“Senior Amnesty figure arrested in Indonesia for singing famous protest song”

The Guardian:

An Amnesty board member has been arrested by Indonesian police after a video of him singing a protest song critical of the country’s military was circulated online.

This is clearly bullshit, and the details don’t make it any more palatable.

The well-known activist is being charged under Indonesia’s controversial electronic information and transactions law, which is increasingly being used to prosecute and silence government critics.


At the event on 28 February, Robet sang a song that was popular among student protestors in 1998, when massive demonstrations led to the fall of authoritarian dictator Suharto, who ruled Indonesia for more than three decades.

Robet’s song was meant as a criticism of the government’s recent plan to move unemployed military generals into civil institutions to address an institutional surplus.

I suppose I could look at the silver lining: there are unemployed military generals. That’s small comfort, though, if they’re being reemployed as bureaucrats in an increasingly obviously authoritarian civilian government. Apparently some Indonesians feel the same way, and apparently the Indonesian government doesn’t see the irony in oppressing people for warning it might become oppressive.

My extreme skepticism of the Indonesian government is leavened only by my skepticism of the news media. There’s this, for example:

The national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said on Thursday that Robet is being investigated for hate speech and faces up to two years in prison if convicted.

My command of the Indonesian language is nil, so I have no way of checking how closely the spokesvermin’s words translate to “hate speech” even if the story had linked to a primary source. I can’t help but notice, though, that the story is stuffed with keywords that catch the eye of civil libertarians, and I can’t help but wonder whose agenda the writer is trying to support.

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