Indonesia executes six drug convicts, five of them foreigners

Indonesia executes six drug convicts, five of them foreigners
Widodo has pledged to bring reform to Indonesia

Ban appeals to Indonesia to stop death row executions

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United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has pleaded to Indonesia to stop the execution of prisoners on death row for drug crimes. AFP PHOTO

Pope: 'Death penalty represents failure' – no 'humane' way to kill a person

Pope: 'Death penalty represents failure' – no 'humane' way to kill a person
The pope wrote that the principle of legitimate personal defense isn’t adequate justification to execute someone. Photograph: Zuma/Rex

Obama becomes first president to visit US prison (US Justice Systems / Human Rights)

Obama becomes first president to visit US prison   (US Justice Systems / Human Rights)
US President Barack Obama speaks as he tours the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Oklahoma, July 16, 2015 (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)

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Woman who spent 23 years on US death row cleared (Photo: dpa)


"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Friday, June 18, 2010

Superstition plagues Batak community

Apriadi Gunawan, The Jakarta Post, Medan | Fri, 06/18/2010 8:11 AM

To this day, Parluhutan Pak Pak still can’t understand why his parents kicked out him of their home in Medan two years ago.

Spirituality prevails: Batak members hold Tugu Raja Sionang Pardede, a ceremony to collect the bones of Raja Sionang Pardede’s ancestors, in Pematang Siantar. Courtesy Maruli Tua Pardede

He also found it hard to swallow the bitter truth his parents only shared with him recently: He was in fact their adopted son; his real parents were the people he affectionately called Bapatua (older uncle) and Inangtua (older aunty); his real dad was his adoptive father’s eldest brother; his uncle adopted him when he was only three months old because he was without child; last but not least, he had one brother and three sisters.

“I want to see mamak [mom] in Medan,” he keeps asking every time relatives visit him in a drug rehabilitation center in Pematang Siantar, a city located about 40 kilometers from Lake Toba.

The 15 years old boy has been at the center for more than one year. According to a doctor’s diagnosis, he has been addicted to inhaling glue for several years.

His adoptive parents never knew about his addiction. He dropped out from junior high school shortly before he was expelled from his home.

“Parluhutan is a begu ganjang [an evil spirit believed to harm others] in the form of a boy,” his highly educated adoptive parents told neighbors.

They refused to see him again even after many Catholic priests assured them Parluhutan was merely suffering from an acute glue addiction. The couple are very active in their church.

The childless pair spent millions of rupiahs to get “medication” from shamans.

The begu ganjang issue is a controversial one among the predominantly Christian Batak population in North Sumatra. People in the region are still being murdered by their neighbors for supposedly having an evil spirit.

Batak prominent activist Maruli Tua Pardede is deeply concerned over the death of three members of a family, who were burned alive in mid-May by residents of Sitanggor village, North Tapanuli regency, North Sumatra, for allegedly keeping begu ganjang.

The 70-year-old deplores the local Batak ethnic community’s anarchic action against the Gibson Simaremare’s family and has since the incident been painstakingly warning villagers as well as residents of Pematang Siantar city not to believe in the existence of begu ganjang.

“There’s no such thing as a begu ganjang. I wonder why Batak people still hold on to their belief [in begu ganjang] to the extent of killing their neighbors, while they have no way of proving the presence of the evil spirit,” Maruli Tua Pardede told The Jakarta Post earlier this month.

The chairman of the Sisingamangaraja XII Customary Law Institute in Pematang Siantar, said begu ganjang was simply an old superstition exploited by unscrupulous people to scare their foes.

As a child, he added, he was also duped into believing in such a ghost but later dismissed it in the absence of proof.

“Fifty years ago, our village was rumored to be haunted by begu ganjang, forcing many of us to move to other locations,” related Maruli, who hails from Simarimbun district, Pematang Siantar. He mentioned a riverside banyan tree as one of the spooky places in those days.

Bone collectors: Batak leaders in Pematang Siantar carry out a ceremony involving the bones of their ancestors. Courtesy Maruli Tua Pardede

According to him, locals used to hold rituals to venerate banyan trees believed to be home to begu ganjang. As time went by, the places once considered sacred were increasingly abandoned. “Now most of the trees have been cut down as they [residents] found the phony phantom annoying,” said Maruli, who retains the large banyan near his home to provide a shady spot for communal gatherings.

Bungaran Antonius Simanjuntak, a sociologist and anthropologist from Medan State University, said begu ganjang was a cultural manifestation of the Batak’s excessive suspicion originating in an animistic primitive belief. In the past, he explained, they believed they could fight their enemies with the help of ghosts.

The Batak ethnic group once believed in what they called third-party power generated by a person raised from childhood for total obedience, who was later killed and physically boiled. The body of the man pledging loyalty even after death was known as pangulubalang, which according to Bungaran served as a means to help overcome enemies.

Begu ganjang, reportedly still kept by some, is claimed to be a spirit capable of gathering riches with the sacrifice of a man’s life. Literally meaning a long ghost, begu ganjang used to be raised to watch over farms or crops.

Today, it is said the ghost is ordered to seek wealth for the master — at the expense of a human soul — from midnight to 4 a.m.

“It is also believed begu ganjang serves as a jinx to make others sick, insane and die,” said Bungaran, adding that begu ganjang could still be manipulated to cause one’s opponents financial and political ruin.

“If anybody wishes to control an area, spreading a rumor of ghost haunting may prompt local people to move. Likewise, a regional executive candidate said to be keeping begu ganjang will face public contempt,” noted Bungaran.

However, given how difficult it is to prove its existence, Bungaran proposed the regional administration issue a bylaw prohibiting the use of begu ganjang for murder and other harmful purposes.

“Whoever accuses others of keeping the spirit should be questioned and unless sufficient evidence is provided, the accuser should be detained,” Bungaran cited an example of the rule.

The North Sumatra Regional Police has so far handled four cases of begu ganjang until May 2010, three in North Tapanuli regency and another in Asahan regency.

In 2009, three cases occurred in Central Tapanuli regency with two deaths, in Simalungun regency with two people injured, and in Central Tapanuli with two others burned alive.

Chairman of the Indonesian Churches Association (PGI) of North Sumatra, JA Ferdinandus, said the begu ganjang issue constituted a very embarrassing phenomenon in the predominantly Christian Batak community. In his view, as long as a Christian still believes in such a ghost, his or her faith is questionable.

“It’s a mystical belief leading to polytheism, so it isn’t compatible with Christian faith,” Ferdinandus told the Post. He pointed out as a church leader that he was pained to have witnessed these tragedies, reflecting a form of failure on the part of the clergy in fostering the congregation’s faith.

Given the circumstances, Ferdinandus and several church authorities are striving to intensify their spiritual guidance for those still in the grip of the misleading belief. “They are now receiving direct counseling from church leaders,” added Ferdinandus.

Old beliefs: A woman arranges her parents’ skulls in Mangokalholi as part of an old tradition in Samosir regency, North Sumatra. North Sumatra’s Batak still firmly hold on to old traditions and beliefs, including that of an evil spirit called begu ganjang. Courtesy of Tagor Sitohang

Meanwhile, chairman of the Presidium of Batak Toba Community, Ompu Monang Napitupulu, claimed he saw begu ganjang several times in Napitupulu village, Silaen district, Toba Samosir regency, North Sumatra.

Ompu Monang said he first encountered the ghost when he was 15. He was shocked when he saw it on the roadside about 500 meters from his home.

But he was not afraid to face it. “I threw a stone at the phantom and it just disappeared,” added Ompu Monang, who believes begu ganjang exists.

Asked what the spirit looked like, Ompu Monang described it as a tall apparition without clothing, but he could only see it vaguely and said the face was not clearly visible.

“The only one I’ve ever seen is 10 to 15 meters high. But its feet didn’t step on the ground,” said Ompu Monang. Given he had encountered begu ganjang several times already without being harmed, he concluded the phantom was not dangerous but nobody could keep it.

“It’s just like a shadow and it’s not real,” he indicated. So, Ompu Monang couldn’t believe the allegations accusing the Gibson Simaremare’s family of raising a ghost, which led to villagers burning members of that family.

According to Monang, local residents blamed Gibson’s family because they were envious and held a grudge against them, and consequently spread the rumor as a means of getting rid of the family.

“Begu ganjang is hard to prove as it’s not concrete,” he pointed out, expressing regret at taking the law into his own hands without seeking any evidence.

The begu ganjang issue is a controversial one among the predominantly Christian Batak population in North Sumatra.

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