Waruno Mahdi’s

Virtual WebLOG — English IIb

— Indonesia & Neighbors —

WM
DISCLAIMER: opinions expressed on this page are those of the author alone.
 
Date:  30 Apr. 2016
In: Facebook / Joshua Oppenheimer (April 30, 2016)
Subject: Re: response from Prodita Sabarini to Goenawan Mohammad

I think the problem is a bit more complex. The Indonesian state was overthrown by Soeharto with his March 11 coup in 1966 (so-called “supersemar” = surat perintah sebelas maret). The “new order” state that replaced it was overthrown once more with Soeharto’s resignation on May 21, 1998, and the “reformasi” that followed. It is true, that so-called “status quo” faction of the political establishment and economic interests standing behind it continued to uphold policies of the pre-“reformasi” period, but the political structure of the state had changed. The establishment of the post-“reformasi” Indonesian state included numerous factions, including Gus Dur's PKB, Megawati’s PDIP, Amien Rais’s PAN, etc.

So indeed, Jokowi could not speak in the name of Soeharto and the latter’s followers in asking for forgiveness. What he could and should do is to officially declare the 1965-1967 mass killings as a crime against humanity in general and against the Indonesian unitary nation in particular, and to call for a complete clarification of the killings, and the role of the “new order” political regime and apparatus. Another aspect is that one had managed to mobilize mobs of the simple population to perform a significant part of the killings. This introduced a shocking trend into Idonesian culture, which is still apparent, for example, in activities of the FPI. To free Indonesian national culture from this, one must relentlessly and uncompromisingly expose the mass crime of 1965-1967, and that even the most antagonistic political rivalry in civil society cannot exonorate such extreme forms of violence. It does not matter whether anti-communists fight communists, or sunnites fight shiites or ahmadiites, or whatever. The Indonesian public must learn again to solve its conflicts peacefully as a civic society.

Date:  20 Apr. 2016
In: Facebook / Waruno Mahdi:
Subject: Meeting with the Indonesian President Joko Widodo

Was at the Indonesian Embassy on Monday the 18th together with other Indonesians living in Gemany, to meet with the Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who spoke to us shortly after 4 pm.

                              > Wim M.: What did the president say actually?

His talk was short but very much to the point. He noted that the Embassy building was too small and not quite presentable, and promised to provide finance for a larger better building. But more importantly, he explained the basics of his style of governing, which I indeed found very impressive. He did not just give commands or promises, but actually visited the involved places again and again, so as not to depend on reports but check and recheck the situation there himself. And quite in conformance with that style, he illustrated it with several concrete examples regarding several places in the country, particularly outside Java. I was very glad to have been there and listen to what he said and how he said it. At last, I thought, Indonesia has the president it direly needs.

Date:  10 Mar. 2016
In: Facebook / Soe Tjen Marching Go:
Subject: Indonesia’s Frightening And Sudden Turn Against LGBT People

They don’t really believe in God. Or at least, they are not prepared to accept mankind the way God created us: some with black, some with brown, or yellow or white skin; some with straight hair, others with curls; each one with unique character traits, talents, handicaps, dexterities. Men and women too, are not uniform or standard. Each gender is represented by a wide range of character. Some men are real macho, others softspoken or gentle, some men are even more feminine than many women. These in turn also are represented by various characters, and some women are more manly than many men. If one believes in God, one has to accept His judgement to have men and women being the way they are.

Date:  11–14 Jan. 2014
In: Facebook / Imran Bin Tajudeen:
Subject: Aceh’s sharia law

It’s a common error, I think, to consider any of the versions of Shariah as Muslim law. They are caliphatic laws. Thus, the Justinian code of law introduced in Byzantium was not a Christian law, but the legal codex of a Christian empire. Charles the Great (Charlemagne) also introduced numerous legal reforms, which were not in any way aspects of Christian religion, as the Shariahs are not of Muslim. They represent feudal and pre-feudal stages of socio-economic and -political development. Enforcing a shariah in modern times is like enforcing medieval law in Europe: a very effective way to prevent economic development and advancement as part of a modern world.

Date:  8–9 Dec. 2014
In: Facebook / Jacky Manuputty:
Subject: Freddy Warpopor’s photo
                              > Honestly, I don't like to upload such a graphic picture
                              > like this but police & army brutality toward protesters
                              > in Papua (Paniai District) today must be stopped.

The main reason for armed resistance in Papua is not the OPM, but the military. The best way, actually the only way, to bring peace to Papua is to pull out all the military and mobile brigade, and to man the police exclusively with Papuans.

Date:  4 November 2011
To: reg.westpapua@lists.riseup.net
Subject: Papuan youth set alight by Indonesian civil security officers (Paul Barber, Nov. 3, 2011)
                              > The motive for this attack is not known, but it is yet another
                              > unexplained incident in a series of violent events that have
                              > devastated West Papua in recent months.

Indeed, this monstrously hideous act of cruelty by an official of the apparatus is yet another incident in a very long series, but unexplainable it is at worst only insofar, that humans would not imaginably seem capable of such beastly conduct. Yet we know, of course, that beasts don't do such things, and even predators only kill to eat, not to hurt or torture.

But peace in West Papua would not only lead to a considerable decrease in the required number of army and police personnel, perhaps even more feared than possible unemployment is the loss of their present effective status of standing above the law, allowing them to look down upon the civil population.

Indeed, the real threat to “NKRI” (the consolidated entity of Indonesia as a unitary state) is not the OPM or other real or imagined “separatists”, the effective actual enemies of “NKRI” in West Papua are the army and police. They behave towards the Papuans the way a colonial army does in a colony, and in this way quite directly deny Papuans the status of fellow citizens and compatriots, thus classifying Papua as an external territory.

By behaving as colonialist oppressors, they are also the ones who are actually inciting Papuan opposition. Resistence against oppression is natural and quite admirable for all humans all over the world.

A separation from Indonesia, as I tried to objectively demonstrate in an essay in 2000 (see http://www.waruno.de/PAP/afterWPC.html), is not a realistically viable solution for West Papua. However, continuous calls for an independent West Papua by solidarity groups and organizations abroad have not only misguided West Papuans fighting for their rights, those calls have actually played into the hands of the oppressors. They have provided army and police with superficial arguments to denigrate Papuan opposition and civil-rights movements as being motivated by foreign ulterior interests.

One immediate consequence of this that is a serious obstacle to intervention by the central government is that army and police have managed to set through regulations prohibiting foreign journalists to report from West Papua. Reports nevertheless reaching the center, of maltreatment of the population by the apparatus, are for the greater part simply declared subjective or false by said apparatus. Indigenous journalists are blackmailed or otherwise prevented from disclosing the true story.

As recent secretly brought-out videos of torture demonstrated, access by independent reporters, foreign or local, would greatly enhance public information, and give the central government the political leverage it needs to take steps against missuse by army and police personnel in West Papua. In the interest of defending a unified Indonesia (“NKRI”), it is high time that journalists, local and foreign, be allowed free and uncensored access to report from West Papua!

Date:  22 March 2009
To: The Jakarta Post
Subject: Papua Police offer Rp 10 million (US$900) cash reward (March 21, 2009)

The OPM attacked a police station in January, but that failed to cause an outbreak of violence. Then the military sweeped the area, and failing to catch the OPM members, went on a rampage against civilians, killing more than a dozen men and women.

That caused the outbreak of violence!

The OPM are surely grateful to the military for that, and will be sure to repeat such attacks, because it proved so easy to provoke the military.

How sad, that some people just don't learn their lessons.

Date:  21 May 2001, 19:30 MET
To: The Jakarta Post
Subject: A Nation Awakes (editorial, 21 May 2001)

In your May 21 editorial, 'A nation awakes', you write that, after the founding of Budi Utomo in 1908, it took 20 years before the concept of a unified country or nation called Indonesia emerged, i.e. in 1928.

This is a very widespread error. In reality, the concept of a unitary state bearing the name Indonesia was formulated by Suwardi Suryaningrat (the later Ki Hajar Dewantara) in an address at a memorial meeting to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Budi Utomo in 1918. It was published in the same year on pp. 27-48 in: Soembangsih, Gedenkboek Boedi-Oetomo 1908-20 Mei-1918, Amsterdam: Nederlandsch Indie Oud & Nieuw (1918). The author spoke of an“Indonesian state unity' (Indonesische Staatseenheid; see p. 47).

The concept of common belonging to one country named Indonesia soon became widespread among Islamic as well as among leftist activists at home as well as abroad. The student organisation in Cairo called itself 'Indonesian' since around 1923, and the delegation headed by Mohammad Hatta to the 6th International Peace Congress in Paris in 1926 was also officially established as the delegation of 'Indonesia'. It is perhaps also worth mentioning, that even the communists in Indonesia referred to themselves as 'Indonesian' since 1924.

It's high time, I think, that the urban legend of emergence of the concept of a unitary Indonesia only in 1928 is dismissed. When young Indonesians from the various islands met in 1928 to pledge to a unitary Indonesia, the concept had been nurtured by their elders for 10 years already.

Best regards,
Waruno Mahdi
Date:  11 Mar 2001
To: The Jakarta Post
Subject: Donna Woodward's "Rule of law or tyranny of law?" (JP 8 Mar 2001)

I sympathize wholeheartedly with Donna Woodward's cry of despair over the dexterity of burocrats who use literal interpretations to obviate due process of the law. Nevertheless, I beg to disagree with her plea for greater interpretational flexibility.

Respect for the letter of the law is a fundamental principle in democratic society and government by rule of law, and is still very lacking in this country. The reason why its implementation has had the atrocious workings Donna Woodward rightly deplores, is the arbitrariness of only respecting the letter of the law when it serves certain ulterior motives of influential persons.

At the present stage, it seems much more important to at first reach general and universal implementation of the letter of the law. When one has succeeded in reaching this still distant aim, there will always be time to also learn to weigh statutory intent against legal text. Even then, one will always have to accept occasional failures in enforcement of the law. The wisdom of letting a crook lose because of some formal procedural error, for sake of the higher value of conformity with the law, I think, is actually a principle of legality implying a relatively advanced degree of civic maturity.

Sincerely,
Waruno Mahdi
Date:  19 Feb 2001
To: New Zealand Herald
Subject: Re: Mike Subritzky’s letter in NZ Herald, Wed, 14 Feb. 2001, p. A16

Mike Subritzky's letter on Sino-Indonesian refugees wrongly associated Indonesian Muslims with clandestinely financed terror groups claiming to be Muslim activists in Indonesia. But the described crimes against Sino-Indonesians were not committed even by these.

Published evidence sugests complicity of state apparatus of the previous regime. Indonesians, Muslim and other, have overthrown the head of that responsible regime. But the apparatus is still very much intact, blackmailing democratic government and pro-democracy public.

The present refugees are poor wretches caught between two fronts. Having fled Indonesia after the May 1998 violence and weeks of defencelessness, when not getting raped or one's throat slit was a matter of accidentally not being in the wrong place at the wrong time, they are deeply traumatized. They didn't come to NZ for fun, or to bring damage to you. They'd probably love nothing more than to return to Indonesia in peace. But the peace in their minds will probably never be restored again, and they have to make with exile in a far, unfamiliar, cold country, instead of the comfort of their homeland.

But they face a coldhearted burocrat trying to get rid of them with some slick legal formulas. So they answer in kind, and fight for their lives with stories that fit the required data input for those slick formulas. Killing in self defence is not a crime anywhere, I think, so Indonesian Muslims needn't feel insulted.

Mr. Subritzky's summary libel of some 180 million Muslims is perhaps not as dammaging as the actual criminals' still walking around free and gloating even over the president. There's hardly anything more damaging, I think, than criminals walking around demonstratively showing their impunity.

Sincerely,
Waruno Mahdi

Mike Subritzky has meanwhile sent me a clarifying reply

Date:  11 Jan 2000, 19:08 MET
To: The Indonesian Observer
Subject: Irianese to be evacuated from Maluku (IO, 11 Jan 2000)

I was deeply shaken by your report, that authorities are planning to evacuate 200,000 Irianese from North Maluku and to resettle them in Biak in West Irian. Instead of protecting the Irianese settlers on the spot, they are forcing them back to their island of origin.

Irianese settlements in all parts of Indonesia outside West Irian are a concrete manifestation of West Irianese unity with the rest of Indonesia. Forcing them back to Irian runs parallel with the tendency to separate West Irian from the rest of Indonesia.

How could the responsible authorities be so nearsighted, or is that what they are in fact clandestinely driving at?

Sincerely,
Waruno Mahdi
Date:  21 Sep 1999, 19:00 MET
To: TIME magazine
Subject: ASIA: Island of Death (TIME, 20 Sept 1999)

Thank you for your elaborate coverage of the scandalous developments in East Timor. The tragedy of this valiant small island nation has one more aspect, an extremely significant one, which has remained mostly unnoticed so far.

Throughout the 24 years of stiff resistance against Indonesian occupation, the guerilla at home and the movement in exile never resorted to the kind of terror known from other resistance movements. Inspite of weapon deliveries and training for the Indonesian military from leading western democracies, East Timorese freedom fighters never resorted to bombings, hijacking of planes or ships, or other acts of terror against citizens of those democracies or any other countries, or against their property.

The failure of the world community to protect the East Timorese from reprisals for their trust and abidance to civilized rules of conduct could have fatal consequences beyond the tragic deaths and destruction on the island. All propounders of terrorism around the world could now point to East Timor as example, that "it doesn't pay" to abide by the rules!

There is only one way to stop this, and that is to make sure that all the persons responsible for the carnage meet swift and inexorable justice. This is too serious to allow for pragmatic protection of persons in high position or other political hanky-panky to let the chief responsible off the hook. How could one otherwise look relatives of victims of the next "Lockerby" in the eyes?

You may be surprised, that an Indonesian like myself should write this. But it is actually quite simple: the reprisals against the East Timorese has also strengthened the position of the army inside Indonesia, where they maintained a 34-year authoritarian regime only recently being dismantled. Failure to punish the officers responsible for the Timorese tragedy would also put prospects of re-establishment of democracy in Indonesia, and alleviation of the current economic crisis in our country, in grave danger. Sincerely,
Waruno Mahdi


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