Sunday, January 27, 2008

Off to a good week: Suharto dead, Xenophobia rejected in Germany

This has been a good weekend for many people. Mr Suharto, the kleptocrat former Indonesian leader (and good friend of the USA) has at long last died. His policies were directly responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths, both in Indonesia as well as in East Timor. Naurally, in return for receiving support from the land of the free he promised to fight Communists (right wing dictators always fought Communists, didn't they?). Well, Indonesia failed to ever hold him and his fellow mass murdering kleptocrats to account for their deeds. At least he is gone. One can only hope that Indonesia's prosecutors will now try to get as much of the loot Suharto extracted from government coffers and foreign companies as is possible back from his family.

There has been more good news, xenophobia has been rejected by the electorate fairly powerfully in the German state of Hesse. The first minister, Roland Koch, ran a campaign against foreigners living and working in the state, linking them indiscriminately to violence, his opponents (you guessed it) to communism and so on and so forth. His party suffered today a double-digit loss in terms of voter support. It is reassuring that xenophobic policies don't go down too well in post-unification Germany.

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