without the wealth of its conquered and controlled territories, Jakarta would be nothing along with the wealthy families and military of Indonesia; let’s all drink to that.

Keep your / western money out of the hands of the corrupt human rights abusing thieves of Indonesia; boycott Bali / Indonesia until the Balinese get their full legal rights and make their island the paradise for foreigners Jakarta currently falsely markets it to be.


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