Just after only one week in her new post as Indonesia's President, President Megawati Soekarnoputri accepted an invitation from President George W. Bush to travel to Washington D.C. in September to discuss assistance programs for Indonesia. The trip, the first overseas journey for "Ibu Mega," will also include stops in Tokyo and the General Session of the United Nation's General Assembly.
A worried Bali asks: Is it really safe for our beloved Mega to travel to Washington, D.C.?
Granted, we may have been made oversensitive due to the steady diet of American police and crime shows on Indonesian TV and repeated U.S. State Department warnings that Bali (and the rest of Indonesia) are somehow chronically unsafe. But the talk at the local noodle stands reveals a sense of genuine concern among Balinese that the country's newly appointed President and adopted daughter of our tropical island may be unwittingly walking into a dangerous situation.
With such a large delegation of Indonesians certain to be traveling to America's Capital with Bu Mega, shouldn't the newly appointed Indonesian Foreign Minister be tasked with having a closer look at safety in the U.S.A. and, at the very least, issue a travel advisory for Indonesians traveling there?
Okay. Maybe we're overreacting. But didn't Washington, D.C.'s Mayor Marion Barry once say: "outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country"? A check of the U.S. Capital City's crime statistics offers little comfort. In the year 2000 ONLY 242 people were murdered; 251 were sexually assaulted; 3,533 were robbed; 4,582 were victims of an aggravated assault; 26,382 were either burgled or suffered a larceny; and 6,600 cars were stolen.
Frightening stuff, really. And we haven't even touched on the shenanigans perpetrated by those "out-of-towners" who hang out on Capitol Hill.
So, because we care deeply about our new President, Bali asks: Ibu Mega, is this trip really necessary?
Given a little thought, there has got to be somewhere between Jakarta and Washington, D.C. that offers a safer venue for meetings between President Bush and President Megawati?
Now, here's an idea: BALI!
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