Thursday, October 05, 2006

Sept 13, 2006--On the Street Poll

Bush isn’t Heard in Jakarta


Wednesday, September 13, 2006, 4:39 PM Local Time

JAKARTA – A person-on-the-street poll conducted today at lunch time in Jakarta’s bustling business district failed to find a single person who agreed with American President George W. Bush’s recent claim that the United States is in a “struggle for civilization.”

Asked whether they agree with the president’s statement, 100 percent of the respondents answered negatively. According to some of the responses to this limited-in-scope poll the president is actually in a struggle for creditability.

“The truth is the opposite,” one young businessman said. “It should be that he’s in a battle to destroy civilization. He has made numerous problems throughout the world… I do not think he respects other cultures and civilizations.”

The Hezbollah/Israeli conflict was sited by one middle-aged lady in today’s noon-time poll as a reason to not support the president’s opinion. She said, “Civilization is alright. His words are just to get more support for what he did, like attacking Lebanon, and what he might do next. Who knows? He may, may, want to attack Indonesia to save our civilization. His words are only camouflage.”

America isn’t in a struggle for civilization,” another respondent replied. “[Bush] is in a struggle for power, for his power and to spread America’s power over the world.”

A Japanese housewife who said she has lived in the tropical nation for nearly three years seemed shocked by the question answering, “America thinks that its democracy is the best way for all countries. But it’s not right. There are many different types of traditions and governments that work for different countries.”

In the address from the Oval Office, Bush made the comment towards the end of a demanding day in which he had honored the memory of the attacks by visiting New York City, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania. Rocking the world, these attacks proved to be the genesis to the lengthy and controversial war against terror. “This struggle has been called a clash of civilizations,” the American leader said. “In truth, it is a struggle for civilization.”

The president’s address continued, “We are fighting to maintain the way of life enjoyed by free nations. And we're fighting for the possibility that good and decent people across the Middle East can raise up societies based on freedom and tolerance and personal dignity.”

In the congested streets of Jakarta, the president’s definition of the war on terror failed to resonate. None of those questioned said that they were even aware of his speech which had been carried live on cable and satellite international television channels in this capital city of twelve million.

The results show that there may have been a backslide to the recent climb in support for America in Indonesia. In a nationwide poll by Terror Free Tomorrow conducted throughout the world’s largest Muslim country at the end of January 2006 support for the United States had risen to 44 percent. This was the highest it had been since September 11, 2001. This increase had largely been accredited to American humanitarian aid to tsunami victims 12 months previously.

Today’s poll was carried out by KAPress with one Japanese and nine Indonesian adults being questioned on Jalan Sudirman Boulevard in Central Jakarta.

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