Tue, 24 Feb 2004

Democracy or disaster

Lying dormant for some time, and yet now the conscience of Indonesia begins to stir as the 2004 general election looms ever closer. There was a flicker and now a pulse coming from the reform monster, the will of the people and the might of the multitude, for this awakening has been a long time coming.

The problem is that "D-Day" is rapidly approaching, with the "D" meaning either democracy or disaster, and one must decide which avenue to go down.

Maybe the people care more than the elite imagine, the millions of poor that survive on a daily basis that maybe, just maybe have a real passion for this nation. The movement against rotten politicians might just come up with a list so long that the lawyers would not be able to cope with the turmoil and the associated problems of backing corruption against the will of the people.

Caught between the devil and the deep blue sea would be those legal parasites, for is their love of money a greater incentive than the fear of the masses? It has happened before and taking sides with the elite has not always been the wisest of moves. The finger of blame for the past five years is a very long one that fans a wide range of disciplines, and now as the monster stands, so visible cracks are appearing in the overcrowded club of corruption.

The danger is, like when Soeharto went down, is the lack of credible figures to replace the rotten system and its current members. It is one thing to rid, but another to build, and Indonesia might struggle to find enough true patriots who are brave enough to carry the banners. Whatever transpires, it will have been the corruptors that pushed the people over the edge, and there is not a living soul in this country that does not know that.

Some time ago I said the writing was on the wall, but there is still time to avoid a disaster if the politicians would wake up and realize they are sitting on top of a rumbling volcano. If ever a country was heading in the absolute wrong direction, then sit back and take a long hard look at Indonesia, for their leaders are driving blindly towards chaos and disintegration, and that is just a matter of time. Be wise, shed arrogance, change course and survive before it is too late.

DAVID WALLIS, Medan, North Sumatra