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102 Foreign Aff. 180 (2023)
To Kill a Democracy: What a Mysterious Murder Says about Modern Indonesia

handle is hein.journals/fora102 and id is 182 raw text is: 


    To Kill a Democracy

       What a Mysterious Murder
       Says About Modern Indonesia

              KRITHIKA VARAGUR

We Have Tired of Violence: A True Story of Murder, Memory,
          and the Fight for Justice in Indonesia
     BY MATT   EASTON. New  Press, 2022,288 pp.

Indonesia   held its first direct pres-
    idential election in July 2004, and
    it was immediately classified as
one of the largest ever in world his-
tory: 121 million Indonesians voted
in the initial round, far outstripping
the 111 million Americans who had
voted in the 2000 U.S. presidential
election. But Indonesian democracy, at
that point, was still somewhat exper-
imental. After Indonesia achieved its
independence from the Netherlands
in 1949, its first president, Sukarno
(who, like many Indonesians, went by
one name), ushered in a brief period
of liberal parliamentary democracy.
That evolved into a more authoritar-
ian system known as guided democ-
racy, which sought to incorporate
traditional village consensus struc-
tures, but was cut short in 1965, when

army general Suharto took power in a
transition that included the killing of
up to a million suspected communists
and leftists. He ruled until 1998, when
mass protests and the Asian financial
crisis finally prompted him to resign.
  Both of the final presidential candi-
dates in 2004 had strong ties to those
tumultuous early years of the republic.
Megawati  Sukarnoputri, the incum-
bent president, was Sukarno's eldest
daughter. Her challenger, Susilo Bam-
bang Yudhoyono, a retired army gen-
eral, had served in the military under
Suharto. The huge, procedurally com-
plex election was an undeniable accom-
plishment for a six-year-old democracy.
But its results-Yudhoyono won, per-
petuating the Suharto-era military's
influence on electoral politics-were
somewhat less inspiring.


KRITHIKA  VARAGUR   is a writer in New York and the author of The Call: Inside the
Global Saudi Religious Project. She previously reported from Indonesia for The Guardian
and the Financial Times, among other news outlets.


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