19 January 2016
Jakarta was rocked by two bomb explosions in its business and shopping district last Thursday, accompanied by an attack on a police post and a Starbucks cafe using improvised grenades and home-made handguns.
Four attackers and four civilians were killed, and more than 20 people injured. The Indonesian police as well as the propaganda machinery of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have claimed that followers of ISIS were responsible. Although the intention was to cause mass casualties like the Paris attacks in November last year, the lack of training and inadequate weapons resulted in minimal damage.
One significant lesson which could be drawn is the importance of developing societal resilience. Ordinary people as well as celebrities and politicians in Jakarta sharply criticised the attacks. Unlike in previous attacks from 2002 to 2009, I received a stream of messages on social media condemning the attacks, drawing attention to the incompetence of the perpetrators, forwarding jokes which undermined the intentions of the attackers and stressing their solidarity with the victims. If the intention was to cause ordinary people to cower in fear, the attackers failed.
… The writer is Distinguished Fellow, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University. He was Singapore’s Ambassador to Indonesia from 1986 to 1993
RSIS / Online / Print
Last updated on 19/01/2016