Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

Indonesia and Egypt separated at birth? No, just completely separate.

Next Previous

Page 3 of 5

About these ads

Sidel's comparison of the revitalization of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) under Megawati Sukarnoputri in the early to mid-1990s and the rise of the Kifaya (Enough) movement in Mubarak's final years is also misplaced.

Megawati, as the daughter of Indonesia's founding president Sukarno, had an almost pre-fab cult of personality around her, with many early supporters muttering that she had some of her father's mystical aura. The PDI was one of two opposition political parties legally tolerated by Soeharto, and he allowed her to take the reins, reasoning that a poorly-educated and inexperienced housewife would prove easy to control.

Soeharto's guess was wrong, mostly because an ambitious group of reformers hitched themselves to Megawati's star and started real opposition politics as Soeharto's family members began jockeying to succeed the aging leader.

She was eventually removed as the head of the party, though perhaps had the last laugh when she became Indonesia's president in 2001. Once in power, she demonstrated autocratic tendencies, a hyper-nationalism that sought to forgive human rights abuses by the Indonesian military, and an unwillingness to take steps that might effect the power and privilege of the Indonesian elite she'd been born into.

The Kifaya movement in Egypt was a far looser protest movement opposed to the continued rule of Mubarak and the obvious plans the regime was laying for succession by his son, Gamal (another superficial, but not particularly interesting parallel with Soeharto; despots frequently like dynastic succession). But Kifaya hasn't existed in any real sense for years, never had a unifying political personality like "Mother Mega" (as her fans called her), and the activists that worked with it years ago have splintered into various political camps – socialist, Islamist, etc... since.

Immediate aftermath

Next Previous

Page 3 of 5

Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.