Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Indonesia: The dark side

⊗ It doesn't take much scrutiny to see through the tropical paradise illusion of tourist information brochures and travel advertisements. While at first sight a relatively peaceful country - only shaken up by devastating earthquakes and tsunamis every now and then - Indonesia does have some serious human rights issues and nature conservation problems.

⊗ The main island Java in effect is nothing but a greedy colonial power ruling and exploiting the surrounding islands with total contempt. Draining them from their riches (e.g. wood, gold, oil) without putting anything back into the local economies. All that of course with the hypocritical taciturn approval and even active help from industrial nations.

⊗ Entire marine ecosystems are continuously threatened by international mining companies dumping toxic wastes directly into the sea.

⊗ Destructive fishing practices are still all too common all over the archipelago: (1) dynamite fishing is causing a lot of long-term reef damage, (2) live fish trade is threatening the survival of endangered species like the Napoleon wrasse, (3) cyanide fishing is ruining already hard hit habitats, (4) finning is decimating the few remaining sharks.

⊗ Corruption in Indonesia unfortunately is standard modus operandi on any official level. Meaning you can get away with anything as long as the bribe is adequate.

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