Thursday, May 20, 2004

Black May 1998: 6th Commemoration (20 of 40)

'May Riots: A Heartbreaking Past'
The Jakarta Post (Thursday, May 13, 2004)

Six years ago, thousands of people were killed in systematic riots in Greater Jakarta. With the passage of time, none of the perpetrators, let alone the masterminds, has been taken to court. The Jakarta Post talked to some city residents on the tragedy.

Hendrawan, 31, is a former badminton player who now works for an oil company. He is of Chinese descent and lives in Cibubur, East Jakarta, with his wife and two children:
Frankly, the May riots were a heartbreaking incident. We had been striving to defend the Thomas Cup for the country in Hong Kong, but what did we get in return?

Whenever anything went bad, people tended to blame Chinese-Indonesians. What has happened is already in the past; let it remain a dark moment in our history.

As for the issue of Republic of Indonesia Citizenship Certificates (SKBRIs), I hoped (1992 Olympic gold medalists) Susi Susanti and Alan Budikusuma would be the last victims. I know how it feels. I thought I'd be the last to experience such discrimination. Let's hope it won't happen again in the future.

Made Ardian, 26, is an activist with a human rights group. He lives in Pejaten Barat, South Jakarta:
I urge families of May 1998 tragedy victims to keep on fighting for their right to truth and justice. The investigation results of a fact-finding team from the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) on the tragedy are stuck in the Attorney General's Office (AGO). The office refuses to follow up on the results, as it claims they are inadequate for the prosecution of indicted human rights violations. I suspect political power play is involved in that decision.

With regard to suspicions that some presidential candidates may have been responsible for the human rights violations in the tragedy, I also call on those who care about the victims, the nation and human rights not to elect them.

It will be impossible to complete the investigation of the tragedy if those people gain power. There will be a conflict of interest. Moreover, as one vice presidential candidate is from Komnas HAM, he would be politically compromised.

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