Jan 23, 2005

Foreigners being accused of Sexual Harassment in Aceh

"Police have deployed detectives to investigate allegations that a number of Acehnese women were sexually harassed by foreign volunteers and troops involved in humanitarian operations in Aceh to provide relief aid to tsunami victims, the Antara News Agency reported."

Regardless of whether the allegations are eventually proven to be true or not, this is a very dangerous development in Indonesia. There are forces in play in Indonesia now that will stop at nothing to see that all foreign forces (read: non muslim forces) are expelled from Indonesia. Thank you for all the cash, now kindly get the hell out.

The Singaporean government sensing how volatile the situation has become and perhaps considering their proximity to Indonesia has already taken the hint.

"Singapore had openly indicated that it would pull out its military personnel, mostly physicians and paramedics, from Aceh because they had done enough and the Indonesian government was already better able to cope with the situation."

"Syamsir Siregar, chief of the National Intelligence Agency (BIN), reminded Indonesian authorities to increase their alertness because the foreign military had other objectives beside helping to alleviate the tsunami victims "suffering"."

We are now in a difficult situation, if we stay and follow through with any long term development plans as we promised, we will run the risk of getting ourselves involved in a conflict with the fundamentalists and Islamic militants who want us gone. If we leave, we will not only be strengthening the hand of the fundamentalists but we will be seen as weak and conceeding that we did in fact have other ambitions by Indonesia's so-called moderates.

So now, if we pack up and sail away. The combat readiness of our military has now suffered, we're out several hundred million dollars in taxpayer money, we're being accused of everything from sexual harassment to taking advantage of a vulnerable people by proselytising and we have left Megawati's government with the difficult task of stomping out the now rising flames of Islamic fundamentalism that our mere presense managed to ignite.

If our cause is truly noble then we have a moral obligation to see this through regardless of the difficulties we will face by those who will oppose us.

We have some difficult decisions to make. Lets hope that we have the courage and resolve to make them.

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