Has it really been this long? 12 years since the bloody and deadly riot in Jakarta, one of the worst in history of this country. It was during May 14-15 when the riot became more wide spread and turned violent. So violent I could never see some of the photographs that were circulating on the internet some years ago.
What started as an outcry from the public from economic recession, national currency collapsed and prices of basic goods went sky rocketing. Students took to the street and voiced their protests to the then president, Soeharto. Two major universities lead the protest and the president ordered military to took over and four students were shot dead on May 12. It was after the funeral that the riots became violent. Mobs of people took to the street and starts burning cars, houses, targeting the Indonesian – Chinese. It was the time where large numbers of Indonesian – Chinese people made an emergency exodus.
At the time I was living in an all girls boarding house. The location wasn’t really that far from Jakarta’s downtown main streets where the riots and mob were burning and trashing buildings. After the call of prayer, a local mosque made an announcement asking the males to stay alert and be on the look out and for females to stays indoor.
The boarding house was a three stories building, obviously everyone around that areas knows it’s an all girls place. Some people on the second floors fled, these are the employees type of residents, they have money so they checked themselves to hotels, some went back to their parents house. Third floor were mostly occupied by students, like myself. We can’t go anywhere!
Cramped in one of my ‘housemate’ room, we all monitored the situation through a small radio. The mob was moving closer down to our area, burning stuffs right in front of a small police station nearby. Oh the horror…at the time we didn’t know about the killing and raping these mobs were doing. It wasn’t until the next day till we found out.
We stayed up all night, all lights were out as if the building was empty. None of us sleep that night.
More than 1,000 people were killed and more than 60 women and girls, mostly Indonesian – Chinese, were victims of gang rapes and other sexual violence during those days of bloodshed, arson and turmoil.
Sadly, 12 years later, 4 presidents later, this case is still unsolved. The master mind behind this cruel and violent acts are probably still roam around in and out of this country freely. Lest we forget!