Indonesia: Vengeance with a Smile

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The Ikeya-Seki comet appeared on Indonesia's eastern horizon early one morning last October. From the base of the volcano Agung, navel of creation and home of the Great Gods, the mystic prophets of the island of Bali watched it streak through the sky for ten days and were alarmed. It was an omen, they warned, of much death and change of government in the land.

The prophecy was all too accurate. Amid a boiling bloodbath that almost unnoticed took 400,000 lives, Indonesia, the sprawling giant of Southeast Asia, has done a...