Category Archives: Foreign Relations & Policy

Norway shootings: Anders Behring Breivik

Indonesian non reactions to the killing spree by Anders Behring Breivik in Norway.

There has been little Indonesian reaction to the Norwegian massacre – the most searched for items on Detik’s search engine remain mostly old favourites:

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  8. HYUNDAI I10
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Apart from standard official statements; Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said

We are very shocked and dismayed by the incidents in Norway. We condemn the shooting and bombing that have killed civilians. We express deep condolences to the victims, their families, and the Norwegian government

The apparent fact that the killer was on an “anti Muslim crusade” has seemed to excite little interest within the country.

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Benjamin Ketang & Israel

A celebration of the foundation of Israel at a Puncak hotel, students in Situbondo outraged.

On May 14th 28 members of the Indonesia-Israel Public Affairs Committee (IIPAC) carried out a muted celebration of the 63rd anniversary of Israel’s declaration of independence, at a hotel in Puncak, Bogor, West Java.

Benjamin Ketang, the head of IIPAC, said

We sang the Indonesian national anthem, then sang the Israeli anthem, then read a prayer for the people of Israel.

Benjamin Ketang
Benjamin Ketang

Afterwards it was down to business, as IIPAC largely consists of businessmen who have dealings with Israel, and panel discussions were held on relevant topics.

Benjamin said the event had been planned for Jakarta, but was moved to Puncak because the situation in the capital was not “conducive”, and IIPAC didn’t want any trouble. [1]

Meanwhile, among the furious flurry of reactions and news stories to the impending and now done event, one such story, from the East Java backwater of Situbondo, where senior high school students at SMU Ibrahimy took much of the day off on Saturday to loudly protest against Israel and any recognition of its existence in and by Indonesia.

Demo against Israel
Outrage

One student with a megaphone roared

Reject the celebration of Israeli independence, it’s an insult to Muslims.

Then they tore and burnt Israeli flags.

The vice principal of the school approved of the demo: [2]

If they ask to demonstrate about something stupid of course we won’t allow it, but this is an expression of how much they care about the Muslim majority in Indonesia.

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Neo-colonialism in Libya

Hasyim Muzadi sees a dark western oil grab plot in the attack by allied powers on Libya.

Secretary General of the International Conference of Islamic Scholars (ICIS) and former leader of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) Hasyim Muzadi says of the western attack on Libya:

If Libya falls into the hands of the west after the fighting stops it will be just the same, the people will suffer.

What the western countries were playing at currently was attempting to divide Libya into two parts, east and west

Why are they doing this? It’s because there’s nothing in the west of Libya, it’s the east that has the oil.

The same division attempt had recently successfully been made in Sudan, which split into separate countries, north and south, he said:

It was because the south of Sudan has oil.

People had to learn the lesson of Iraq, he said, which after having been conquered by the West was plunged into civil SARA type strife; the Iraqi people were those who suffered.

Meanwhile Hasyim’s solution to Libya’s conundrum was:

There needs to be a ceasefire, then Muammar Gaddafi has to take into account the wishes of his people.

Neo-colonialism in Libya is brought to you by Indonesia Matters, where you can book flights in Indonesia, and features listings of Indonesian hotels, like Kuta hotels, Sanur hotels, hotels in Jakarta and near Jakarta airport, and more.

WikiLeaks Cablegate & Indonesia

Indonesian government preparing for the release of US embassy documents in Jakarta; the WikiLeaks Cablegate affair.

Wikileaks Cablegate

About 3,000 “secret documents” from the US embassy in Jakarta and consulate in Surabaya are believed to be part of the latest Wikileaks, ‘Cablegate’, release, out of about 250,000 total.

It appears there are 3059 documents from Jakarta, and 167 from Surabaya, from between the years 1990 to 2010, with most being dated from 2006 onwards. The files likely contain US diplomats’ commentary on Indonesian affairs and on leading figures in the government.

Security minister Djoko Suyanto has delegated initial responsibility for handling the matter to minister of Communications Tifatul Sembiring.

Tifatul said his department would collect the documents when they came out, and study them, and later make recommendations as to what to do or say about them to Djoko Suyanto. [1]

It’s not clear whether all the information from Wikileaks is true; if it’s not true, if it’s propaganda, we will have to respond.


The documents so far released had been viewable at http://cablegate.wikileaks.org/ however service has been withdrawn from this domain; currently they can be viewed at http://213.251.145.96/cablegate.html

WikiLeaks Cablegate & Indonesia is brought to you by Indonesia Matters, where you can book flights in Indonesia, and features listings of Indonesian hotels, like Kuta hotels, Sanur hotels, hotels in Jakarta, and more.

Sumiati binti Salan Mustapa

The press release put out by the Department of Foreign Affairs regarding the torture of 23 year old Indonesian domestic worker Sumiati binti Salan Mustapa by her employer’s wife, Khalid Saleh Mohammad Al Hamimi, and children in Saudi Arabia; Sumiati was repeatedly abused, having her lips cut with scissors, among much else, and is currently in hospital; her abuser is said to be undergoing “processing” by the Saudi police: [1]

1. On November 8, 2010, the Indonesian Consulate General in Jeddah has received reports that a citizen, named Sumiati binti Mustapa Salan, age 23 years, from Dompu, West Nusa Tenggara, was taken to King Fahd Hospital in Medina, Saudi Arabia. She was badly abused by her employer and his wife, suffering serious physical injuries and in very poor condition.

2. The Government of Indonesia strongly condemns the inhumane actions against Sumiati and will ensure that responsible parties be subject to applicable law.

3. Ministry of Foreign Affairs has taken steps in order to protect citizens and especially the handling of this case are as follows:

a. Immediately after obtaining information of this case, on November 9, 2010, the Consulate General in Jeddah visited Ms. Sumiati at King Fahd Hospital to provide assistance and ensure that she obtained necessary medical care. In addition, the consulate asked for a doctor to specifically monitor the condition in question.

b. the Secretary of State has spoken directly with victims’ families to provide information on measures undertaken by the GoI relating to the incident and its handling. In particular, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will facilitate the representative of the family, accompanied by Foreign Ministry officials, to Medina to provide support to Ms. Sumiati.

c. legal steps have also been carried out by the Consulate in Jeddah in reporting the case to the police in Medina in order to ensure there is legal action against the perpetrators. In addition, the Consulate has prepared lawyers for the subsequent legal process.

d. diplomatic steps taken by the foreign ministry summoned the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia in Jakarta to the Foreign Ministry to convey the attitude of the Indonesian government, which condemned the ill-treatment of Ms. Sumiati. It stressed also that the Government of Saudi Arabia will need to ensure that victims receive all necessary medical services and especially for those responsible to be brought to justice.

4. Government of Indonesia in this regard the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue to ensure effective measures for the protection of citizens abroad.

Sumiati binti Salan Mustapa is brought to you by Indonesia Matters, where you can book flights in Indonesia, and features listings of Indonesian hotels, like Kuta hotels, Sanur hotels, hotels in Jakarta, and more.

SBY: Not a Dutch Lion

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

Flighty

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has abruptly canceled his visit to the Netherlands at the last moment, saying at Jakarta’s Halim Perdanakusuma Air Base just before an aborted takeoff today to the Land of Tulips that he was insulted by the plans of a Dutch member of the separatist South Maluku Republic (RMS) movement to file criminal charges against him. He said:

I have decided to cancel this visit

The president had been scheduled to leave Jakarta by Air Force One at 13.30, remaining in the Netherlands until October 9th, but it was not to be.

SBY spoke of his fears:

There has even been a demand for my arrest

This was despite the fact that a spokesman of the Indonesian Embassy in The Hague, Firdaus Dahlan, had assured the president that the Dutch government did not recognise the RMS, and would ensure the security of President Yudhoyono during his visit.

John Wattilette

John Wattilette

John Wattilette, the self-proclaimed president of the “Republic of South Maluku” (RMS) movement in exile, had made a demand for the arrest of SBY, in a teletext statement to the Dutch broadcasting network Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (NOS) on 2nd October. [1]

Unfortunately the cancellation of the visit will mean SBY will not be showered with the awards and medals he had been due to receive in the Netherlands, now losing out on the coveted Order of The Dutch Lion, from the Dutch government, and the equally prestigious Willem Van Oranje medal, from Leiden University. [2]

SBY: Not a Dutch Lion is brought to you by Indonesia Matters, where you can book domestic flights in Indonesia, and features listings of Indonesia hotels, like Kuta hotels, Sanur hotels, hotels in Jakarta, and more.

SBY: Not a Dutch Lion

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

Flighty

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has abruptly canceled his visit to the Netherlands at the last moment, saying at Jakarta’s Halim Perdanakusuma Air Base just before an aborted takeoff today to the Land of Tulips that he was insulted by the plans of a Dutch member of the separatist South Maluku Republic (RMS) movement to file criminal charges against him. He said:

I have decided to cancel this visit

The president had been scheduled to leave Jakarta by the Indonesian Air Force One at 13.30, remaining in the Netherlands until October 9th, but it was not to be.

SBY spoke of his fears:

There has even been a demand for my arrest

This was despite the fact that a spokesman of the Indonesian Embassy in The Hague, Firdaus Dahlan, had assured the president that the Dutch government did not recognise the RMS, and would ensure the security of President Yudhoyono during his visit.

John Wattilette

John Wattilette

John Wattilette, the self-proclaimed president of the “Republic of South Maluku” (RMS) movement in exile, had made a demand for the arrest of SBY, in a teletext statement to the Dutch broadcasting network Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (NOS) on 2nd October. [1]

Unfortunately the cancellation of the visit will mean SBY will not be showered with the accolades and medals he had been expecting in the Netherlands, now losing out on the coveted Order of The Dutch Lion, from the Dutch government, and the equally prestigious Willem Van Oranje medal, from Leiden University. [2]

SBY: Not a Dutch Lion is brought to you by Indonesia Matters, where you can book domestic flights in Indonesia, and features listings of Indonesia hotels, like Kuta hotels, Sanur hotels, hotels in Jakarta, and more.

SBY: Not a Dutch Lion

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

Flighty

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has abruptly canceled his visit to the Netherlands at the last moment, saying at Jakarta’s Halim Perdanakusuma Air Base just before an aborted takeoff today to the Land of Tulips that he was insulted by the plans of a Dutch member of the separatist South Maluku Republic (RMS) movement to file criminal charges against him. He said:

I have decided to cancel this visit

The president had been scheduled to leave Jakarta by the Indonesian Air Force One at 13.30, remaining in the Netherlands until October 9th, but it was not to be.

SBY spoke of his fears:

There has even been a demand for my arrest

This was despite the fact that a spokesman of the Indonesian Embassy in The Hague, Firdaus Dahlan, had assured the president that the Dutch government did not recognise the RMS, and would ensure the security of President Yudhoyono during his visit.

John Wattilette

John Wattilette

John Wattilette, the self-proclaimed president of the “Republic of South Maluku” (RMS) movement in exile, had made a demand for the arrest of SBY, in a teletext statement to the Dutch broadcasting network Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (NOS) on 2nd October. [1]

Unfortunately the cancellation of the visit will mean SBY will not be showered with the accolades and medals he had been expecting in the Netherlands, now losing out on the coveted Order of The Dutch Lion, from the Dutch government, and the equally prestigious Willem Van Oranje medal, from Leiden University. [2]

SBY: Not a Dutch Lion is brought to you by Indonesia Matters, where you can book domestic flights in Indonesia, and features listings of Indonesia hotels, like Kuta hotels, Sanur hotels, hotels in Jakarta, and more.

Least Favourite

Neighbour Indonesia rock bottom on Australians’ list of favourite countries.

A poll surveying Australians’ attitudes to foreign countries has seen Indonesia rank last, with the country having a net minus 38% likeability factor for Indonesia’s neighbours Down Under. The worst rated countries in Australia:

  1. Indonesia (-38%)
  2. Israel (-32%)
  3. India (-27%)

Australians were most favourable to:

  1. New Zealand (+60%)
  2. Britain (+39%)
  3. Germany (+35%)
  4. United States (+18%)
  5. France (+16%)
  6. Japan (+14%)

The poll was conducted by the Australian branch of New Zealand company UMR Research in late February/early March 2010. The full poll does not appear to be online as yet. [1]

John Utting, managing director of UMR, said it appeared Australians were, curiously, least favourable to the countries that would be most important to that country’s future – Indonesia, India and China, while favourably disposed to countries such as New Zealand and the UK, these latter being of little importance to Australia.

Least Favourite is brought to you by Indonesia Matters, which also features listings of Indonesia hotels, like Kuta hotels, Ubud hotels, hotels in Jakarta, and more.

Obama Visit

Howling opposition and worshipful support of the visit of president Obama to Indonesia.

President Barack Obama is expected to make a belated arrival in Indonesia on 23rd March, without his family and after several postponements, first visiting his old hometown of Jakarta for two days, where from aged 7 to 11 he was known locally as “Barry” Soetoro, later moving on to Bali.

Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia Obama ProtestThe fringe but very well motivated and organised pan-Islamic socialist group Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) has been noisiest in its opposition to the upcoming visit, staging many protests around the country.

Khoiri Sulaiman of the East Java HTI said Obama’s visit would only serve to deepen the subjugation of Indonesia to American economic and political interests, while other HTI spokesmen declared welcoming the American president to be religiously forbidden, or haram. [1] [2]

However the mainstream face of overtly Islamic politics in Indonesia, the Justice Party/Partai Keadilan Sejahtera (PKS), is supportive of the visit, with party chairman Luthfi Hasan Ishaq, once scurrilously rumoured to have been an Afghan war veteran [3], saying [4]

As a guest of the nation we say “Welcome”. We support better understanding between our two countries, for a better Indonesia.

In a similar way the representative of mild-mannered conservative traditionalist Islam, Nahdlatul Ulama’s (NU) leader Hasyim Muzadi, emphasised the religious onus on Indonesian Muslims to be good hosts to guests, kafirs or not, especially considering that Obama had made efforts, however imperfect, to improve US relations with the Muslim world. [5]


enda nasutionMeanwhile, at an extreme to the HTI’s loathing and an example of the semi-worshipful attitude to the US president among some in Indonesia, is one of Indonesia’s oldest, most pre-eminent bloggers, Enda Nasution, who penned an article where Obama is given as writing in the first person about his feelings returning to the place he called home for four years as a child. The piece ends, bizarrely or not: [6]

Tapi mudah-mudahan juga. Akan ada kesempatan untuk saya…..mencium bau yang pernah saya hirup dulu. Untuk makan, makanan yang pernah saya rasakan dulu.

Karena kali ini saya tidak hanya datang.

Kali ini juga. Saya.

Pulang.

(But hopefully I’ll have the opportunity as well to smell the smells I knew before. To eat the food I tasted before. Because this time I’m not just visiting. This time. I. Come home.)

Still on the burning issue of what local dish Obama will first sit down to, the US Embassy, – not losing any opportunity to use the visit to promote itself and the image of the US in Indonesia, – has among other efforts created an application on FaceBook to enable popular voting on the food issue, and also what colour or style of batik the president will wear while in the country. [7]

Obama Makan Apa
Rambutan, Rendang, Bakso, Durian, Nasi Goreng

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