Which country is culturally closest to Indonesia

Chances, successes and obstacles of Indonesia on the way to regional power in Southeast Asia


1 Introduction
1.1 The influence of Javanese culture

2 A look into history: great empires, colonial past and the declaration of independence

3 The economic development
3.1 Economic cooperation with Indonesia
3.2 German-Indonesian economic relations
3.3 Environmental problems and palm oil cultivation

4 Foreign and domestic policy
4.1 ASEAN and other alliances in the region
4.2 Jokowi's new leadership style and the country's political future
4.3 Islam as a domestic political and social force

5 Indonesia and the Modern Age: The New Middle Class

6 Conclusion: A long road full of (unused?) Opportunities

7 Bibliography

1 Introduction

Indonesia is a country that is often overlooked by the media. Except for natural disasters like volcanic eruptions, one doesn't hear so often about the fourth largest country, the country with the most Muslims and the third largest democracy in the world. With this work I am directing a glance at a country with great economic potential, an important geostrategic position and a unique culture. But there is also potential for negative development. A socio-political crisis, the risk of a mainstream radical Islamism emerging, would affect an extremely large region beyond Indonesia. Hundreds of ships from China, Japan, the Philippines, Korea and other countries pass through the Malakka Strait, the sea route between Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula towards India, Africa and Europe every day. A stable Indonesia is therefore of immense importance for the region. Despite many crises, Indonesia has been relatively stable for some time, which has positive effects on trade and politics worldwide (Magnis-Suseno 2015: 7-8). What forms Indonesian Islam will take is also decisive for the future of Indonesia (Magnis-Suseno 2015: 9).

If you first look at some figures for Indonesia, the country has 254 million inhabitants, including 2.5 percent of all Indonesians of Chinese descent (Magnis-Suseno 2014: 62-63). 50.7 percent of the population lives in cities. The largest island state in the world consists of more than 17,500 islands, of which around 6,000 are inhabited (Schott 2015: 216). 145 million live on the islands of Java and Madura, which with 132,000 m² make up less than half of the area of ​​Germany. The official national language is Bahasa Indonesia, Indonesian, a modernized form of the Malay language, which is spoken as mother tongue by only about 4 percent (Magnis-Suseno 2014: 62-63). Almost all Indonesians speak the state language, but nationwide between 250-800 languages ​​are spoken, 500 of them in Papua alone. The archipelago extends over 5000 km between the Indian Ocean in the west, the South China Sea in the north and the Pacific in the east (Gamino 2012: 4). The land area of ​​Indonesia is 2.02 million km², making it about five times the size of Germany (David 2012: 25). More than 300 different ethnic groups populate the country, each with their own culture and history. Indonesia is a country full of contrasts, ranging from the tourist Bali to the strictly Islamic province of Aceh (Gamino 2012: 4). As for religious affiliation among Indonesians, 87.2 percent are Muslim, 9.8 percent Christian, 1.69 percent Hindu and 0.72 percent Buddhist (2010 census). In terms of ethnic composition, Javanese make up the majority of the population with 40 percent, followed by the Sundanese with 16 percent, Bataker with 3.8 percent, Sulawesi with 3.2 percent, Madurese with 3.03 percent, Betawi with 2.09 percent and others smaller ethnic groups (2010 census). The capital Jakarta has a population of around 10.5 million (UN 2016) (Ziegenhain, Patrick 2018: https://www.oav.de/laenderinformationen/indonesien/wirtschaftshandbuch.html, last accessed on February 25, 2018).

On August 17, 2017, Indonesia had every reason to celebrate 72 years of independence. Due to the many conflicts and unrest that dragged on in the country into the new millennium, the state of Indonesia had a failed concept failing state, can be. But the country has so far withstood the radical forces such as Islamist groups, has also been able to overcome its colonial backwardness in the initial phase and become an important emerging market. So the prerequisites are not bad at all for developing into a regional superpower over the next few decades. The coat of arms of Indonesia, " Bhinneka Tunggal Ika ", Translated" unity in diversity "corresponds fully to the reality of the country. But it also includes the potential for tension between the different cultures that geographically populate the huge territory between the Asian mainland and Australia, from the Batak in North Sumatra to the Javanese to the Ambonese and Papuan peoples in the east of the country. With 254 million inhabitants, Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world, after China, India and the USA. 90 percent of the population belong to Islam, but the other, older religions and values ​​of the archipelago run through this "carpet" like threads. For more than 40 years, Indonesia has also been part of the ASEAN community as the largest and strongest country, which stabilized and strengthened an unstable and economically backward region and made partners out of former competitors and today comprises 600 million people. The dynamism of this region made it possible for villages to develop into megacities in just a few decades (Wulffen 2015: 11-12). Since 1998 Indonesia has been slowly developing from a military-dominated central state and is gaining more and more importance in the region and globally, in addition to its role in the ASEAN political security community through bilateral partnerships with major powers such as the USA, China and India. The country is also a committed member of international institutions such as the G20, the group of the twenty most important industrialized and emerging countries.

In this thesis I would like to address Indonesia as a rising regional power in Southeast Asia, because this island nation is one of the dominant countries in the region. But what exactly characterizes a regional power? In contrast to great powers, whose alliances have far-reaching effects, the regional or central powers lack the resources to be involved in all areas of international politics. But through their foreign policy, mostly impulses for multilateral initiatives, regional powers ensure the stability and legitimation of the existing world order. Such emerging countries as Indonesia have a rapidly growing population and constant economic growth and an increased need for imports from other developing countries. They advocate greater political integration at the regional level and shape the power relations in the region through their influence in the surrounding area. As the name suggests, a regional power has a priority position in its region, but cannot assert its interests globally like a great power. Stable and well-functioning states have more influence on the global economy and are better able to take on regional leadership roles, create partnerships and act as mediators in global institutions. Central powers should ideally act as regional peacemakers and promote good norms for political dealings in the region. Due to the increasing political and socio-economic power of the emerging regional powers, the global balance of power is also changing. These countries make up two thirds of the world's population and their economic growth and purchasing power are factors that make them attractive markets for exports from other countries. They are increasingly coming to the fore as regional power centers and independent actors, although these states also have the greatest social inequalities in comparison (Muhibat 2012: 9-10).

The structure of my work is first divided into the introduction, followed by a historical review in order to better understand the development of today's nation-state Indonesia against this background. The powerful empires and the colonial past play an important role for the Indonesian identity. Independence from colonial power created a new Indonesian nation in the middle of the last century. Afterwards, after an insight into the history of the Indonesian economy, I return to the present and present today's Indonesian economy, the economic cooperation with Indonesia, in particular the German-Indonesian economic relations and finally come to the environmental problems resulting from the economy. Another big topic is the country's foreign and domestic policy. Indonesia's membership in ASEAN and other regional alliances is important. This is followed by a section about President Joko Widodo, the new bearer of hope, and about Indonesia's possible political future. Finally, I will go into more detail on Islam as an important domestic political and social force and on the Islamization tendencies of recent years. The next section looks at the Indonesian middle class and modern urban life. In conclusion, I present the opinion of Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla on the further development of Indonesia and give an outlook on possible future prospects. With my work I have tried to address many different topics that could play a role in Indonesia's development into a regional power in Southeast Asia. I hope that an overall impression of Indonesia, its perspectives and problems could arise.

1.1 The influence of Javanese culture

The culture of a country reflects the self-image of its people, it determines what people understand by strength and weakness, progress and regression and good and bad. The culture of Java in particular plays an outstanding role for Indonesia (Magnis-Suseno 2015: 76) and in order to get an understanding of Indonesia, one has to take a closer look at the most populous island of Java, because what is considered by many Indonesians to be "Ur-Indonesian" is mostly Javanese. Java can be described as the cradle of Indonesia, because its culture has shaped the entire country for centuries. Java and Bali are the most agriculturally fertile islands, but Java is the political, cultural and economic heart, because decisions are made there and most important positions in politics, military and administration are filled. This also gives rise to the problem of preference for the Javanese, and the state-sponsored Javanization makes people fear that the other ethnic groups will be completely assimilated. Java only takes up seven percent of the country's area, but is very heavily populated with 130 million people, i.e. more than half of Indonesia's population. One tenth live in the greater Jakarta metropolitan area alone (Gamino 2012: 4). 42 percent of all Indonesians speak Javanese as their mother tongue, that is around 105 million people today. In addition to Javanese, the Sundanese West Java and the Maduresen originally inhabit the north coast of East Java (Magnis-Suseno 2014: 76-77). The island was settled 5000 years ago by Malay immigrants who cultivated wet rice and a high degree of social organization on the fertile island gotong royong had a system of mutual support, which is still seen today as one of the cornerstones of Javanese ethics. Despite the Transmigrasi Program, a resettlement program from the most populous regions of Java and Madura to poorly populated regions since the late 1960s, the population of Java has been growing steadily through immigration. This program turned out to be a failure and only created more problems, such as massive environmental damage and rainforest destruction in Kalimantan and increased Javanization, for example of the administration, which is why the local population had to give up their own structures so culturally and economically on the margins of society and consequently there were great outbreaks of violence. For the Indonesian government, despite the failure of a population and economic policy instrument, the program has become more of a domestic and security policy control instrument, which serves to prevent efforts for independence and to promote the Javanization of the outer islands, which is intended to homogenize the population in favor of Javanese. Since politics and economy are centered on Java and the other regions are often only exploited or neglected, many come to Java in the hope of a better life. Part of this is the impoverished rural population, who often have to live in small huts in illegal settlements on the outskirts (Gamino 2012: 4-5). The cultural and political hegemony of Javanese culture is therefore basically unmistakable and an important characteristic for understanding Indonesia. All of Indonesia's presidents were Javanese (with the exception of Habibie, who was also half Javanese). Under President Soeharto, the Javanese influence on the power structures in Indonesia was particularly strong. Nowadays, Javanese avoid this topic, while non-Javanese stress that Indonesia has nothing to do with Javanese culture. Yet despite the great differences, basic elements of Javanese culture can be found in most other Indonesian cultures. The Javanese culture should still not be equated with the Indonesian culture, as it is extremely influential, but at the same time not the only influence (Magnis-Suseno 2015: 77-78).

2 A look into history: great empires, colonial past and the declaration of independence

In order to better understand the development of today's Indonesia, it is best to take a look at the history of the country. From the earliest times, the peoples of the Malay Archipelago have been at the center of central trade routes connecting East and West, China, India, Arabia and Europe. For the rulers of pre-colonial Indonesia, it was not so much the territorial expansion that was important as the control of the most important trade routes and bases. The hardly inhabited, inaccessible hinterland was rather uninteresting in terms of power politics and the borders were often fluid. From the 4th century Indian influence reached Indonesia and later from the 13th century the influence of Islam along the trade routes (David 2012: 12-13). The Europeans initially had little influence in the Malay archipelago and competed with Arab, Indian, Chinese and local traders (David 2012: 15). With the advent of the spice trade, shortly before the end of the 15th century, the Portuguese decided to take long sea voyages into the Indian Ocean to get to the precious spices. The Pope Alexander VI. With the Treaty of Tordesillas, concluded in 1494, awarded Africa and the countries east of it to the Portuguese crown, which virtually legitimized the spice trade. In 1511 the Portuguese sailed to Malacca and later to the spice islands, the Moluccas. In Europe one paid more than forty times as much for spices as in India and the accumulated riches made it possible to equip ever new expeditions, as far as China and Japan. When they were discovered, the ancient kingdoms of Indonesia had already perished. The first great empire, Srivijaya, extended over Sumatra and at times also over Java and had its heyday in the 10th century. The empire came into being through the emigration of a Hindu prince from India and had its center near Palembang, in the south of Sumatra. Around the year 1000, the Hindu religion was superseded by Buddhism, which came to the region from both India and China. The inclusion of numerous words from Sanskrit into Javanese and other languages ​​of the archipelago prove the great influence of India, which traded with the islands. There were also Chinese influences, in addition to trade, also in the arts and to this day the Chinese minority in Indonesia has a large share in the economy. With the help of the fleet, Srivijaya managed to control the entire maritime traffic around Sumatra, i.e. also in the Strait of Malacca, but at the end of the 13th century the sea control gradually turned into piracy until the empire slowly dissolved (Wulffen 2015: 20- 21).

The kingdom of Mataram had existed on Java since the 8th century and disappeared again in the 10th century. The first architectural monuments in Java, the Siwaist temples in East Java, date from this time. A little later, the Buddhist Sailendra dynasty controlled Java and in their 60-year rule Borobodur emerged, which, in addition to its mystical function with the numerous stupas, possibly also served as a grave monument for the Sailendra princes. In the middle of the 9th century, the Hindu-Siwaist Mataram dynasty drove the Sailendra dynasty to Sumatra. As a sign of their power, the Mataram princes built the huge temple complex Prambanan not so far from Borobodur, which Borobodur should probably be in no way inferior to. From the 9thIn the 19th century, members of both religions apparently lived together peacefully, which already brought to light the Javanese striving to find a reason for unity. The simultaneous cultivation of Hinduism and Buddhism was even advisable, and the prince could do so from both Siwa, as well as from Buddha be legitimized and gain magical power. After the year 1000, East Java was united with the seat of Kediri into one empire. Java came under Indian influence again and the Mahabharata epic was translated into Javanese. The Kingdom of Majapahit emerged from smaller principalities and centers of power and reached its peak in the 14th century. His supremacy extended almost over the entire territory of Indonesia, as the other islands were dependent on, among other things, Javanese rice. Today historians see this epoch as Indonesia's golden age. The king was a religious rather than a political leader and the ministers were in power. Majapahit was less of a state in the modern sense than a broad feudal society with the base in the village communities. Nevertheless, it developed into one of the greatest sea powers in Asian history. Under the influence of Hinduism and Buddhism, Majapahit had developed into a great cultural center of radiation. Its aftermath can therefore be seen even today in the religious and spiritual life of the population. Noteworthy was the practical disappearance of the difference between Buddhism and Hinduism (Siwaism) and the official cult consisted of a form of tantric syncretism, the Siwa Buddha -Cult. The disintegration of Majapahit could mainly be traced back to Islam, which had penetrated from the coasts into the interior of the country. The Arabs had been trading with cities in Sumatra, especially Aceh, since the 12th century. Many then settled in the coastal towns and began to spread their religion. However, it was a syncretistic Islam that absorbed the customs and traditions, which was very popular with the people (Wulffen 2015: 21-22, 24). So it was nothing new on Java that religions coexist and incorporate the earlier animistic beliefs. There was therefore no worldview with a claim to absoluteness. Although it was first the rulers and then the population who acknowledged Islam from the 12th century, Islam hardly played a role in everyday life until the 18th century, but was simply integrated into the existing worldview as a teaching (Gamino 2012: 4). . Islam in Malaysia, for example, developed differently than in Indonesia, where Hindu, Buddhist and animist elements were integrated in an "interactive process", creating a heterogeneous and moderate Islam. Nowadays, however, there is a contradiction between the Orthodox Muslims and the Syncretists, which is also violently discharged again and again. The majority of the population, the syncretists Abangan is influenced by Muslims, but mostly does not adhere to the Islamic doctrine of duty and does not try to lead her life strictly according to Islam. This is probably the reason why Islam has not yet been able to become the state religion of Indonesia and why no Islamic party has ever succeeded in gaining a majority in parliament. The SantriThose who strictly follow the Islamic rules are therefore in the minority. However, in the last few years there has also been a tendency towards more rigorous belief in Indonesia, but more on that later.

The Portuguese found a largely Muslim population, which was ruled by sultans. Although they also came to the Spice Islands as missionaries, they put trade before Christianization in order to avoid conflicts with the princes, which was also the case later with the Dutch. Until the end of the 16th century, the Portuguese controlled the spice trade from the Moluccas, until internal struggles, the temporary rule of Spain and problems to administer and defend Portuguese property in Latin America, Africa, India and the Moluccas, to the loss of power led (Wulffen 2015: 24-25). They were replaced by the Dutch, who established their base in Banten in northwestern Java in 1596, where it was to become the main port of export for spices for centuries. With the rival Holland as an ally against Spain, Portugal concluded an armistice in 1641 and negotiations on the confiscated possessions were no longer possible. East Timor remained a Portuguese colony until 1974. In 1602 the United East Indian Company founded, which temporarily held a monopoly in the spice trade through contracts with local rulers. However, the Dutch exploited the country's resources even more cruelly and ruthlessly than the Portuguese. After 150 years, the East India Company was dissolved in 1799 because it had perished through mismanagement, bribery and fraud. The Dutch state then brought order back by improving the economic basis of the colonies again (Wulffen 2015: 25-26) after making the area of ​​the VOC an official colony Nederlands Oost-Indië took over (Gamino 2012: 6).

In the eyes of the Indonesians, the widespread corruption is one of the few legacies left by the Dutch, who controlled and exploited the country for 350 years. Since then, the system of nepotism and bribery can be found in almost all areas of life, so that many even consider bribes to be a feature of social coexistence. Because when the Dutch East India Company began to build trade bases at the beginning of the 17th century, it used the power struggles of the recently collapsed Majapahit and from the middle of the 17th century also the power and inheritance disputes of the Islamic Mataram to obtain trade rights and land against defensive alliances to back up. A system of favoritism was also established by the Dutch on Java, to which the company itself ultimately fell victim. Despite huge profits from exports of spices, coffee, tea, tobacco and sugar, the VOC was bankrupt at the end of the 18th century because too many of the posted workers and employees had availed themselves of the profits. And so even today not a day goes by without newly exposed cases of corruption. There has been an increasing but seldom prosecution or conviction since the anti-corruption authority KPK was introduced in 1999 (Gamino 2012: 5-6).

In 1812 England took over the administration of the Dutch possessions. The infrastructure was expanded and left-hand traffic, which is still valid today, was introduced. After the political end of Napoleon, the East Indies were awarded to the now "United Kingdom of the Netherlands" (including Belgium) at the Congress of Vienna. After their return to the capital of the colony of Batavia (Jakarta), the rule of the Dutch gradually extended far beyond what is now Indonesia. The local rulers became vassals who had to give up a large part of their profits and the local population did not get much benefit from their hard work, as they in turn had to deliver up to 40 percent of the harvest to their rulers (Wulffen 2015: 26-27). Control of Java had previously been a losing proposition for the Dutch. With the introduction of the cultuurstelsel, a cultivation system one wanted to achieve that the colony finally brought in the hoped for profit. Javanese farmers were forced to plant certain export crops for the Dutch market, so that Holland became one of the largest suppliers of indigo, sugar and coffee. Holland's wealth, rapid development and industrialization in the 19th century was largely based on the agricultural products of Java, which were ruthlessly exploited. In the 1860s, the system was abandoned due to countless reports of scandals and grievances. Sumatra was opened up for plantation economy, alongside slave labor there was more and more wage labor in factories and private capitalism also spread in the late 19th century (David 2012: 17).

It was not until 1900 that the governors in Batavia tried to establish a general welfare system that also benefited the locals, although they were still severely disadvantaged politically. There were also restrictions on religion, pilgrimages to Mecca were forbidden and devout Muslims were viewed with suspicion (Wulffen 2015: 26-27). This system, which came into force in 1900, was called "ethical politics". The socio-political and intellectual climate in Europe changed and the colonial government took on the role of an educator who was supposed to bring civilization, education and enlightenment to the “childish” natives. Behind the increased opening of schools there was also the plan to administer the colonial empire with the help of a specially trained layer of local officials. In the 1930s, 90 percent of colonial officials were locals. But Western ideas of nationalism, democracy, freedom, socialism and communism also crept into the minds of the students (David 2012: 17) and so a small group of Indonesian intellectuals emerged, from which the independence movement emerged (Wulffen 2015: 28). In 1920 there was talk of Indonesia for the first time, a future project that wanted to leave the difficult past, the traditional aristocratic hierarchy and Dutch rule behind (David 2012: 17-18). The Second World War was decisive for the further fate of Indonesia. The Netherlands was occupied by Germany in 1940 and the colonies by Japan in 1942, which was the independence movement that had existed since the 1920s Perserikatan Nasional Indonesia PNI, since 1928 renamed to Partai Nasional Indonesia, gave new impetus. The leaders of the independence movement were Achmad Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta. Both consolidated their position during the Japanese occupation from 1942 and were able to convince the Japanese to give Indonesia independence in 1945 (Wulffen 2015: 28). The Japanese themselves had tried during their occupation to use Islam for their own purposes and thus to draw the Muslims into their war against the Western alliance and therefore also promoted the struggle for independence. Some Islamic groups therefore declared that jihad, the holy war against the Western powers (Wulffen 2015: 30). On August 17, 1945, Sukarno, Hatta and Sjahrir declared independence for Indonesia. But the Dutch returned under British protection in autumn 1945. The insurgents finally emerged victorious from a four-year jungle war. The Dutch tried in vain to play the different directions against each other, since the Indonesians themselves were still divided on what kind of state Indonesia should become. Fundamentalist Muslims wanted an Islamic state, communists a socialist state, but none of the religious-ideological movements could prevail. On December 27, 1949, the Dutch finally granted Indonesia its sovereignty and thus independence at the Conference of The Hague, and the 350 years of colonial history finally came to an end. A few months later, Indonesia, which at that time only had 80 million inhabitants, was accepted as a member of the United Nations and was thus an independent state with binding international law (Wulffen 2015: 19-20, 31). West Papua was initially still Dutch territory until it formally became an Indonesian province in 1969 (Wulffen 2015: 19-20, 34), after it was illegitimately annexed. The region's large natural resources were probably the reason for the violent annexation (Gamino 2012: 7).

Despite their long reign, the Dutch had left few traces on the islands. Few Indonesians had attended secondary schools, let alone universities. So it was a big task for the new Indonesian nation to rebuild the backward country and to give Indonesia a unifying identity, which was mainly done through the language. Old documents before 1949 were often written in Arabic and there was no uniform language even during the colonial era. The population was forced to communicate in Dutch. Therefore a new state language was introduced, Bahasa Indonesia, a, a language that was spoken in the Riau Islands between what is now Malaysia and Sumatra and is very simple in its structure and grammar. But English was now also used as a commercial language and in international traffic (Wulffen 2015: 31). Other unifying elements were that Pancasila as a state doctrine and ideological basis, which was included in the preamble of the constitution (David 2012: 18) and contained five pillars: belief in an Almighty God, humanity, national unity, consensus-based democracy and social justice. In this integralist concept of the state, the individual is subordinate to the collective. Furthermore, the motto of "Unity in Diversity" was created, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, which is used in connection with the national coat of arms and refers to the 300 ethnic groups and more than 250 different languages ​​of the 17,500 islands. These formulations were intended to create a unifying superstructure for the different ideological and religious ideas that was accepted by all Indonesians. The concepts that were in competition with each other before the state was founded are reflected in this (Wulffen 2015: 33). The obligation of Muslim citizens to follow Islamic law Sharia was adhered to by Muslim groups in the Jakarta charter enforced, but no longer appeared in the final version of the constitution for unexplained reasons. Today Islamic parties are calling for the resumption of the Jakarta Charter into the constitution. After independence there were also Islamist movements like that Darul Islam Movement that did not recognize the quasi-secular constitution and declared areas in West Java and South Sulawesi to be Islamic states that were based on the Sharia should be based. These separatist movements were not completely crushed until the 1960s. But still today these two regions belong to areas in which local Sharia Regulations have been introduced (David 2012: 18). Since Indonesia's population is 90 percent Muslim, Islam also plays a crucial role in national identity. First, membership of Islam symbolizes the resistance against the Christian colonial powers, it thus stands for the successful struggle against colonialism and the independence that followed. Second, Islam is a trans-ethnic link. In contrast, people who do not belong to Islam are assumed to have a lack of national awareness and loyalty to the state. This applies in particular to the Chinese, but also to Christian Indonesians in general, as belonging to Christianity is also associated with the adherence to Western values ​​and a critical attitude towards Islam. Supporters of Islamist ideologies in particular criticize them Pancasila and the principle of unity in diversity for relative religious freedom and connection with pre-Islamic, Javanese mythologies. In reality, however, ethnic diversity and national unity rarely hinder each other in their existence and development. It is above all extreme social and economic inequalities or Islamist fundamentalists that can make social integration difficult. Indonesia shows that the concept of diversity works. It is more the social and political evaluation of diversity and differences that determines whether diversity within society is perceived as a threat or an enrichment (Knörr 2012: 22-23). But it was only the forcible incorporation of the different peoples of Indonesia into the common colonial territory that created the prerequisites for an awareness of a common identity to develop among the country's intellectuals. Before the 20th century, there was no concept of an Indonesia or an Indonesian identity because the locals pribumi all divided into their ethnic origin (David 2012: 12).

The first president of Indonesia Sukarno inspired the people with his charismatic, anti-imperialist speeches and thus created the basis for an Indonesian national feeling. In the course of his rule, however, his “controlled democracy” showed increasingly autocratic features. Its policy of Nasakom, the union of nationalists, religious and communists should create a harmonious society. But the economic development became weaker and weaker and food shortages and famines followed. The provocative foreign policy brought Indonesia from a confrontation with Malaysia to international sideline and to an exit from the UN in 1965. The central political and social forces since the struggle for independence, communists and the military, got into confrontations which on September 30, 1965 came together alleged coup attempt and the murder of six highest-ranking generals culminated. General Soeharto emerged victorious from the power struggle that followed (David 2012: 19). Under his leadership there was an unprecedented hunt for the PKI that Partai Komunis Indonesia, a two million large communist party, and its supposed sympathizers set in motion. This was followed by a massacre of their own people, often also of their own neighbors, to whom around half a million fell victim from October 1965 to the beginning of 1966, only in Bali it was 80,000, five percent of the population. The perpetrators never came to court and the massacres are not mentioned in the school books, so that many Indonesians still know nothing about it. The mass murders marked a turning point in modern Indonesian history. After Sukarno's resignation and subsequent house arrest in 1967, his so-called Old Order, with its populist mass mobilization and the economically and politically chaotic conditions of recent years, was replaced by Soeharto's New Order, which was supported by the military. Although he ensured order and political stability with an iron hand, opposition groups and minorities were brutally removed from the way. The West supported him energetically and financially, as he was seen as an ally in the fight against communism (David 2012: 19-20). The extermination of the communists became the founding myth of the New Order and people never tire of emphasizing the communist threat and thereby legitimizing the military influence on society and the crackdown on those who think differently. Centralistically controlled bureaucratization permeated all social and political groups and formed the basis for far-reaching control (David 2012: 20-21). Alongside two other parties was the sole ruling party Golkar (Golongan Karya, translated as "functional groups"), which was an amalgamation of social, administrative and military groups and was a means for Soeharto to exercise a militarily supported, repressive style of leadership. The economic development was in the foreground for him. The "green revolution" of rice cultivation made it possible to self-suffice with rice at the end of the 1980s. There was an expansion of the school and health system, the infrastructure, industry and the living conditions of large sections of the population could be significantly improved so that a small, increasingly influential middle class emerged. But the wealth accumulated by Soeharto's family, favorites from the army and some of the Chinese company owners sponsored by Soeharto was disproportionate to this. Soeharto's children and family members had a monopoly on central trade goods and infrastructure and ruled over huge economic empires. The political, economic and social structures were based primarily on nepotism and found themselves in a swamp of corruption, so that investors had to pay over 30 percent of the investment sum to obtain the permits. There was no major project or business without the Soeharto Klan getting its share. As a result, the gap between rich and poor and between regions continued to widen. 70 percent of the money that was in circulation in Indonesia was in Jakarta in the mid-1990s. Then in July 1997 the Asian crisis broke out and hit Indonesia very hard. At the time, student protests erupted after a sharp rise in fuel prices, which resulted in the 1998 shooting of some students. The situation spiraled out of control and violence broke out in several cities, particularly affecting the Chinese minority. Over a thousand people were killed in Jakarta. The regime collapsed like a house of cards: On May 21, 1998, Soeharto announced his resignation. Sukarno, Bung Karno ("Comrade Karno "), Still today surrounds the charisma of patriotism and the struggle for freedom, while Soeharto, Pak Harto ("Father Harno “) Had presented himself as a mild, benevolent, all-powerful patriarch. He is still revered as Bapak Pembangunan, the "father of construction". (David 2012: 22-23).

With the fall of Soeharto, the era of reformasi, in which fundamental reforms of the country's political system were implemented. The 1997/98 Asian crisis initially created relatively unfavorable conditions for this. What has definitely been implemented is the development towards democracy and liberalization. The president of the transitional government BJ Habibie, the liberal Muslim leader Abdurrahman Wahid, called Gus Dur (removed from office on allegations of corruption) and Megawati Sukarnoputri, Sukarno's daughter, were the subsequent presidents and responded to regional autonomy demands with the introduction of comprehensive decentralization and 2001 in Legislation on regional autonomy came into force, which enabled the provinces and districts to have significantly more self-government. This is how they reacted to movements in autonomy that occurred in other parts of the country in addition to Papua, East Timor and Aceh. After Soeharto abdicated, the people openly showed their displeasure with the exploitation of their home regions by the Javanese-dominated regime. Conflicts that had long been violently suppressed between the various ethnic groups broke out. East Timor gained independence after its violent annexation in 1975 in 2002 after decades of bloody civil war. In 2004, the former general Susilo BambangYudhoyono was elected directly by the people as the first president. The anti-corruption authority was quickly set up to counter KKN - korupsi, kolusi, nepotisme ("Corruption, unfair agreements and nepotism") to proceed. Yudhoyono was re-elected in 2009 (David 2012: 24, 26). The seventh President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, has been in office since 2014 (Wulffen 2015: 261).


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