Former President of Indonesia passed away today due to organ failure. Yes, two posts about deaths back to back.
For most people, it is easy to label Suharto as a ruthless dictator who illegitimately took over power, ordered the killing of a lot of people (officially termed as a communist purge) and pursued acts of nepotism or corruption. I remember when I was in 9th grade, we had this Fascism project for History class where we had to choose one dictator from the modern era and make a presentation about him. I refused to do the obvious ones like Hitler, Pol Pot and Kim Il Jong so I decided to choose Suharto because Indonesia is close to my country, Brunei. Yes, I picked him simply because I was lazy not because I truly believe he was a genuine evil dictator.
After the presentation, my friend asked me a question of why he hasn’t been sentenced to jail or executed. In a typical High-school-9th-grader-amateur-lazy-ass-presentation-answer, I simply told him that he’s old and people don’t want to hurt him. LOL But what I should have said was that when you compare his reign and the post-Suharto age of Indonesia, the later have been politically turbulent. Despite the way many human rights groups or pro democracy groups heavily criticised him, you gotta give him credit for establishing political stability which allowed for economic progress; a feat that isn’t quite easy to achieve for a large country with diverse groups of people. In a long run, he did Indonesia a big favour by pulling the country out of poverty.
Rest in Peace Suharto. May your soul be blessed. Amin.
PS. I did get a fairly good grade on the presentation though.