Fri, 14 Feb 2003

Oriental violence?

I am deeply disturbed by the article which appeared on Feb. 7 (p. 18) entitled Islam in Madura and the tradition of violence.

In it Adbur Rozaki revives tired stereotypes of sickle- wielding Madurese led by thugs under the eyes of approving Muslim clerics. The inclusion of a figure depicting a Madurese brandishing a sickle over an unarmed man is particularly regrettable. Although Madurese have been rather on the receiving end of untold violence these past few years, and violent crime statistics show no appreciable difference between Madura and the rest of Indonesia, the rare but highly publicized acts of carok seem forever to capture the imagination of Indonesians, much like tales of Malay amok gripped British colonialists. Is this Orientalism ala Java? In any case the article is not peace journalism.