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It is wrong, totally wrong to abandon Jakarta and try to build some Potemkin village in the middle of Borneo, an island known in Indonesia as Kalimantan.
There are many reasons why, and we will be addressing at least some of them here.
But before we begin, let us state the obvious: the cowardly and spineless Indonesian city planners, architects and recent graduates of thoroughly useless schools, are accepting this, so far, the most ridiculous and vile idea of President Jokowi's regime. And not only that: they are competing for a piece of the pie, advancing their 'ideas', justifying their collaboration with statements like: "Well, the government already decided to do it, so at least we should try to create the best design possible".
Needless to say, that the Indonesian city planners have already created some of the most monstrous, unlivable cities on earth. These individuals generally fall into two categories: either they work for private, thuggish companies, or for the government, which had already, a long time ago, abandoned the entire urban design to the "market". It is a vicious circle. In fact, the Indonesian government serves private business and military interests, and so do, by extension, the Indonesian government officials, including 'academics' and mass media.
The results are clear: those nihilist and corrupt Indonesian elites and their monstrous cities, where nothing is public, where there are almost no green areas, but plenty of worshipped slums (artificially glorified shantytowns - kampungs), and millions of repulsive buildings and houses designed by talentless architects, a desperate lack of an urban. Cities that are desperately lacking culture and beauty; cities with almost no public transportation, with open sewers, and privatized utilities.
Jakarta is dying. It is collapsing, sinking.
For decades, these facts used to be denied, hidden, covered up. Often it felt that I was the only writer ready to expose the horrors of Indonesian cities. Now, suddenly, even the Western media, always so supportive of the Indonesian fundamentalist capitalism, cannot hide the truth, anymore. Recently, article after article are being published, exposing the nightmare.
From the left, Socialist Worker wrote:
"Jakarta is a capital city that is literally sinking. Under the weight of pollution and rising sea levels, Indonesia's government has decided to simply pack up and move elsewhere.
"They, along with 1.5 million government workers, will soon be headed for the island of Borneo.
"The rest of Jakarta's 30 million residents will be abandoned to live in a hugely polluted, impoverished and sinking city.
"It's a horrifying illustration of how our rulers want to preserve 'business as usual' while they leave ordinary people to suffer the reality of climate crisis.