The month of May in the year 1998 is one of the darkest month in the history of the Republic of Indonesia.
It started on 4 May 1998 when thousands of students in Bandung, Yogjakarta and Medan protested against the increase of fuel price by the newly re-elected government of President Soeharto, which quickly developed into nationwide protest against the 32 years old authoritarian regime.
On 12 May, four students of the University of Trisakti, Jakarta were shot to death by snipers causing the students' take over of the building of the House of Representative (DPR), followed by violence which targeted the businesses of Chinese minority ethnics, many of their shops and houses were destroyed and their females raped.
The most horrible thing was that at that time the security forces do not seemed to be available in Jakarta, therefore causing a big tragedy and many people died/injured and their shops/houses destroyed and looted by the rioters.
According to widespread rumors, the tragedy was masterminded by someone who had a powerful position in the Army ad closely related to Soeharto, therefore trying everything possible to defend and preserve his power.
On 21 May, Soeharto stepped down from his throne and hand over power to Vice President B.J Habibie.
Unfortunately, until this present moment, the tragedy is still a mystery. Those who were supposed to be responsible were still untouched by the laws. Even those who were officially supposed to be responsible for security at that time remain untouched by the law, and are now holding public offices.
Considering the above, I believe that if Indonesia wants to have a better condition, today and in the future, investigation of this tragedy should be re-opened and those responsible should be revealed and tried in the Court of Law. If the government do not want them punished, they can always be given them pardon.
Related media reports :
- The Last days of President Soeharto (The Jakarta Globe)
- Indonesia Must Never Forget May Tragedy (The Jakarta Globe)
- Mei Pecas Ndahe (Ndoro kakung)