Last year a former Indonesian dictator named Mohammed Suharto passed away at the age of 86.
Suharto of Indonesia, whose 32-year dictatorship was one of the most brutal and corrupt of the 20th century…was driven from office in 1998 by widespread rioting, economic paralysis and political chaos. His rule was not without accomplishment; he led Indonesia to stability and nurtured economic growth. But these successes were ultimately overshadowed by pervasive and large-scale corruption; repressive, militarized rule; and a convulsion of mass bloodletting when he seized power in the late 1960s that took at least 500,000 lives.
The man shown above, known as the 'smiling general' who in 1966 would soon arrange to have himself elected president in the fourth most populous country in the world, bears a striking resemblance to another man, whom at 47 entered his first term as president in the planet's third most inhabited country.
Nine months prior to Obama’s August 1961 birth, Suharto was leading an Indonesian army intelligence unit in Dutch New Guinea, just Southeast of what was then the border of Indonesia.
In 1960, Suharto was in command of the Army Strategic Reserve Command (Kostrad), a special military unit formed to recover West New Guinea in the unsuccessful Operation Mandala to drive the Dutch out.
In West New Guinea, the majority of the population are Papuans whose physical traits share characteristics with the people of East Africa, where they are believed to have migrated from tens of thousands of years ago. If commander Suharto were to have produced a son with a Papuan woman, he would have been slightly more dark skinned with tightly curled hair.
However, by 1960 Suharto had been married to his wife Siti for 13 years and already had four children together.
During the Revolution, Suharto married Siti Hartinah (known as Madam Tien), who was the daughter of a minor noble in the Mangkunegaran royal house of Solo. The arranged marriage was enduring and supportive, lasting until Tien's death in 1996. The couple had six children: Siti Hardiyanti Rukmana (Tutut, born 1949), Sigit Harjojudanto (born 1951), Bambang Trihatmodjo (born 1953), Siti Hediati (Titiek, born 1959), Hutomo Mandala Putra (Tommy, born 1962), and Siti Hutami Endang Adiningsih (Mamiek, born 1964). Within the Javanese upper class, it was considered acceptable if the wife pursued genteel commerce to supplement the family budget, allowing her husband to keep his dignity in his official role.
If the ambitious Suharto were to have been caught in an extramarital relationship, it surely would have struck a blow to his family and career. Thus, the commander would likely have kept the young child hidden.
By 1963, Suharto was back in Jakarta where he was placed in charge of an army command unit. Two years after that he would seize power.
In 1963, as Indonesia edged toward economic and political disaster, he was put in charge of the army’s strategic command, a special force kept on alert for national emergencies, based in Jakarta.
By 1965, the armed forces split into two factions, one a radical left wing and the other a conservative right wing, with Suharto in the conservative camp. In October 1965, Suharto successfully suppressed a dissident coup d'état. After the botched coup, Suharto, then a senior general, led a counter-coup, then a military takeover in Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital.
When 1966 came, a hypothetical illegitimate child born in West New Guinea in August 1961 would have enrolled in kindergarten. If Suharto did not want the public to know of his relationship to the little one, he would have to find a confidant to adopt him. A prime candidate would have been Lolo Soetoro, who was a liaison under Suharto living nearby at the time.
Coincidentally, in the summer of 1966 only weeks before the hypothetical Papuan child would have turned five years old, Lolo Soetoro adopted a boy of partial African descent named Barry .
According to Dreams from My Father, Obama was four when he met Lolo Soetoro; his mother married Soetoro shortly thereafter; and Obama was already registered for school when he and his mother relocated to Jakarta, where Soetoro was an oil-company executive and liaison to the Suharto government.
In 1966, Suharto was establishing control of Indonesia and had the country's prior leader, Sukarno, removed from power. He would arrange to have himself elected president the following year, as the young Barry was entering first grade.
The confrontation with Malaysia, initiated by Sukarno, ended and Suharto reestablished relations with Western powers, the United States in particular, while ties with China were suspended. Suharto consolidated his power and became the final arbiter of all political decisions.
On March 12, 1967, Suharto was installed as the acting president by the House of Assembly.
That Fall, only months after Suharto had become president, while attending primary school at Fransiskus Asisi in Central Jakarta, Barry wrote a paper titled 'I want to become president'. Forty-one years later his former teacher, Mrs. Dharmawan, would reflect on it.
Israella Dharmawan, Barry’s former teacher at Fransiskus Asisi and an avid follower of the U.S. election, said she was proud and touched by Barry’s win.
...“I remember he once wrote two stories titled ‘My mother, my idol’ and ‘I want to be a president’,” she said.
Did Barry's desire at six years old to become president arise from his relationship to the man who had just assumed that role in the country of his residence, Indonesia?
During last year’s U.S. presidential campaign season, the mainstream media briefly showed interest in Obama’s Indonesian primary schooling when it was charged that he had attended a madrassa.
While the madrassa claim was refuted, the brief examination found that he had been registered under the name ‘Barry Soetoro’ and that he spent about four years between two schools in Jakarta. Considering that when he entered fifth grade in Hawaii in 1971 he was 10 years old, this fits with the timeline that he attended grades one through four from 1967 to 1971 in Jakarta. It has been reported that he also attended kindergarten in Jakarta at Fransiskus Asisi in 1966.
Barry's stepfather Lolo Soetoro became engaged in 1967 to a woman named Ann who taught English at the U.S. embassy in Jakarta. They married and lived together throughout Barry's years of Indonesian primary school.
This account directly contradicts Obama's notion, repeated in Tuesday's speech, that he was raised by a single mother.
I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn’t always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I didn’t fit in.
In fact, Ann would remain married to Lolo until 1980, when Barry was nineteen years old. Thus, as a matter of legal record, from the time Barry was no more than six years old until adulthood his mother was not single.
Did Suharto arrange the marriage of Lolo, who was one of his aides, with Ann, whom he knew from the embassy and would have then adopted Barry?
As for the assertion that Barry did not fit in with his classmates, a local editor in Jakarta wrote that he 'could have been mistaken for an Indonesian from Maluku'.
Moreover, he could have been mistaken for a relative of the late Suharto. Barry could even pass as the half-brother of the Indonesian president's son, Tommy, who is separated from him in age by only one year.
Like his father and Barry, Tommy Suharto is politically ambitious. Just two days ago, his intention was declared to run for the position of chairman in a major Indonesian party which the elder Suharto used to lead.
Seeking a new role on the national political stage, the youngest son of the late former president Soeharto, Hutomo “Tommy” Mandala Putra, officially declared his bid for the post of Golkar Party chief on Tuesday.
It is also his first appearance in front of the Golkar Party, which helped his father rule the country for 32 years, after serving his jail sentence in 2006 over the murder of a Supreme Court judge.
...Calling his program “Trikarya”, Tommy also vowed to bring back the “glory days” of Golkar under the New Order era, and transform it into an independent and dynamic party after its three defeats in the 1999, 2004 and 2009 general elections.
Again like his father, Tommy has been involved in corruption. He was released from prison in 2006 after serving a partial sentence for plotting the murder of a Supreme Court judge.
Tommy was conditionally released from jail in 2006 after he had served only a third of his original sentence for plotting the murder of a Supreme Court justice who had convicted him in another graft case.
So what is to be drawn from these inferences? Did Indonesian president Soeharto instruct his aide Lolo to keep secret the birth of an illegitimate son? Would this include hiding from the boy that his mother adopted him? What type of cover story would Soeharto have come up with?
It would have been necessary to tell the son that his biological father lived abroad and was out of the picture prior to a time when Barry would have formed a living memory of him. This is similar to the tale told of Barack Obama Sr., who never stepped foot into Indonesia.
Strangely, although Obama Sr. graduated at 17 years old from the well-renowned Maseno National School in Kenya in 1953, he was reported to not have gone to the University of Hawaii until 1959, when he got an academic scholarship despite having been out of school for six years.
His interracial marriage with Ann was rare, even in Hawaii. At the time it would have been illigal in half of the U.S. states, Hawaii not included. Less than 1% of the residents of the state were African-American. The wedding itself was unusual in that no one attended it.
"Nobody was invited," says Abercrombie. The motivations behind the marriage remain a mystery, even to Obama. "I never probed my mother about the details. Did they decide to get married because she was already pregnant? Or did he propose to her in the traditional, formal way?" Obama wonders. "I suppose, had she not passed away, I would have asked more."
Even by the standards of 1961, she was young to be married. At 18, she dropped out of college after one semester, according to University of Hawaii records. When her friends back in Washington heard the news, "we were very shocked," says Box, her high school friend.
Then, when Obama was almost 1, his father left for Harvard to get a Ph.D. in economics
Interestingly, the Indonesian name for the province where the hypothetical mistress of the former dictator resided is called Papua Barat. On Western New Guinea’s southern coast is a small farming town called Obome. Is Barat Obome a reference to the true birthplace of the president and the root from which the alias Barack Obama was derived?
One passage of note from Obama's book, Dreams From My Father, is where he described his stepfather’s trip into the jungle of New Guinea.
Obama’s Indonesian stepfather, Lolo, explains the rule of the jungle to the young boy: “Men take advantage of weakness in other men.” Obama’s mother, an innocent abroad, is shocked to learn that Lolo was conscripted into that country’s brutal repression of an insurgency and sent to the jungles of New Guinea, where he saw and did unspeakable things. In America, Obama writes, power was muted; in a place like Indonesia, it was “undisguised, indiscriminate, naked, always fresh in the memory. Power had taken Lolo and yanked him back into line just when he thought he’d escaped. . . . That’s how things were; you couldn’t change it, you could just live by the rules, so simple once you learned them.”
Was one of these ‘unspeakable things’ impregnating a young Papuan woman? Why would Lolo, an oil executive consultant, be overtaken by the lust for power in the jungle of New Guinea? Were the events described actually experienced by General Suharto?
Finally, Barry does not appear to resemble either of his supposed relatives from Kenya or Kansas.
Would his presence in the Suharto family be more believable?
When his parents divorced in 1980, Barry Soetoro, then 19, changed his name to Barack Obama, while his mother reverted to the maiden name Ann Dunham. Few traces remained of the Indonesian childhood which he left behind.
Since Lolo, Ann, Barack Obama Sr., and former president Suharto have all passed away, we may never find out the true extent of Barry's relationship with the Indonesian dictator who directed the bloodshed of 500,000 of his people. The world should be wary of the political ascension of the former dictator's son Tommy, and the parallel path of his long lost hypothetical half-brother.
Update: This diary is a satire of the 'birthers', thanks for reading.