Politics from the sidelines

Indonesia: The Act of Glossing

As an Indonesian born in the 1950s, I found watching the three hour director’s cut of Joshua Oppenheimer’s documentary “The Act of Killing” (executive producer Werner Herzog) deeply disturbing. Though it revealed nothing factually new per se about the horrors of the...
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Indonesia Politics: Where’s the Party?

Originally published in the Huffington Post It’s been a busy fortnight in Indonesian politics. The inhabitants of the capital Jakarta just voted in a new governor, Joko Widodo a.k.a. Jokowi, of the PDI-P party with the significant support of the upstart...
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INDONESIA: THE ACT OF GLOSSING

As an Indonesian born in the 1950s, I found watching the three hour director’s cut of Joshua Oppenheimer’s documentary “The Act of Killing” (executive producer Werner Herzog) deeply disturbing. Though it revealed nothing factually new per se about the horrors...
Read More

INDONESIAN POLITICS: WHERE’S THE PARTY?

Originally published in the Huffington Post It’s been a busy fortnight in Indonesian politics. The inhabitants of the capital Jakarta just voted in a new governor, Joko Widodo a.k.a. Jokowi, of the PDI-P party with the significant support of the...
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China: The Writing on the Great Wall

(originally posted on the Huffington Post site ) On Wednesday the 22nd of February, Tibetans would have normally celebrated Losar or Tibetan New Year. This year, unlike the years before, Tibetans in exile called for a solemn day of reflection...
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Anna Hazare, Savior or Destroyer of Democracy

My article in the Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rio-helmi/anna-hazare-saviour-or-de_b_950497.html
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THE CIKEUSIK RULING: BLIND IS NOT IMPARTIAL

Several months ago the world looked on in dismay and horror as their tv and computer screens filled with images of self-styled ‘true’ Muslim villagers and students from nearby pesantrens in Cikeusik attacking members of the controversial Ahmadiyah sect, eventually...
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OBAMA VS OSAMA: A LOSE-LOSE SOLUTION

Rio Helmi – May 3, 2011 As the flagwavers outside the White House cheered the triumph of the “free world” over evil, they resembled nothing so much as adrenalin-fueled Roman crowds roaring jubilantly at the sight of the spilled blood...
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FROM EXILE, SHOWING THE WAY FORWARD

Rio Helmi The democratic election of Lobsang Sangay by the Tibetan people-in-exile as their prime minister and political leader, whose temporal authority now replaces that of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, is a major step forward not just for the...
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When People Turn a Blind Eye and Leaders Go Deaf

Rio Helmi, 10 February 2011 Democracy is a term whose precise meaning is elusive, especially so in developing nations. For leaders more worried about superficial legitimacy than actually taking on the task of improving the lot of their people, ‘democracy’...
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