Ah, this is like a tall, cold glass of water in a barren wasteland:
Indonesia’s Democratic Miracle
by Kishore Mahbubani
JAKARTA – Modern miracles do happen. Ten years ago, as the Asian financial crisis savaged Indonesia’s economy, many experts predicted that the country would become unstable, if not splinter. Instead, Indonesia, the world’s most populous Islamic country, has emerged as a beacon of freedom and democracy for the Muslim world. What happened? And why hasn’t the world taken note? …
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono deserves great credit for this remarkable success. Under his leadership, the long-standing and painful Aceh conflict was peacefully resolved. Some credit the 2004 tsunami, which killed hundreds of thousands of Acehnese, for this breakthrough. But Sri Lanka was hit equally hard by the tsunami, and since then the Sinhalese-Tamil conflict has worsened. …
In recent years, the Indonesian military has provided a model for other Third World military forces on how to accept a transition to a full democracy. There are no threats of a coup d’état, and senior generals, such as Bambang, who studied in American military colleges, returned to Indonesia as convinced democrats.
It is a tragedy that ignorance of how much Indonesia has changed is being allowed to endanger its democratic development – and its role as a beacon of freedom and hope in the Islamic world. It is to be hoped that Barack Obama, should he win America’s presidency, will recall the tolerant Indonesia where he grew up and shape policies toward it accordingly.
And this is another tall, cold glass of water in another sort of barren wasteland:
I know this is a winner because my soul sang along.
(For some reason, this bit brings to mind a dipping dance for two in white. I’ll leave the inconsequential details in my mind’s eye.)