21 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 outlet using improvised grenades and home-made handguns. Four civilians were killed, along with four of the attackers, while more than 20 persons were injured. The Indonesian police as well as the propaganda machine of the Islamic State (IS) have claimed that followers of IS were responsible. Although the intention was to cause the mass casualties seen in the Paris attacks of November 13, the terrorists’ lack of training and inadequate weapons resulted in far fewer lives lost.
One significant lesson that can be drawn from last Thursday’s attacks is the importance of developing societal resilience. Ordinary people joined celebrities and politicians in Jakarta in condemning the attacks. In a departure from the response to terrorist atrocities between 2002 and 2009, they broadcast messages on social media that drew attention to the incompetence of the perpetrators and stressed solidarity with the victims. If their intention was to cause ordinary citizens to cower in fear, the attackers failed.
… Barry Desker is a distinguished fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University. He was Singapore’s ambassador to Indonesia from 1986 to 1993.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 21/01/2016