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Year-old US sanctions 'have had lit

60 injured as army trucks hit crowds
Dictator plans a dignified departure 
Regional leaders issue cautious welcome
Year-old US sanctions 'have had little impact on regime'

Hongkong Standard (May 19, 1998)
60 injured as army trucks hit crowds
NEARLY 60 people were injured when army trucks were driven into crowds
during anti-Suharto rallies at universities in Indonesia's second city of
Surabaya yesterday, witnesses said. 
Dozens more students were hurt when security forces beat them with batons. 
They said hundreds of students and members of the local community were
sitting on a road outside the western gate of the Airlangga University
when an army truck was driven into the crowd in an apparent attempt to
disperse them. 
``They were sitting on the road and the truck was driven very fast into
them,'' one witness said. ``Those hurt were all seriously injured and
taken to the nearest hospital.'' 
The injured included 10 students and 20 other people, the witnesses said. 
A student source said another 28 people were taken to hospital after two
army trucks drove into a crowd sitting outside the gates of the August 17
University in Surabaya. 
``We are not yet sure how serious the injuries are,'' the source said. 
Another 22 students were taken to hospital after hundreds taking part in
protests for President Suharto to immediately step down were halted by
soldiers in the streets and beaten with rattan sticks, a source said. 
``They were so sadistic, beating those kids till they were seriously
injured. There are 22 students who are in the hospital emergency room,''
the resident said. 
He said about 300 students from Airlangga University marched on the
streets yesterday and were joined by local residents. They wanted to go
back on the streets after returning to campus but were blocked by the
``There were five layers of security forces blocking them, with about 30
soldiers in each layer. The supporters and students all scattered when
they started hitting those at the forefront,'' the source said. 
Students have been leading an opposition movement against President
Suharto for the past three months, calling for reforms and for the
76-year-old leader to resign. 
Many scoffed at Mr Suharto's pledge in a nationally televised address
yesterday not to seek to remain in power after fresh elections held under
revised electoral laws. 
Students at the rally said they did not believe his pledge. 
``As long as Suharto is there, we won't believe it,'' one student said. -

South China Morning Post (May 20, 1998)
Dictator plans a dignified departure 

ANALYSIS by Greg Torode in Jakarta 
President Suharto tried to serve up what those close to him had been
working on for days: a dignified retreat from Asia's longest dictatorship. 
No one playing the ultra-polite chess game of politics in the shadow of Mr
Suharto's 32-year rule wanted to tell him the inevitable: old man, it is
time to go. 
Insiders said cultural conventions surrounding Mr Suharto's fatherly image
were so great that even his own military chief and former adjutant, the
increasingly populist General Wiranto, would never directly tell him to
Instead, a collective grew among army factions, the opposition and his own
ruling Golkar Party. 
The statement from Harmoko - Mr Suharto's close friend, Golkar chairman
and House Speaker - suggesting that he consider "wisely resigning" was
backed by parliamentary leaders. 
It also came on the day that students occupied the grounds of parliament. 
It was also a view likely to be canvassed gently with the President's
aides beforehand. 
The actions of the students were hardly spontaneous. 
Most arrived in trucks and buses arranged by the Army and were peacefully
escorted through the gates. 
Even Mr Suharto's fiercest critics played a part in keeping mounting
pressure from degenerating into a witch-hunt. 
"We must not Marcos-ise Suharto," said Amien Rais, the outspoken leader of
the 28-million Muhammadiyah Muslim group. 
However, beneath the air of almost secretive civility lies continuing
First, Jakarta citizens who showed their desperation so violently last
week will still have to swallow political developments. 
Then there are days, weeks and possibly months of vacuum as various
factions fight to fill a void that has not existed for 32 years. 
In such a tense arena, all eyes are on the military, particularly the
relationship between General Wiranto and his younger, ambitious strategic
force commander, Lieutenant-General Prabowo Subianto. 
General Prabowo is married to President Suharto's youngest daughter and
has 40,000 crack troops at his command. 
It is his tanks, armoured personnel carriers and artillery pieces that
have fortified the capital during the past three days.

Regional leaders issue cautious welcome 

Asia-Pacific leaders cautiously welcomed Mr Suharto's promise to call
elections soon. "I congratulate the president on the wisdom that he has
shown. I welcome his announcement," Australian Prime Minister John Howard
In Manila, Foreign Secretary Domingo Siazon said the Philippines expected
the Indonesian people to be able to decide for themselves what they
wanted. But Japan sounded a note of concern. "We don't know if the
situation in Indonesia will calm down. We are concerned," a government
spokesman said.

Year-old US sanctions 'have had little impact on regime' 

BURMA by William Barnes in Bangkok 
Diplomats and observers admitted yesterday there are no signs that
sanctions imposed by US President Bill Clinton a year ago have softened
Burma's military regime. 
Mr Clinton renewed the sanctions on Monday in Geneva at the end of a
six-day swing through Europe, citing the regime's intolerance for
He vowed to maintain the sanctions "as long as the Government of Burma
continues its policies of committing large-scale repression of the
During the past year, the regime has noticeably increased pressure on
dissidents. Scores of supporters of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi
have been arrested. 
Six activists have been sentenced to death for conspiring to overthrow the
Government in what critics label a fabricated excuse for a rigorous
The regime has rejected an offer by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi
Annan to help it open links to institutions like the World Bank as long as
progress was made politically. 
UN special envoy Alvaro de Soto was similarly rebuffed in January when he
was told outsiders had no business meddling in Burmese politics, a
diplomat said. 
Ms Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy has had no formal
contact with the regime for six months. 
Opponents of the sanctions, even within the United States administration,
argued that they encouraged the regime to retreat into its shell. 
"Sanctions are little more than postage stamps we use to send messages to
other countries at the cost of thousands of American jobs," Frank
Kittredge, the president of the National Foreign Trade Council, claimed
before the sanctions were imposed. 
However, the opposition argues that by helping to break the economic
policies that favoured the military regime, sanctions did actually hurt
the generals. 
"They thought they had discovered how to turn stone into gold when
investment started to flow in in the early 1990s," said one Bangkok-based
"Now they are looking at a long, poor future."

Yours sincerely,
Kyaw Zay Ya

"If you give a man a fish, he will have a meal. 
 If you teach him to fish, he will have a living. 
 If you are thinking a year ahead, sow a seed. 
 If you are thinking ten years ahead, plant a tree. 
 If you are thinking one hundred years ahead, educate the people. 
 By sowing a seed once, you will harvest once. 
 By planting a tree, you will harvest tenfold. 
 By educating the people, you will harvest one hundredfold."  (ANONYMOUS

("If it is not broken, don't fix it" leads to the worst situation.)