Government leaders pay tribute to Indonesia’s former dictator Suharto

World Socialist Web Site, January 30, 2008
By Peter Symonds

The death of former Indonesian dictator Suharto on Sunday at the age of 86 has elicited a stream of tributes from world leaders and in the international press. There is something both disturbing and ominous about praise for a man who was responsible for the murder of at least half a million people in the 1965 coup that brought him to power and the deaths of another 200,000 following the 1975 Indonesian annexation of East Timor.Suharto’s funeral, with full military honours, took place on Monday in the central Javan city of Solo. While he was forced to step down in 1998, the regime that Suharto established remains largely intact, despite its more recent democratic trappings. Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, himself a Suharto-era general, presided over the lavish ceremony, hailing the dead dictator as “a loyal fighter, a true soldier and a respected statesman”.

While no prominent US official attended, a White House spokesman announced that President Bush had sent “his condolences to the people of Indonesia on the loss of their former president”. Two of South East Asia’s longstanding autocrats—former Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and Singapore’s elder statesman Lee Kuan Yew—flew to Indonesia to pay their last respects to the military strongman.

Continued . . .

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