Today the Ritz Carlton and the Marriott Hotel in downtown Jakarta have been bombed. The office I am working out of is around 300 yards away. We went there and I was interviewed by a couple of people and was also able to take some close up footage until security told me to and everyone that in order for them to continue the investigation, everyone had to leave the premises.
Jakarta, Indonesia has been without a major attack for 5 years and this has happened only a few days after the general election. The president went on the air and in a press conference told the country not to jump to conclusions.
The bomb layer has been captured on video, but his identity is not yet clear.
What is obvious is that the targets have been selected to make an international statement.
Many of my business partners have been to the Ritz Carlton and the Marriott Hotel restaurants to have breakfast with colleagues and business partners and of course, the attackers knew that attacking two major American hotel chains would make it to the international news.
I was interviewed for both, American radio and newspapers such as Jakarta Globe as well as Indonesian television about subjects such as how this might change international investor relations. The way I look at it is that Indonesians need to take charge of their country and learn to take new responsibility as in the past there has been a dictatorship. Now in a democracy, the country is still young and this needs to be recognized as a stepping stone to show the world that this country is on the right track and will prosecute the attackers to the fullest and use this as a milestone to show terrorists that they do not have any place within the society.
Jakarta is now quiet.
It wasn’t this morning. We will continue writing more about this on Indonesiatogo.com.
What surprises me is how people in Indonesia are so quiet about it. Driving back to my place here in the outskirts of Jakarta and passing the crime scene once again, it seems as if nothing has happened and people here are so busy with their everyday life trying to survive, that this is not even that big of a deal to them.
This is what happens when people are being kept at an existence minimum. They are not interested in the events happening on earth, even when one of the main events in the world happened only half a mile from their house. Whether or not this government is able to put this to an end which is satisfactory to the rest of the world is yet to be seen, but whether or not the government makes this a priority and successfully goes after the attackers, is going to have a huge impact on the future of Indonesia.
The government is mostly Muslim, but also has Christians and while some of the members of parliament are eager to change the country, others are willing to turn blind eyes to events which should be given priority.
This is a good vs evil sort of battle. What I am missing in the press conference from the President is anger. I would be outraged and I am. He seemed very calm, but then again, the mentality of Indonesians is less adrenalized than let’s say people from the US. I am more interested in hearing from powerful Indonesians in regards as to what they think their government needs to do different to not let this happen again, but so far I have only heard from Theo, a Christian member of the Indonesian parliament vehemently expressing the need of Indonesians to take action against people who want to set the country back.
Locally the theories regarding the attack range from people wanting to destroy the economy of Indonesia to Islam radicals to people who are upset about the outcome of the recent election.
On video the bomber was seen and it appeared to be that he easily walked by security despite of the fact that normally you cannot even bring a laptop in there without it being examined, but this guy just walked past and it makes you wonder who got paid what to allow him to have access to one of the places which has already been victim of a bombing attack in 2004 where over 100 people lost their lives.
Back then it was a Muslim radicals group. A new anti terror squad has been created back then with a lot of help with the Australian Federal Police which Indonesians appear to credit with a lot of the positive changes and also additional training for Indonesian army and police forces to be better prepared and able to prevent future attacks. British and American help have also been provided and cooperation between Indonesia and the rest of the world appeared to be at an alltime high.
Mike Dammann in front of the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Jakarta.
Mike Dammann in front of JW Marriot, Jakarta.
Mike Dammann interviewed by an Indonesian news channel.
Mike Dammann interviewed by Jakarta Globe.
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