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Permadi stays true to his doom

South China Morning Post - January 28, 1997

Joe Leahy – The conviction on charges of blasphemy of Permadi has failed to perturb the self-proclaimed clairvoyant from standing by earlier predictions regarding Mount Merapi.

The 2,968-metre volcano in Central Java gushed lava and blew clouds of volcanic ash four kilometres into the sky on January 17.

"According to Javanese beliefs, every time Merapi erupts, this will always be accompanied by earthly happenings, whether they are political, economic or whatever," Permadi said. "Until now the signs have been small. These will be interpreted by the Javanese as warnings from God," Permadi said.

"But if the next explosion is bigger, that means social unrest will be unavoidable."

Permadi was attacked by the military in March 1995 for predicting the downfall of President Suharto before next year and his possible replacement by the now ousted leader of the Indonesian Democratic Party, Megawati Sukarnoputri.

The soothsayer said the signs today recalled those of 1965, when President Suharto brutally crushed a so-called abortive coup blamed on the now-defunct communist party.

"The Javanese believe the Jaman Edan [era of chaos] will end in riots and social unrest and this will begin with the eruption of Mount Merapi," he said.

Permadi said the era of chaos was set to end this century and would result in a war between "the bad and the good".

"I think this will happen this year," he said.