23 January 2016
Hours after Islamic State (ISIS) militants struck central Jakarta with bombs and gunfire last Thursday, bird-meat seller Karim wheeled his pushcart to his usual spot, some 200m away from the site of the attack, despite being “a bit afraid”.
Business was poor that day as people stayed away. But the initial shock from the transnational militant group’s first major strike in South-east Asia, a game changer for the region’s security outlook, quickly faded for Mr Karim and most Indonesians.
“My friends are still running their businesses and I just did the same,” said the 38-year-old a day after the attack. “No, I’m not afraid now.”
Neither, apparently, were thousands of Jakarta residents, who turned up en masse at the blast site near the popular Sarinah mall in a defiant show of solidarity and what experts consider the resilience of Indonesian society.
“Indonesian society is far more resilient than outsiders realise, for the reason that Indonesians have been exposed to all kinds of calamities from earthquakes (to) tsunamis and political upheavals,” said Associate Professor Farish Ahmad-Noor of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) at the Nanyang Technological University.
Such resilience, he and other analysts suggest, will likely help dampen the appeal of ISIS in the world’s largest Muslim country, Indonesia.
GPO / Online / Print
Last updated on 25/01/2016