fart of darkness
know it really enrages me, listening to those murdering bastards from
the Javanese ruling elite. To hear them tell it, their fucking 'sensitivities'
have been upset over East Timor. And then they go on with this thin
bullshit about a 'complex situation', where they were just doing their
best to handle backward and unruly people who were fighting among themselves",
bunch of exploiters in history have hidden behind gibberish like that,
and in the last resort, behind cheap hired killers. They always say
that if they were left alone they'd solve the problem in their own way,
in their own time. They always claim that outsiders are interfering
and making things inconvenient", Old Possum replied.
were in a taxi, heading back to the city along Victoria Road in the
chilly evening gloom.
pretty rich, isn't it, coming from a bunch of rulers whose repression
of trade unionists, students and intellectuals is legendary. These people
sell their country to the global market on the basis of a subservient
workforce, ultra-low wages and 'strong government'. Stick up your head
to complain about your lot in Habibe's Indonesia and you're likely to
end up in a windowless cell with a bowl of rice-water soup, a shit-stained
blanket and a plastic bucket -- if the cops don't put a bullet in your
brain and chuck your body in the river before you arrive", I said.
why did Howard do it?" Jo asked, "What's that bastard got
to gain out of standing up to the Indonesian generals? -- after all,
he was quite happy with the relationship until a month ago."
at all", Old Possum replied, "Except political survival. It's
all lousy choices for his mob. The participants have their best intentions,
but there's also a lot of chance in history ... lots of bad luck ...
things just spin out of control. Howard's first bit of rotten luck was
Habibe shooting his mouth off, saying that maybe the best thing for
Indonesia would be if East Timor got its independence."
So after 25 years of loyally endorsing Indonesia's right to rule East
Timor, Australia could hardly be seen to support less than that, and
the agreement to hold a ballot followed", I said.
taxi driver put the pedal to the metal and managed to get through the
Balmain Road lights before they went green.
clutched the seatbelt in terror, but Joadja just picked up where I'd
left off: "And then, naturally, since they were our quote unquote
friends, and we helped train them, Howard ignored the warnings and hoped
the TNI would behave with honour and keep order while the ballot was
held. Big mistake. The bastards had a well organised plan -- the militia
thing -- and they ran amok. But then things went wrong for the military
-- after 25 years of bastardry the Timorese hated their guts so much
they wouldn't be intimidated and they stood up to be counted."
is where the massive power of instantaneous electronic communications
came in", I said. "Neither the Indonesian generals, nor what
you could call the Keatingite Appeasement Party in Australia -- and
that includes Howard -- were prepared for the shock waves of evidence
that followed, and they swept over ordinary decent Australians like
a tsunami. There was no denying the horror, the horror. The Javanese
elite were seen to be just brutal colonialists like the Dutch they'd
displaced. To have failed to do something in the face of that evidence
would have branded a man, and a party -- forever -- as utterly dishonourable.
It would have been political suicide".
Possum sighed. "You're right. History might have played out differently
if the ABC had covered -- live-to-air -- the Nazis when they marched
the German leftists and trade unionists off to the first concentration
camp in 1933, or the Japanese army when they murdered and looted their
way through Nanking in 1937, or Stalin's Moscow trials; people would
have woken up earlier."
rocketed on towards the Glebe Island Bridge, passing the Paddy balloon
-- a monstrous gas-filled advertising gimmick that loomed, tethered
by near-invisible wires, above a tawdry drive-in pawnshop. It struck
me as a black-clad version of the Michellin Man. A garish banner, strung
across the facade of the shop, proclaimed: "FAT DEALS!"
in Whispers from the mean streets
-- Best of 1999