Not yet a dream; no longer a nightmare
May 22nd 2008 | JAKARTA
From The Economist print edition
A boom in satire marks a decade of sturdy democracy
AMIEN RAIS, a leader of the mass protest movement that brought down the authoritarian Suharto regime ten years ago this week, is being interrogated on a television satire show, “Republik Mimpi” (“Republic of Dreams”) by two impressionists dressed as President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his vice-president, Jusuf Kalla. “Why is your new book called ‘Save Indonesia’?” harrumphs the fictional vice-president, “Don’t you think we are already doing everything possible to save it?” The studio audience titters. Moments later, tvOne, the station airing the show, cuts in with an apt but genuine news flash about big demonstrations erupting against the decision by the real-life president and his deputy to slash fuel subsidies, to save the country from financial ruin.
AMIEN RAIS是印尼群众抗议运动的领导人，十年前的这个星期正是他把独裁者苏哈托拉下了台。此刻他正在参加一个电视政治讽刺节目——“满怀梦想的共和国”，节 目的主角是两个穿着像总统苏西洛和副总统Jusuf Kalla的模仿者。“副总统”低声下气的问：“为什么你的新书叫拯救印尼?难道你不认为我们为了拯救它已经采取了一切可能的措施吗？”。场下的观众暗自 发笑，就在此时电视台把镜头切入一个做得很逼真的新闻flash短片，内容是关于抵制现实生活中的总统和他的副手作出的削减石油补助以避免财政破产决定的 大型示威游行。
Lampooning those in authority would have been unthinkable in Suharto’s time. Even now, the creators of “Republic of Dreams” have struggled to keep their show on the air. It moved to tvOne in February, the second time it has switched channels, after its previous broadcasters found it a bit too hot to handle. Remarkably, its new station is part-owned by the family of Aburizal Bakrie, a government minister and businessman who has often been the butt of the show’s humour. Effendi Gazali, the show’s creator, says Mr Bakrie will have to endure being sent up on his own station, “or we’ll quit!”
这种讽 刺官方的行为在苏哈托时代是不可想象的。即使今天，“Republic of Dreams”的创办人也是费尽艰辛地确保节目的播出。二月份这个节目转到tvOne电视台播放，这已是第二次更换播放频道了，前一个电视台认为这个节目 太火以至于难以掌控。引人注目的是新电视台部分归Aburizal Bakrie家族所有，他是政府部长兼商人，也是节目中被嘲弄的常客。该节目的创办人Effendi Gazali说Bakrie先生必须能忍受他出现在自己的电视台上，“否则我们退出。”
Some politicians moaned that the show flouted Indonesian cultural traditions of respect for authority. However, says Mr Gazali, a poll in 2006 found that only about one-fifth of the public—mostly the elderly—bought this self-serving argument. The programme’s success has spawned imitators on other channels.
In two rulings, in December 2006 and July 2007, the Constitutional Court struck out clauses in the criminal code that had made it a crime to insult senior figures. Undeterred, officials have dredged up other obscure clauses to have several journalists jailed over critical articles about them. But the chances are that the court will strike these down too, when it hears the journalists’ petitions, and that those in power will have to get used to criticism.
官方两度压制这种节目，2006年12 月和2007年7月，宪法法院援引刑法典条例判定侮辱高级官员是犯罪行为。这并没有镇住媒体，于是官员们又搜罗出一些模棱两可的条款把几个记者投入监狱， 只因这些记者发表了针对官员批评性文章。但法院很有可能认定政府的行为非法，而且手握权力的人总有一天会习惯于听到对他们的批评。
The tenth anniversary of Suharto’s downfall, just four months after the former president’s death, has prompted a debate over how far democracy has progressed in Indonesia—the most populous Muslim-majority state, with 226m people. Besides a free press, the country now has vigorously contested elections at all levels, from president down to village chief. All the main parties, including several that are nominally Islamist, seem committed to pluralism. In its annual report in January, Freedom House, an American think-tank, rated Indonesia the only “free” country in South-East Asia.
今年恰逢苏哈托下台十周年，在此之前四个月他已经去世了，这引发了一场关于印尼到底在多 大程度上实现了民主的辩论。这是人口最多的穆斯林国家，总人口达两亿两千六百万。除了有自由的媒体，这个国家在各个层面都有竞争激烈的选举，上至总统，下 至村长。所有政党，包括几个声称是伊斯兰教主义者的政党，看起来都致力于多元化。美国智库Freedom House一月份发布的年度报告把印尼评为东南亚唯一“自由”的国家。
Although Suharto’s authoritarianism is a distant nightmare, Indonesia is not yet a dream republic, hence the ironic title of Mr Effendi’s show. Demos, a Jakarta think-tank, this month published a survey of over 900 Indonesian “experts” on the state of democracy in the country. They concluded that it is now as entrenched as it is in India and that the openness and honesty of state institutions is improving. However, despite the recent victories for press freedom, Demos noted a deterioration in other liberties since its last survey, in 2003-04, notably religious freedom.
尽管苏哈托的独裁统治已是逐渐远去的噩梦，但印尼还不是一个美梦般的共和国， Effendi先生的节目名字正是这样得来的。本月雅加达智库Demos发布了一份针对900多位对印尼目前的民主状况有研究的“专家”进行的调查报告。 结论是印尼目前的民主已如印度一样不可更改，政府机构的公开性和诚实度也正在改进。但是，尽管最近媒体自由取得了进步，Demos还指出了自其03-04 年度报告以来其他自由权利的倒退，尤其是宗教自由。
A topical example of this is the demand by a semi-official group of Muslim clerics to ban Ahmadiyah, a “heretical” sect. Mr Yudhoyono at first intended to go along with this proposal, to appease the small but aggressive Islamist minority. Now, after an outcry by liberals, the president is dithering—his default mode.
As its parliament shows, Indonesia has a secular-minded and fairly liberal majority. But Eva Sundari, an opposition lawmaker and one of Demos’s panel of experts, worries that progressives are failing to find a common voice against a few “very organised and systematic” religious conservatives. These now represent the main menace to Indonesia’s development as an open society.
It used to be the army that was the main threat to democracy. In Suharto’s day it dominated politics. Not any more. Generals sometimes grumble about modern freedoms, and some may run in next year’s elections on a ticket of nostalgia for the strict “order” of pre-1998 days. But Mr Rais reckons the top brass realises democracy is the only option.
There has still been no justice for the many victims of the Suharto era. And, especially in distant bits of the Indonesian archipelago, such as Papua, abuses by the security forces continue. On May 16th a United Nations report noted that torture of suspects remains widespread. The soldiers have lost political clout but are still capable of closing ranks to preserve their impunity. Nevertheless, there is nothing like the systematic, top-down repression of pre-democratic times.
但是许多苏哈托时 代的受害者并没有得到平反。而且在那些天高皇帝远的印尼群岛，比如巴布亚，强力部门仍在继续滥用权力。5月16日，一份联合国报告指出刑讯逼供的现象仍广 泛存在。军人虽然失去了政治影响力，但仍然有能力抱成一团不受惩罚。然而前民主时代那种系统的组织严密的镇压已经不存在了。
The army has left politics since Suharto’s downfall. But his party, Golkar, is still very much around. A common worry on democracy’s tenth birthday is that rich politician-businessmen, especially in Golkar (Mr Bakrie and Mr Kalla are two prime examples), can lavish big money on election campaigns to keep themselves in power.
Fortunately, this does not always work: in an election in West Java last month, a young candidate from a small, moderate Islamic party beat big guns from Golkar and other main parties.
Indonesia’s courts, prosecutors and police are still subject to political meddling. Powerful people get lenient treatment, whereas the ordinary people who annoy them are sometimes punished harshly—a man from Maluku province recently got a life sentence for waving a separatist flag at the president. Much still needs fixing in Indonesian democracy. But at least it seems pretty secure. And in the meantime, the satirists are not short of material.
但是印尼的法院，检察官和警察仍不够独立。有权有势的人往往能得到宽大处理，然而让当权者 讨厌的普通百姓时常受到严厉惩罚。最近一个来自Maluku省的人被判处终身监禁，只因他当着总统的面打出分裂主义旗帜。印尼民主还有很长的路要走，但至 少民主已不可动摇，同时政治讽刺作家也不缺少素材。