Letter published in the NZ Herald (Auckland), in response to a letter by Mike Subritzky mounted in the same daily on Feb. 14, 2001. See also Mike Subritzky's clarifying response. ________________________________________________________
Mike Subritzky's letter on Sino-Indonesian refugees wrongly associated Indonesian Muslims with clandestinely financed terror groups claiming to be Muslim activists in Indonesia. But the described crimes against Sino-Indonesians were not committed even by these.
Published evidence sugests complicity of state apparatus of the previous regime. Indonesians, Muslim and other, have overthrown the head of that responsible regime. But the apparatus is still very much intact, blackmailing democratic government and pro-democracy public.
The present refugees are poor wretches caught between two fronts. Having fled Indonesia after the May 1998 violence and weeks of defencelessness, when not getting raped or one's throat slit was a matter of accidentally not being in the wrong place at the wrong time, they are deeply traumatized. They didn't come to NZ for fun, or to bring damage to you. They'd probably love nothing more than to return to Indonesia in peace. But the peace in their minds will probably never be restored again, and they have to make with exile in a far, unfamiliar, cold country, instead of the comfort of their homeland.
But they face a coldhearted burocrat trying to get rid of them with some slick legal formulas. So they answer in kind, and fight for their lives with stories that fit the required data input for those slick formulas. Killing in self defence is not a crime anywhere, I think, so Indonesian Muslims needn't feel insulted.
Mr. Subritzky's summary libel of some 180 million Muslims is perhaps not as damaging as the actual criminals' still walking around free and gloating even over the president. There's hardly anything more damaging, I think, than criminals walking around demonstratively showing their impunity.
Sincerely, Waruno Mahdi