Mon, 26 Jun 2000

A matter of common sense

A solution to the Maluku problem, as we see it, a matter of common sense. If the government is willing to apply common sense, the problem will soon be over.

What most upsets us is the question of weapons. How is it possible that in a country where the public is not allowed to carry firearms, the people of Maluku have practically become an armed battalion? Nowadays it is difficult to tell who are armed civilians, who are police and who are soldiers.

In this country the institutions that are allowed to buy and possess firearms are the military and police. However, nobody has ever raised the question or admitted that the "Maluku battalion" acquired its arms from the military.

The military are the only force allowed to patrol the waters around Maluku. However, while the government is barring outsiders from entering Maluku, the flow of weapons into the area appears unstoppable. Even the Minister of Defense, Juwono Sudarsono, readily admitted that the smuggling of arms into Maluku is difficult to prevent.

If the military cannot stop this inflow of arms, who can? Are those smugglers so powerful that even the military are unable to stop them? Or does the military merely pretend to be powerless?

President Abdurrahman Wahid has accused people in high places and people with money in Jakarta of financing the Maluku tragedy. But why stop at hurling accusations and grumbling? Arrest those people and put them in prison. Gus Dur (President Abdurrahman Wahid) is now President and has the power to arrest and punish people.

-- Media Indonesia, Jakarta