Dictatorship to Democracy Overnight
Indonesia is a country in Southeast Asia that was under a military dictatorship for 32 years. The dictatorship era started after the failure of communist coup d’état by Indonesia’s Communist Party in 1966. General Suharto, the one who had the biggest role in failing the coup d’état, ousted the first president and established an autocratic anti-communist regime known as the New Order, which attracted political and economic support from Western governments during the Cold War. At the beginning of this era, he said he would practice a kind of semi-direct democracy, while later, even the news in newspapers was controlled by the government. His era was ended in 1998 by a huge student revolution and riots in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. The revolution was triggered by the monetary crisis that dropped Indonesian currency to a very low point, 17,000 rupiah for 1 US dollar, and the fact that he was a very corrupt leader. While people saw the revolution as a new hope and the beginning of a reformation era, and got excited for the democracy they had longed for, it turned out that democracy is not as easy and simple as it seems to practice in a developing country, and they were not yet ready for it. Mostly because of the low rate of educated people in the country, compared to the total of 200 million people, most Indonesians see the practice of democracy blindly and misunderstand it. They see it as just plain freedom to do anything they want to do without having to worry about any ban from the government anymore. From what has been happening in Indonesia, democracy is not always a better choice than dictatorship, especially in a developing country.
The first issue that comes in mind when comparing the Indonesian dictatorship era and democracy in Indonesia is the stability of the country. During the New Order era, there were hardly any big demonstration that ended up in riots and anarchism. The biggest and the only successful one...
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