Fri, 11 Feb 2000

Living an unending nightmare

Thank you for printing the article Liliana, one of the victims of savagery that devastated E. Timor on Sunday, Feb. 6, 2000. This matter-of-fact presentation and the heart-rending picture of the little girl tell the whole story of what it is like to be an Indonesian today.

Make no mistake, you or I could be the next victim of the murderous thugs that the military seem to be able to find with ease. For this kind of killing, the murderers either have had to be crazed by their own sense of rectitude, that is, absolutely fanatical, or they have to be psychopathic killers, torturing, raping and murdering for the pleasure that they get from it. Needless to say, they are, by any measure of insanity, quite mad but with a dreadful coldness and calculation in what they do, which makes them worse than the most feared wild beasts who, after all, do not kill for pleasure.

An example of their terrible handiwork is a massacre, reported by a Daily Telegraph reporter in Ambon, on Dec. 22, 1999 and Dec. 23, 1999 at the Wainibe Wood Industry factory on Buru island, which was carried out by supposed Muslims. About 100 people, who just happened to be Christians, were collected into the main factory; the total victims comes from questioning the survivors now in refugee camps, who hid in other parts of the compound while the killings went on. The police and military on the island say that they were too few to confront the killers but some survivors say that there were police and military helping the killers, and that others who were supposed to be guarding the workers, disappeared when the killing started.

As we know, to our cost, where the police and military are involved in any way, it becomes impossible to find people or to question them or to carry out an investigation. Suddenly the police become incapable of any action, but it is of the utmost urgency that the militia be disbanded and their weapons taken from them. Wiranto insisted that they were necessary and, despite strong protests from all levels of society, he recruited them, clothed them and armed them. It then appears he simply instructed them to go and incite trouble wherever they wanted to, if we are to judge by all their subsequent actions. It certainly does not seem that there is any one in charge of them. However, even if only to prevent themselves being defrauded by double claims for pay and expenses, the military or police, whoever are their official paymasters, must have a record of their names, ID numbers and the addresses according to their ID cards. With genuine effort, it should be possible to round up most of these men simply from these records, or when they next pick up their pay.

To the ordinary person, it seems that we are living in an unending nightmare of random killing with no one capable of ending it. Those responsible for keeping it going, however, should take note from history that those responsible do usually end up paying for their crimes.



Cianjur, West Java