• Short Summary

    Doctor Achmed Sukarno, the man who led Indonesia for 21 years as President, lies fighting for his life in Djakarta hospital.

  • Description

    Doctor Achmed Sukarno, the man who led Indonesia for 21 years as President, lies fighting for his life in Djakarta hospital. The former head of state was rushed to hospital on Tuesday night (June 16) suffering from high blood pressure and a recurrence of the kidney trouble that plagued him during his last year as President. His second daughter said that his condition was critical and there was only a faint chance of survival.

    Doctor Sukarno was born on June 6, 1901 at Suradaya. After early schooling he went on to University and qualified as a civil engineer. Before war came to Indonesia, Sukarno led movements to gain independence for his country from Dutch colonial rule. His actions led to imprisonment and finally exile. In 1941 he returned to Djakarta and because of his background was named by the occupying Japanese to head a Government. Sukarno bided his time and at the end of the war declared Indonesia an independent republic....but there still wasn't peace for Indonesia.

    There were bloody clashed between Dutch troops and guerillas before Sukarno finally had his way and the Dutch pulled out. But the fighting was to leave a deep scar on Indonesia...a scar which is still being felt today. The guerillas tactics were to force the Dutch to leave by destroying factories, crops and keeping available labour to a minimum. The four years of destruction set the country;s development back many years and even today the country faces heavy economic problems.

    In 1949 Doctor Sukarno was named President and began instituting constitutional changes which made him a near-absolute ruler. He survived several attempts on his life and put down a series of local uprisings. He travelled abroad and sought to play a leading part in the groupings of non-aligned and Afro-Asian nations.

    But the attempted communist coup in 1965 brought the President's rule in question. The Indonesian army took over the reins of power, and in 1966 President Sukarno was called on to explain his part in the takeover bid. The result was virtually decided long before the Indonesian Parliament voted on Sukarno's future.

    Since 1966 powers given to Sukarno have gradually been whittled away. He has been under virtual house arrest for the past four years, and now President Sukarno, the man who was given the title of "President for Life", lies near death, a lonely, forgotten man.

    SYNOPSIS: Indonesia, 1945, and with the rest of the Pacific area adjusting to peace, fighting breaks out in Indonesia. Guerilla bands who only months before were fighting the Japanese now turn their attention to the Dutch who have ruled their country for hundreds of years. Behind the guerillas is Doctor Achmed Sukarno, the head of a Japanese installed Government, who took the opportunity to proclaim Indonesia a Republic when the Japanese were driven out. Independence was won after four years of bloody fighting and in 1949 Doctor Sukarno was sworn in as President.

    During the next 12 years, President Sukarno played East against West. He met Ho Chi Minh of North Vietnam in 1959 and sought to bring the non-aligned and Afro-Asian nations into groups. In 1961 he went to the United States and had talks with President Kennedy.

    But the world began to wonder what course Indonesia was taking when in 1962 fighting broke out in West New Guinea. Dutch forces were again opposed against the Indonesians who claimed the territory belonged to them. Finally the United Nations stepped in and arranged a settlement.

    But a year later Indonesia was again in the headlines. Malaysia had been set up and President Sukarno, claiming that it was a threat to his country, embarked his country on confrontation.

    President Sukarno claimed he would crush Malaysia by the start of 1965. But Australian, British and Malaysia troops fought hard in the jungles of Borneo and gradually wore down the Indonesian. A number of guerillas were captured.

    Confrontation came to an end after the abortive communist coup in 1965. The take over by the Indonesian army marked the start of the decline for President Sukarno. He was called before the Indonesian Parliament in 1966 to answer for his actions in the attempted coup and explain what part he played. He was dismissed from power and placed under what amounted to house arrest. His title of "President for Life" was taken away and gradually the ageing President fell into obscurity.

    Over the past four years there have been calls...particularly from students in Djakarta...for his exile. But now, as he lies near death, a broken and forgotten man, it appears no action will be necessary.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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