i THE SALINA JOURNAL INTERNATIONAL MONDAY, MAY 18, 1998 A5 UNREST IN INDONESIA Photos by The Associated Press A street vendor In Jakarta, Indonesia, walks Sunday through a shopping center destroyed In last week's riots. The nation's poor, desperate to make a living, are finding It difficult to pay recent price hikes for fuel and food. HOPELESS POOR Angry and afraid, Indonesia's have-nots fear the worst is yet to come By ROBERT HORN The Associated Press "AKARTA, Indonesia — After a week of rampaging through the streets, Jakarta's desperately poor have returned to their slums, still seething with frustration, still simmering with discontent. The violence that rocked the capital this week might have stopped, but few in the slums believe it is over. "Many people are still angry over the rising food prices," said Karno, an elderly resident of Penjaringan, a squa-lid community of about 15,000 near Jakarta's old port. Karno, like many Indonesians, have only one name. "But we aren't brave enough to blame the government," Karno said. "We don't have the guts." Instead, more than a thousand attacked nearby shops and a 27-story luxury apartment tower — symbols of wealth looming over their shantytown. The targets also were symbols of a life many were seeking when they migrated to Jakarta from poor towns and villages across Indonesia. It is a life they came to realize was simply unobtainable. But when the burning and looting was done, nothing had changed in Penjaringan. "I can't feed my family on what I make," said Boso, who is better off than many of his neighbors. Boso's nine children, some of them with hair turning shades of auburn from malnutrition, are crammed into a two-room plywood-and-metal shack on a dirt road alongside a stagnant stream congealed with garbage and sewage. "These are the worst times," said Komari, a vegetable seller who moved from the central Javanese city of Solo only to find disappointment and hardship. "We're hungry. We want reform." Indonesian President Suharto and his business cronies control most of the wealth of the country, which Is In economic ruins. It wasn't supposed to be that way. Indonesia under President Suharto until recently was considered one of Asia's — and the developing world's — great economic success stories. Despite rampant corruption and suppression of political dissent, Suharto could claim that he had brought economic development to the country, improving the lives of most Indonesians. "In 1970, Indonesia's poor population was 70 million, or 60 percent of the total population," Suhar- to boasted last year. "In 1996, the number declined to 11 percent, whereas population has risen from 116 million to 200 million." But the corruption and mismanagement caught up with Indonesia during Asia's economic meltdown. The Indonesian currency has plunged more than 70 percent. The price of food and other essentials has skyrocketed. "The absence of an equitable distribution may become the seed of social unrest that will lead to social upheaval and disintegration," Suharto said in his speech last year. Yet Suharto did little to prevent that seed from flowering. His family and business cronies control the bulk of Indonesia's wealth. On Sunday along Jalan Gajah Mada, a main commercial avenue, jittery merchants were painting "Native Indonesian. We Want Reform" on the gates of their shuttered shops. Many of the damaged stores were owned by members of Indonesia's Chinese minority, who dominate industry and commerce and often are scapegoats in tough economic times. Many of the poor are looking for a new target for their rage. "It is time for us to speak," said Karno of Pen- jaringan slum. "We are in a difficult situation. The government is responsible for this." Indonesia trouble • SUNDAY'S DEVELOPMENTS: Tanks and troops were deployed Sunday throughout the Indonesian capital of Jakarta in anticipation of demonstrations today at two mass funerals for victims of last week's rioting that left 500 dead. • WHAT'S BEHIND THE UNREST: Protests in this country of 200 million were fueled by students' calls for the president to ease his grip over this country, which is staggering under an economic crisis and beset with corruption in the government. • WHY IT'S IMPORTANT: More than half of all international shipping traverses Indonesian waters. For U.S. warships in the Pacific to make it to the Persian Gulf, they need Jakarta's permission to cross Indonesian waters. Lose 3 Dress Sizes In 30 Days! 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