INDONESIA: The Bleakest Day

In Djakarta schoolboys filled the sky with kites, and shops, taxis and streetcars blossomed out with flags to mark the twelfth anniversary of Indonesia's declaration of independence from The Netherlands.* Gazing out on the festive scene last week, the Times of Indonesia somberly declared: "This is perhaps the bleakest Independence Day we shall be celebrating."

The Times had in mind the election returns trickling in from provincial assembly elections in overcrowded Java, home of two-thirds of Indonesia's 80 million people. The provincial assemblies are primarily advisory and therefore not very consequential,...

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