Taib, Lukman (2003) ACHEH: THE CASE AND THE CAUSE. Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 8 (1).

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The problems of political integration which make up the subject of this paper have a general relevance to the recently decolonized states of the world. Indonesia is a geographic expression, a product of Dutch colonization bringing together more than 13,000 islands with disparate histories, civilizations, cultures and languages.Its contemporary territorial form has been a product imposed by colonial governments, as Dr. Henry Kissinger, the former US Secretary of State, had correctly written: “Indonesia was nothing but a geographic expression until the Dutch found out it was more efficient to unite the islands of Indies under a single administration.”‘ This was the genesis of the “Indonesian nation”. Legitimacy, drawn from western ideas about self-determination, served to influence the mainstream of nationalism in Asia but at the same time also inspired sub-national sentiments among ethnic minorities. Political scientists have regarded that a sustaining identity on the part of ethnic minorities is perceived as a deviant political culture which strikes at the very roots of national existence, its perpetuation representing a challenge to the solidarity which is fundamental to the nationalist idea. Although there is no automatic connection between minority ethnic identity and the obstruction of a political integration, if the cultural character of the new state is promoted in such a way as to indicate that there is no place other than for the major ethnic group and those willing to assimilate its values, ethnic estrangement is to be expected. Where nationalist success becomes equated with majority dominance, political alienation will follow and the prospect for integration will be obstructed as ethnic particularism is reinforced through the actions of those who seek to deny it. Such an experience has not been uncommon in the region of Southeast Asia.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2013 06:32
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2013 06:32

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