9/11 conspiracy theories: Where were you when you heard your first one?All right, now that I am done with my public service announcement, let me move on to the discussion of what people here in Indonesia think about the 9/11, 10 years after the events.
"9/11 Truth" movement: How Alex Jones and Michael Ruppert founded it.
9/11 conspiracism: How the Iraq war contributed to its rise.
9/11 "Truth": How believers in the 9/11 conspiracy theory respond to refutations.
9/11 Truth: How conspiracy theorists react to apostates like Charlie Veitch.
9/11 Truth: Why Osama Bin Laden's death won't kill the conspiracy theories.
A quick glance to today's newspaper shows that aside from the English-speaking newspapers such as the Jakarta Post or the Jakarta Globe, none of them, including the highly influential Kompas, devoted anything related to 9/11 - except the news about the U.S. looking for two al-Qaeda bombers. Maybe there will be some discussions about it after the 9/11 ceremonies in the U.S., but it is safe to say that at this point, the idea of remembrances to 9/11 is basically nonexistent in Indonesia .
Instead, I think there will be a remembrance on October 12, in the memory of the notorious 2002 Bali Bombings that killed 202 people and injured 240 more.
I'd hazard to guess, that there are many reasons for that. First, 9/11 did not affect Indonesia. It happened in the U.S.
Second, 9/11 turned into a major policy blunder for Indonesia. While President Megawati signaled her sympathy to the US, politicians hoping to court the fabled Moslem votes later declared their opposition to the U.S. invasion on Afghanistan. Vice President Hamzah Haz was especially adamant, declaring that "there is no terrorist in Indonesia."
Of course, the swirling conspiratorial theories, ranging from the "missing 4,000 Jews" to the "internal demolition," fueled by the 9/11 truthers that were discussed in the Slate articles mentioned above, helped to undermine any trust in the United States. The Afghanistan and Iraq wars were just the icing on the top of the cake. Many newspapers did print outright the idiocy spewed by the 9/11 truther sites, and both Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky really helped in undermining U.S. policies in Indonesia thanks to their short-sighted bash Bush agenda.
It was only the Bali Bombing that jolted Indonesians, confirming the idea that there were terrorists in their midst. In a kind of poetic justice, both Megawati and Hamzah Haz were decisively defeated by Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who showed his bold leadership in dealing with the aftermath of the bombing.
In short, for Indonesians, they have their own "9/11" moment, and the fact that it happened at all shows the failure of Indonesia's leadership, and it's probably not something that people would like to remember at all.
UPDATE (9/12): there is one article in the bottom-right part of Kompas front page on America's commemoration of the 9/11 attacks. At the same time, Kompas also published an opinion piece written by Ivan A. Haidar, with the title of "the Mystery of September 11, 2001." Don't bother reading it, as it is full of conspiratorial rubbish that was dealt with properly in those Slate articles that I quoted above. I am actually surprised that Kompas, which is supposed to be the newspaper of the intellectuals in Indonesia, would publish it.
On another note, Dr. Salim Said, a colleague of mine who also graduated from The Ohio State University, gave a good explanation of 9/11 conspiracy theories on Indonesian TVOne. I think he read the Slate links that I forwarded to him yesterday.