#3 hits the dust RIP – Suharto at 87

During my 1973 summer tenure at the St. John of God Hospital overlooking Boston, my head porter’s observation about our guests clocking out in threes was proven time after time and continues to ring true as†this week the first two deceased,†Heath Ledger, Hollywood star, and Christian Brando, Marlon’s son, were rounded out by the demise of ex-President Suharto, whose 32-year dictatorship in Indonesia was one of the most brutal and corrupt of the 20th century. He was 86.


The ex-Japanese intelligence officer†seized power in a 1965 coup to pre-empt†a supposed communist take-over in 1965. I was 13. GW Bush was about the same age.

A YEAR LIVING DANGEROUSLY and RAINBOYS by Frank Worsdale chronicles Western experiences during that troubled time, however few Indonesians are willing to discuss†the†massacres following the anti-communist putsch against the PKI, especially on Bali.

Who knows what evil†lays in the heart of men?

The best secret is the one you never tell and no one’s saying anything about Suharto during the mourning period other than Dewi Sukarno.

Nothing about his family, nothing about the corruption, nothing about his being forced from office, when he said to his nation,†”I am sorry for my mistakes.”

“Regrets I have a few then again too few to mention.”

Indonesia has†200 million people comprising 300 ethnic groups speaking 250 languages and inhabiting more than 17,000 islands spread over an archipelago stretching 5,600 kilometers, or 3,500 miles.

I have trouble keeping evryone together for an outing for the beach.

So he like most people was a mix of the good, the bad, and the in-between. A Muslim with animist and Hindu beliefs. A good friend to the USA. Any anti-red was. I swore he was innocent of any corruption charges, despite his wife’s nickname of†”Madame Tien Percent.”. The family reputedly harvested over $35 billion from†paper, cement, plywood, cloves, toll roads, power plants, automobiles banks, and even condoms.

He was buried to the†background music, a dirge called “Falling Flowers,” about the death of a hero.

It will take some time before Indonesia decides whether the music fit the man.

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