Amid reports of the growing threat of terrorism, many Indonesians miss the Suharto era, because the iron-fisted leader could do practically anything he wanted to eliminate crime, including terrorism and antigovernment movements, because he did not take into account human rights and democracy.
Anything described as a threat to national security and stability was crushed militarily.
Although such terms were often used to legitimise repression at the hands of the authorities, law enforcers at that time could deal with the seeds of terrorism effectively. This could be seen when organisations who resorted to terrorist tactics were forced to flee the country or went underground because they were given no space by the security forces.
Some fled to Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Ironically, after Suharto fell from his power in 1998 and democracy reverberated, the seeds of terrorism were actually allowed blossom in Indonesia.
In fact, leaders of radical organisations such as Jamaah Islamiyah (JI), who fled abroad during the New Order regime, came back to Indonesia and managed to form a new network which, in the words of Sidney Jones, is a 'new generation' of terrorists.
This new generation of terrorists has been incredibly active, bombing houses of worship, hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions, the Australian Embassy and so on.
Names like Noordin M. Top, Mas Selamat Kastari, Abdul Matin Anol Rahmat, Muh Amir Hanafiah, and others become a specter for the Indonesian people because hundreds have died and thousands have been injured.
The problem is whether the administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) will let these acts of terrorism continue or stop them definitely and comprehensively by making every effort to fight terrorism.
It is surprising that some terrorists are sentenced to less than 10 years, although terrorism is classified as a crime against humanity and has caused hundreds of...