Daily Video

July 22, 2011

Is Indonesia an Example for New Democracies?

Indonesia, an Islamic country with a population of 240 million people, is being held up as a possible example of a democracy for countries like Tunisia and Egypt that recently experienced revolutions. Although Indonesia’s economy has grown to one of the 20 largest in the world, the country is rarely discussed in the Western media and it still experiences considerable government corruption.

While some government leaders say Indonesia is headed in the right direction, others acknowledge there is still a massive gap between the rich and the poor. To make a career in government, people must be wealthy and pay people to help them along the way. Many of Indonesia’s poorest people feel they don’t matter to the government and therefore can’t work their way up.

However, after having experienced a series of deadly terrorist attacks, Indonesia has found effective ways to crack down on terrorism. They have kept attacks at bay by rigorously finding, arresting, trying and sometimes executing religious extremists who wish to do harm.

Young Indonesians continue to hope they will have better lives than their parents and that each generation will find a better life. But, many worry that unless their country starts listening to the concerns of the poor, the quality of life could decline for many.


“Islamic society in Indonesia has connected to the government and the other way around. Muslims are represented in the government and I think Muslims feel very free to give input.” – Imam H. Ali Hanifia

“In some ways almost because of substantial economic growth, people see income inequalities increasing and the corruption has just gotten completely out of hand.” – Sidney Jones, International Crisis Group

Warm Up Questions

1. What part of the world is Indonesia in?

2. What is corruption?

3. What is economic growth? How does it occur?

Discussion Questions

1. Why do you think Sidney Jones says in the video that economic growth is tied to income inequality and corruption? Why might there be a link between those things?

2. Why do you think it’s bad for a country’s development to have a large gap between rich and poor people?

3. Why do you think Indonesia isn’t talked about much in the news? What did you know about the country before you watched this video? What have you learned about it?

Additional Resources

Video Transcript

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Tsunami Disaster Stirs Massive Aid Effort

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