Thu, 25 May 2000


I read Mr. G.N. Brown's letter (There is no violence in Bali, The Jakarta Post, May 23, 2000) with a mixture of admiration and sadness. Admiration, because Mr. Brown has seen a "window of opportunity' in a situation where I see only grief and a need for tolerance; and sadness, for precisely the same reason.

Mr. Brown seems like an honorable man, his words and deeds stemming from the highest possible motives -- a genuine desire to promote Bali. What matter if, on the way to attaining the objective, one sensationalizes rather than sympathizes with the recent events in Fiji? It's all in a good cause, isn't it?

Violence (euphemistically termed "unrest" in this particular case by Mr. Brown) in all the various parts of this beautiful archipelago (even in Lombok, far closer to Bali, Mr. Brown, than your letter indicates) have caused, time and again, epitaphs to be written for Indonesia. We're still here. Living without hope, without dreams? I don't think so. Isn't it a tad premature, then, to be talking so glibly about "Fiji's demise"?

My point of view is that violence, in any form, needs to be dealt with a degree of patience and understanding, if a permanent solution is to be found. But then again, I'm probably in a minority, in this day and age of morals and ethics taking a back seat to "cashing in on opportunity".

"Love thy neighbor"? "Kick him while he's down, and grab what you can", more like. Thank you, Mr. Brown, for so vividly demonstrating that opportunism is alive and well.