INDONESIA: Beginning of Lightness

Mercurial President Soekarno was too preoccupied to comment. He was busy discussing his favorite hobby—painting—with a visiting artist. But elsewhere in Java last week Indonesians were delirious with joy. After 19 long months of bloody warfare, at least a measure of peace and independence had come to Indonesia.

For the first time in five years Batavia echoed to the burst of festive fireworks rather than lethal gunfire. Food parcels were distributed to the poor as the people prepared for a great selamatan (feast). Forgetting for once their mutual distrust, the city's rival Dutch and Indonesian mayors joined forces on the Palace...

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