There’s no ramble (or weather report) from me today! The pair of us have had a quite Sunday at home – hardly an unusual occurrence in these locked-down days. After all, it’s not as if we’ve got a flight to catch, is it? And a rolling blog about a walk along the canal would be a less than riveting read! So, I’m going to cut straight to the chase. Or in this case – the picture of the day.
I took this shot of pro Megawati students in Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia in the last week of November 1998. Indonesia was in the throes of rediscovering democracy after years of dictatorship under President Suharto. Suharto had been forced to resign in the May of 1998 because of the Asian economic crisis, corruption and growing civil unrest – much of which was led by students like these.
Megawati Sukarnoputri was the daughter of Indonesia’s first President, Sukarno, who was deposed by Suharto in 1966. Born in Yogyakarta, she became the leader of the PDI party in the 1990s and won the Vice-Presidency in 1999, eventually becoming President in 2001 until she was decisively defeated in 2004.
Having travelled across Indonesia during the Suharto years in 1992 it was fascinating for me to return in 1998 and see the country regaining its democratic freedoms and learning how to express them. Demonstrations like this were commonplace but in Yogya especially as it had a large student population. Now, many years on, Indonesia is doing well, even if it has been a rocky road as corruption’s still a problem. Even so, within the next couple of decades they will overtake the UK’s economy – a job made easier by us declaring sanctions on ourselves with Brexit.
I’ve a favour to ask…
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