Indonesia

In an ideal Indonesia, a Papuan man would live in Jakarta and become a civil servant. He would marry a Padang woman from western Indonesia. They would open a small restaurant and hire a young Sundanese woman. Their customers would be a mix of Javanese, Betawi and other ethnic groups.

This was the scenario of a TV sitcom, “Minus Family,” that aired a few years ago, for which I was a head writer. The show tried to tap Indonesia’s obsession with diversity and harmony, which is encapsulated in the state motto, “We are all different but we are one.” An obsession with diversity and harmony that, in reality, often ends in violence.…  Seguir leyendo »

El presidente de Indonesia, Joko Widodo. Foto: Ahmad Syauki.

Tema

Este análisis revisa los principales desafíos que tiene ante sí el presidente indonesio Joko Widodo durante su segundo mandato.

Resumen

En esta segunda etapa al frente del país, el binomio Widodo-Amin deberá lidiar con los mismos retos y dilemas a los que se enfrentó durante su primer mandato. Entre ellos destacan: (1) poner fin a las consecuencias negativas del ascenso de Estado Islámico en Siria e Irak y sus terribles repercusiones en el país; (2) la profundización en la defensa y protección de los derechos humanos y civiles; (3) el mantenimiento de la velocidad de crucero en el área económica; y (4) articular una nueva política exterior que sitúe a Indonesia en el lugar que le corresponde en la cambiante estructura regional asiática y, en un futuro no muy lejano, a nivel global.…  Seguir leyendo »

When I last visited North Penajam Paser, or P.P.U. as it is known to those limited few who have heard of it, in 2016, the easiest way to get there was by longboat. The harbor had all the attributes of harbors the length and breadth of “outer island” Indonesia — three or four food stalls shaded by recycled election banners; 10 or 12 friendly louts wearing soccer T-shirts and Monster Mash shorts, sitting astride their motorbikes and smoking without conviction; one or two S.U.V.s with the red license plates of officialdom, in which drivers waited for V.I.P.s returning from somewhere more happening.…  Seguir leyendo »

An older woman spoke haltingly into a microphone, her hands trembling from the memory: “They beat my whole body, my eyes and hands were tied. They hit me with a big plank of wood. There were four of them. They hit me on the head, and whipped me with a belt.”

Thus began two days of testimonies at the local parliament house in Lhokseumawe, in the northern part of Aceh, a province of Indonesia located at the northern end of Sumatra. On 16 and 17 of July fifteen victims and family members of the disappeared took their place on stage, speaking before Aceh’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).…  Seguir leyendo »

Campaigners call for gender equality and women's rights on International Women's Day in front of the Presidential Palace in Jakarta, Indonesia on 8 March 2019. Photo: Getty Images.

Southeast Asia has one of the highest records of gender-based violence in the world and Indonesia was recently ranked as the second most dangerous place for women in the Asia-Pacific. What is the state of women’s rights and gender equality in Indonesia?

It is true that Indonesia has high rates of violence against women, however, it’s difficult to know the realities of women’s experiences because in the past the data has been somewhat unreliable. This has been due to reasons such as a lack of reporting mechanisms available to survivors of violence and the fact that discussing sexual violence is a taboo, and if reported, can result in stigmatization which limits the number of survivors who have come forward.…  Seguir leyendo »

Cómo llegar a la meta en planificación familiar

Indonesia, hogar de 264 millones de personas, es el cuarto país más poblado del mundo. Su capital, Yakarta, es la segunda área urbana más poblada de la Tierra. Por el bien de su salud económica y social a largo plazo, detener el crecimiento poblacional debe ser prioridad. Como reconoció en 2016 el presidente indonesio Joko Widodo (apodado Jokowi): “La planificación familiar es clave para el éxito de las generaciones futuras”.

Y no sólo en Indonesia. Una reducción del crecimiento poblacional se traslada a un PIB per cápita más alto, que a su vez lleva a una mejora del ingreso, del ahorro y de la inversión.…  Seguir leyendo »

Indonesian Presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto interacting with his supporters from the roof of his car at the National Stadium on April 7, 2019 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Credit Ed Wray/Getty Images

On April 17, roughly 193 million Indonesians will cast their votes to elect representatives to the national parliament, provincial and district legislatures, and directly elect the president.

President Joko Widodo is running with the senior Islamic cleric Mar’uf Amin. A coalition of nine parties representing more than half of the current House of Representatives is backing Mr. Joko. He is campaigning on his achievements in office, particularly infrastructure development, welfare benefits, economic competitiveness and bureaucratic reform.

Mr. Joko is being challenged by Prabowo Subianto, a former special forces commander and head of the Great Indonesia Movement Party. Four parties, controlling almost 40 percent of the seats in the House, are backing Mr.…  Seguir leyendo »

A poster in Jakarta last month showing the Indonesian presidential candidate Joko Widodo, left, and his running mate Ma’ruf Amin.CreditCreditBagus Indahono/EPA, via Shutterstock

When Joko Widodo, the incumbent president of Indonesia, last year chose Ma’ruf Amin as his running mate for the general election this April, it became clear that Indonesian politics is now backed into a corner. Mr. Ma’ruf is an Islamic cleric and scholar, and Mr. Joko was perhaps hoping to dampen attacks from conservative and radical Islamic groups that have called him anti-Islam (even though he is Muslim himself). Instead, he has built a Trojan horse for his opponents outside the walls of his own city.

The presidential race, in which Mr. Joko is again facing Prabowo Subianto, a ex-army general and former son-in-law of the dictator Suharto, looks like a replay of the 2014 contest.…  Seguir leyendo »

Indonesian PM Joko Widodo. Photo: Getty Images.

Does the Indonesian government adequately protect human rights?

It does and it does not; it really depends on the context. Indonesia looks good among its neighbours in Southeast Asia in terms of protection of civil and political rights, and to some extent economic, social and cultural rights, although room for improvements exists.

But one of the promises of the current president, Joko Widodo, during his 2014 campaign was about international criminal justice, which involves rights for many victims of past cases of human rights abuses in Indonesia. In that sense, it does not protect these rights, including the rights to justice, truth, reparations or guarantees of non-recurrence.…  Seguir leyendo »

“My grandfather was a professor in Bali in 1965, and he was killed. We don’t even know which mass grave his body was thrown into,” said one of the volunteers, a college student whose father is from Indonesia. In August, she joined a group of scholars and other volunteers at the National Declassification Center outside of Washington for the unprecedented project of examining some thirty thousand pages of newly-declassified documents from the US Embassy in Jakarta. These records add important details to what happened during the 1965-1966 Indonesian massacre, one of the worst, yet least known, mass killings since World War II, in which an estimated half a million Indonesians suspected of being Communists were murdered by soldiers and paramilitary death squads.…  Seguir leyendo »

Indonesia has long been cautious in confronting China’s claims in the South China Sea, so its announcement on July 14 that it was renaming a part of the area the “North Natuna Sea” may have come to many as surprise. The new name encompasses a region north of the Natuna islands that partly falls within the infamous “nine dash line,” by which China claims the sea stretching fifteen hundred miles from its mainland coast almost to the shores of Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, and Indonesia. China immediately demanded a retraction—which it will not get.

The naming was a reminder of how seriously Indonesia treats its position as the seat of ancient trading empires and location of some of the world’s strategically most important straits—Melaka, Sunda, Lombok, and Makassar.…  Seguir leyendo »

Illegal logging and the associated trade is a major cause of deforestation and forest degradation and accounts for a large proportion of forest sector activities around the world. Trade in illegal timber can be highly lucrative and involves the buying and selling of timber which may have been harvested, transported or processed illicitly.

This year, Vietnam became the seventh country to conclude negotiations with the European Union for a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA). The agreement aims to tackle illegal logging, improve forest governance and promote trade in verified and licensed legal timber products from Vietnam to European and international markets. Earlier in 2017, Indonesia – one of the world’s largest timber exporters – became the first country to officially issue licensed timber under the agreement.…  Seguir leyendo »

Last week, Indonesian President Joko Widodo signed into law a decree to make it easier for his government to ban any group it deems “extremist.” It also established criminal penalties for being a member or leader of a banned group and for participating in violence or vigilantism as part of one ranging from five years to life in prison.

This decree represents a step not even taken at the height of Indonesian terrorism, when hotels, churches and bars were bombed between 1999 and 2005. Critics of the law argue it has the potential to cause serious consequences for Indonesia’s stability, security and democracy.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ayu is a 34-year-old Indonesian maid, and the head of a pro-Islamic State network in Hong Kong. She recruits, raises funds and spreads propaganda for the group. She is just one of several dozen Indonesian domestic workers in East Asia known to endorse jihad.

Ayu — I’m using a pseudonym, because she fears trouble from the police — became pregnant young, ran away from abusive in-laws and left her baby behind to go work in Hong Kong in 2003. She consumed alcohol and drugs to numb depression. In late 2011, after losing her job as a maid for the third time, she went to Macau, sleeping on the streets for months, until she overdosed.…  Seguir leyendo »

Rizieq Shihab may be the most controversial public figure in Indonesia today. Admired by many, reviled by others, the Great Imam of a leading hardline Muslim organization is wanted for pornography.

Mr. Rizieq heads an organization no less controversial than he: the Islamic Defenders Front (in Bahasa, Front Pembela Islam, or F.P.I.), which is best known for promoting the application of Shariah throughout Indonesia, sometimes with hate speech. He rides around in a Jeep Rubicon, wearing all-white robes, his left hand on a microphone, his right index finger pointing to the sky. He sermonizes in a deep, strident voice and leads demonstrations, often violent, against bars and clubs and other places he calls “immoral.”

Early this year, he also led massive protests against the governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, commonly known as Ahok, claiming, among other things, that non-Muslims can’t lead Muslims.…  Seguir leyendo »

Indonesian politics has been rocked by two major developments in recent months, both involving the governor of Indonesia’s capital and most important city, Jakarta. The first came on April 19, when the sitting governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama — better known by his nickname “Ahok” — was decisively defeated in a gubernatorial election. Ahok’s defeat is surprising given his general popularity among Jakarta voters, with an astonishing 76 percent of voters approving of his record of office.

The second came several weeks later, when courts sentenced Ahok to two years in prison for blasphemy — for comments he made in a speech referencing a verse in the Koran that some Muslims believe forbids them from voting for a non-Muslim politician.…  Seguir leyendo »

The reports are greatly exaggerated: Liberal, multicultural democracy in Indonesia isn’t dead yet.

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, who is commonly called “Ahok,” recently lost the gubernatorial election in Jakarta, the capital, after his rivals waged an ugly campaign against his ethnicity and his religion: Indonesia is a majority-Muslim country, and Ahok is ethnic Chinese and Christian. Then this week he was handed an especially harsh prison sentence for a dubious charge of blasphemy.

Ahok’s loss at the polls came as a surprise. Jakarta’s governor since 2014, he was well known and well liked for his administration’s efforts to fix the city’s failing infrastructure, among other things.…  Seguir leyendo »

“Look, Sir,” the taxi driver said to me, pointing at a newly built five-story building. “That’s a community health center. At one point it had practically collapsed, and now it’s five floors high!”

“I’m a Muslim, Sir,” he added. “I can see that Jakarta is finally being developed properly. I’ve been in the streets every day for 15 years, and only now can I say that things are working as they should.”

Damn, I thought. It was three days before the second round of the gubernatorial election in Jakarta last month, an epic drama about race and prejudice that has divided people throughout Indonesia — at the presidential palace, in mosques, across social media and in many homes.…  Seguir leyendo »

In most of the Western world, the image of Muslim women is often distorted. Muslim women have been represented as homogeneous, veiled, submissive, helpless, oppressed and powerless victims.

Across Europe, countries are placing bans on veils on the grounds that they are symbols of oppression against Muslim women.

The construction and representation of Muslim women as being in need of saving, according to Lila Abu-Lughod in her book Do Muslim Women Need Saving?, is problematic. Western media often gloss over the wealth of diversity Muslim women possess with regard to cultures, languages, opinions and the spectrum of faith.

There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, half of them women.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Indonesian government has confirmed that it will not suspend military cooperation with Australia after a top general said earlier in the week that ties between the two nations would be cut. The incident is just the latest episode in a rocky relationship between the neighbours.

On January 4, Indonesian Military Chief Gatot Nurmantyo declared the suspension of Indonesia-Australia military cooperation, apparently because an Indonesian special forces commander trainer found materials at an Australian teaching facility that were insulting to both the Indonesian military and the state’s ideology of Pancasila.

Pancasila, from the Sanskrit word for for “five”, panca, and the Javanese for “principles”, sila, is the name given to the official founding principles of the Indonesian state.…  Seguir leyendo »