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O Bico de Gás



Terça-feira, 15.01.08

Suharto, Dying

The New York Times, in 1993, after the East Timor massacres, Philip Shenon wrote that Suharto "r[a]n the country with a grandfatherly smile and an iron fist" and lamented that his "accomplishments are not widely known abroad."

On earth, in Indonesia--below the towers of life-giving-or-taking wealth and distant killing decision--Suharto seemed to have been seen, on the one hand, as a small man, but on the other, as a menace.

You could talk corruption, but you could not mention the murders. You had to work hard to forget them. The government helped with "Clean Environment" laws that banned the surviving relatives from social contacts, on the theory that if they got around, their memories might pollute society.

A grandmother, when pressed, once told me about bodies bobbing in Sumatra rivers.

But as a rule, people don't like to talk about Suharto's founding massacre, the one that was, in the words of James Reston of the Times, the "gleam of light in Asia" (June 19, 1966), and in the words of the CIA, which assisted, "one of the worst mass murders of the 20th century" (for background see posting of November 8, 2007: "Duduk - Duduk, Ngobrol-Ngobrol. Sitting Around Talking, in Indonesia.").

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Suharto's Passage:
One Small Man Leaves a Million Corpses
Allan Nairn

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