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

Ban appeals to Indonesia to stop death row executions
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)

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)
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. …

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Foreign tourist dies heart attack on Burung Island

Multa Fidrus, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 03/31/2010 7:49 PM

Lawrence Ellis Sute Liffe, 76, an English citizen who lived in Kenya, East Africa, died of a heart attack on Tuesday, while visiting Burung Island at Kasemen district, Serang, Banten.

Kasemen police chief Insp. Edi Haidir said Lawrence visited the island along with his wife Ana Rose Marry and two other friends Jonathan Bernady and Audrena Merylaw, also English citizens.

Edi said based on post mortem examination results at Serang General Hospital, the tourist died of heart attack.

“The tourist died while taking a walk on the island,” he said, adding that the police received report about the death from a boat driver identified as Yanto, who took the tourists to the island.

In response to the report, police officers headed to the island and conducted an investigation before transferring the body to the hospital.

The island, which is home to around 14,000 birds of 108 species, is a popular tourist attraction.

Swedish tourist who fell into volcano crater in Bali evacuated

Ni Komang Erviani, The Jakarta Post, Bangli, Bali | Wed, 03/31/2010 6:01 PM

Mount Batur Volcano (1,710 m) which is the most active volcano in Bali having erupted 20 times during the past 200 years

Rescuers managed Wednesday to lift the body of a Swedish tourist, who died after falling into a crater of an active volcano in Bangli regency, Bali.

The 25-year-old man, Daniel Fetersan, fell into the 15-meter crater.

“The body has been lifted and is beign transported down the mountain,” said Bangli Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Dwi Suseno, adding that the process of retrieving the body took about eight hours amid bad weather.

The ill-fated tourist was on a pre-dawn hike along the rim of the crater of Mount Batur when he fell in, Dwi said.

The tourist left Segara Hotel, where he stayed, at 5 a.m. He was accompanied by a guide name Komang Edi. He slipped when he stood at the edge of the crater.

At least 60 people from the National Search and Rescue Agency, Bali Police headquarters and Bangli Police office were deployed to retrieve the victim's body.

Government Wants the Media to Help in Defense

Tempo Interactive, Tuesday, 30 March, 2010 | 17:15 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:The Minister of Defense, Purnomo Yusgiantoro, said that the mass media could have a role in the efforts to defend the country’s security.

“The media’s role is very important,” said Purnomo in the Defense Image Building workshop in Jakarta yesterday.

According to Purnomo, recent threats to the country’s security have not been always in the form of military power.

Terrorism organized by small group of people, for example, can shake a country and even global stability.

Purnomo explained that there are three media functions in a country’s defense.

First, the media can prevent threats in the form of propaganda from those who want to destabilize a country’s security.

Second, the media can incite a spirit of citizen’s patriotism to sacrifice for the country.

Last, the media could be a weapon to deter another party’s intention to destroy a nation.

“By conveying the weakness of the one who threatens a country’s security,” said Purnomo.

But Purnomo said he refused to use the media as propaganda tool.

Media, he said, had to uphold journalism principles, such as broadcasting news that is balanced, objective, factual and accurate.

The Deputy Chairman of the Press Council, Bambang Harimurti, said that the media had the same intention as the government to defend the country.

“The difference is in the method,” he said.

To reach a synergy between the media and the government, according to Bambang, numerous discussions between the two parties need to be held.

Bambang also reminded the government about the importance of information transparency and press freedom.

Referring to a study, Bambang said that information transparency and press freedom have a positive correlation with the level of a state’s welfare.


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SBY Stays Neutral in Simmering Dispute Over State of Indonesian Football

Jakarta Globe, Wimbo Satwiko, March 30, 2010

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, accompanied by the first lady, Kristiani Herawati, and Minister of Youth and Sports Andi Malarangeng, watching Arema Malang take on Persitara North Jakarta at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Java, on Tuesday. Earlier he had addressed the National Football Congress. (Rumgapres Photo/Dudi Anung)

Malang, East Java. Putting politics and the economy aside for the moment, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Tuesday made time to open the National Football Congress, calling on all to unite and work to lift the nation’s lackluster football performance .

But Yudhoyono stopped short of lending his voice to the growing calls for the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) to be revamped and its chairman, Nurdin Halid, replaced.

“Do we have faith that we can regain our greatness in the region? Yes, we have. And in order to achieve that, we have to unite in the national movement for national football,” Yudhoyono told the congress at the Ken Arok Sports Hall in Malang. “I also want to see a comprehensive evaluation in PSSI. We want to help PSSI so our team can perform better at the international level.”

Yudhoyono said the country was not lacking in human resources and talent — all it needed was for everyone to unite and work t ogether.

Last year was not a good one for Indonesian football. The national side failed to qualify for the 2011 Asian Cup and suffered an ignominious loss to Laos in the SEA Games, while PSSI failed dismally in its bid to host the 2020 World Cup in the absence of official government backing.

Yudhoyono said he hoped the national team would lift regional trophies in the near future.

“I want to see our team become a regional champion in five years and taking Asian titles in 10 years,” he said.

Minister of Youth and Sports Andi Malarangeng said he viewed the president’s statement as a push for a complete rethink at PSSI.

“When he said he wanted evaluation in PSSI, it means total overhaul, including a new chairman and officials,” Andi said.

But Nurdin, who has been under fire for having failed to improve standards after seven years in office, begged to differ.

“The president didn’t say Nurdin Halid must step down or PSSI must hold an election. I saw his speech as support,” he said.

“Don’t make false interpretations and prejudice” he said, adding that only PSSI members have the right to ask for elections and an extraordinary congress.

Indonesian National Sports Committee (KONI) chairwoman Rita Subowo said the PSSI had yet to comply with a FIFA statute that requires the president, vice presidents and executive committee members not to have been found guilty in any criminal case. Nurdin was sentenced to 30 months in jail for illegally importing rice in 2005.

Yudhoyono later watched Arema Malang beat Persitara North Jakarta 2-0 in an Indonesian Super League match at the Kanjuruhan Stadium.

The congress is expected to come out with a recommendation on how to improve the country’s football performance today.

For the love of the game: A soccer fan unfurls a banner of his favorite team at the opening ceremony of the National Soccer Congress [KSN] at Ken Arok Sports Hall in Malang, East Java, on Tuesday. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono opened the two-day congress, which is being held to resolve the problems surrounding Indonesian soccer. Around 500 participants attended the congress. Antara/Ari Bowo Sucipto

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Solo Batik Carnival to be held in Netherlands

Tempo Interactive, Tuesday, 30 March, 2010

In glamour: A new breath into batik as designer Dewi Syifa transforms the
traditional fabric into a glamorous gown. (JP / Photos by Munarsih Sahana)

TEMPO Interactive, Surakarta: The Surakarta Cultural Office will send six members of the Solo Batik Carnival to The Hague, Netherlands, today. They have been invited by the Embassy of Indonesia in the Netherlands to perform at the Indonesia Night Market event, to be held in early April in The Hague.

“All expenses will be paid by the Foreign Ministry,” said the Head of the Surakarta Cultural Office, Purnomo Subagyo, yesterday. The costumes to be worn in the performances have the sekar jagat motif. According to Subagyo, the motif is varied and lively, appropriate for a costume party.

Similar costumes have been worn at the Chingai Festival in Singapore, last February. According to Purnomo, the six persons selected are among Solo Batik Carnival participants in Singapore. He hoped that by sending these cultural ambassadors, Surakarta’s tourism image in the Netherlands can improve. “Moreover, Indonesia is quite well known in the country,” said Purnomo.

The performers will be given travel brochures on this year’s Surakarta cultural agenda to be distributed in The Netherlands. The Indonesia Night Market is held by the Indonesian Embassy and the Indonesian community living in the Netherlands. The event will exhibit various Indonesian cultural attractions.


Papuans lambast ‘useless’ anti-porn law

Nethy Dharma Somba, The Jakarta Post, Jayapura | Tue, 03/30/2010 10:25 AM

A community group in Papua has denounced the Constitutional Court’s recent rejection of a judicial review of the 2008 Pornography Law as a threat to their way of life.

Central Mountains Student Association secretary-general Markus Haluk said the ruling to uphold the controversial law would effectively outlaw the wearing of penis gourds among indigenous tribesmen.

The koteka is made from a dried, scooped-out gourd.

Another traditional vestment under threat, Markus said, was the sali, a skirt made from woven tree bark to cover the lower part of the women’s body, leaving their breasts bare.

“We have been wearing the koteka and sali since long before the law was passed,” Markus said.

“So should we be regarded as violating the law for not fully covering up our bodies in public?”

He added implementing the law in Papua would “threaten the existence of Papuans” simply because so many of them could be charged for wearing the koteka or the sali.

The law, he went on, would be useless in places like Papua and Bali, which has opted not to adopt it.

Markus added some provinces should be exempt from the law.

Papua legislative councilor Komaruddin Watubun agreed.

“The fact is, in Papua, not wearing full clothing is a tradition,” he said.

Supporting regulations for implementing the law must exempt certain provinces, he added.

“Our culture is part of the nation’s diversity,” Komaruddin said.

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Tribal vote

Tribal vote: Papua tribal man casts his ballot into a traditional bag made of woven tree bark called "Noken" in Jayawijaya, Papua province, Thursday, April 9, 2009. Indonesians flooded polling stations across the sprawling island nation Thursday, celebrating a decade of democracy in a parliamentary election that will gauge the reform-minded president's chances of re-election. AP/ANTARA, Prasetyo Utomo

President opens National Soccer Congress 2010

Antara News, Tuesday, March 30, 2010 12:29 WIB | Sports

Malang (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono opened the National Soccer Congress (KSN) 2010 hoping it would open a new page of the history of Indonesia`s soccer.

The President, flanked by his wife, Madame Ani Yudhoyono and a number of ministers including State Minister of Youth and Sports Andi Mallarangeng, Minister/State Secretary Sudi Silalahi, State Enterprises Minister Mustafa Abubakar, and East Java Governor Soekarwo, arrived at the Ken Arok Sports Hall Tuesday at 8.40 am local time.

The arrival of the Head of State and entourage was welcomed by tens of school children clad in their school uniform.

Later some 50 elementary (SD) and junior secondary school (SMP) students performed the Tari Topeng Malang "Singo-Singo" masked dance, depicting a herd of lions preparing for war. The lions are identical with members of the Malang soccer team, Arema, known as Singo Edan (Crazy Lions).

The occasion also saw the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the state enterprises ministry`s support to the national sports development by the State Minister for Youth and Sports and the State Enterprises Minister.

The opening of KSN 2010 was marked by the striking of a gong by the President, who was among others flanked by General Chairman of KSN 2010 Agum Gumelar.

KSN is an event in which the entire soccer world in Indonesia got together to seek a solution to the declining performance of Indonesian soccer.

The even was attended by at least 500 participants including members of the House of Representatives, the National Sports Council KONI, Association of Indonesian Journalists (PWI), government officials, soccer executives, soccer players and soccer enthusiasts.

All Indonesia Football Association (PSSI) Malang City General Chairman Peni Suparto last week said KSN was expected to give birth to a national soccer team which would become an "Asian Tiger".

He expressed concern with the current performance of Indonesian soccer which is practically "helpless" at ASEAN level.

Therefore, he added, the KSN would produce recommendations to improve the national soccer system and improve the performance of the national team in international events, especially in Asia.

Peni also said that the current PSSI management needs evaluation.

The idea to hold the KSN in Malang came from the President who was rather disappointed with the performance of the national soccer team which had been constantly declining, and even at ASEAN level, Indonesia could not do much.

Malang was chosen to host the event because the East Java tourist resort city managed to usher two national professional teams to the 2009/2010 LSI, and the achievement of Aremania (Arema`s supporters) which had been awarded the best supporter tile.

Later in the afternoon, the Head of State was slated to watch a football match between Arema Indonesia and North Jakarta Persitara at the Kanjuruhan stadium in Kepanjen, Malang.

For the love of the game: A soccer fan unfurls a banner of his favorite team at the opening ceremony of the National Soccer Congress [KSN] at Ken Arok Sports Hall in Malang, East Java, on Tuesday. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono opened the two-day congress, which is being held to resolve the problems surrounding Indonesian soccer. Around 500 participants attended the congress. Antara/Ari Bowo Sucipto

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Luck, Skill Spark Indonesian Swimmer's Olympic Dream

Jakarta Globe, Ami Afriatni, March 29, 2010

Indonesian swimmer Fibriani Ratna Marita hopes to build on her showing in the 2008 Beijing Olympics by winning a medal at the first Youth Olympic Games. (JG Photo/Safir Makki)

One of the oldest yarns in sports says that it is better to be lucky than good.

For athletes such as Fibriani Ratna Marita, though, it is even better to be lucky and good.

After the 16-year-old competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, she has another chance to enjoy the Olympic experience. Singapore will host the inaugural Youth Olympic Games on August 14-26, giving Fibriani the chance to become the first Indonesian to participate in two Olympics within four years.

“I’m so glad knowing that I could compete in both the senior and Youth Olympics. With the experience I got in Beijing, I’m sure I can do better in Singapore. I hope I can make it to the final and bring a medal back home,” Fibriani told the Jakarta Globe.

Her first appearance came after some good fortune. The Beijing Olympic Games Organizing Committee granted Indonesia two wild cards in swimming, which the Indonesian Swimming Association (PRSI) awarded to Donny Budiarto Utomo and Fibriani.

Fibriani finished the women’s 200-meter individual medley, her favorite event, in 2:28.18, while Donny posted a 2:03.44 in the men’s 200-meter butterfly.

She had less than a month to rest following the 2009 Southeast Asian Games, where she finished fourth in the 200 IM, before returning to the national training camp in January.

In addition to preparing for the Youth Olympics and Asian Games, Fibriani also has an education to maintain. She stays on track for graduation by undergoing home schooling with Patricia Yosita Hapsari, a fellow Youth Games qualifier, at Century Athlete Hotel in Senayan. They receive one to three hours of instruction by three teachers from Tuesday through Friday.

“I know it is hard for me to study in an ordinary school like other kids do as the training schedule is tight and does not allow me to go,” said Fibriani, who is registered as a student at SMA 8 Malang, a high school in her home town in Malang, East Java.

“Since I can’t do that, I think it’s better to call the teachers at home. They will transfer my results to the school everytime I finish my examination.”

Fibriani secured her ticket to the Youth Olympics after posting a 2:23.98 in the 200 IM preliminaries at the Singapore National Age Group Championships, a qualifying event for the Games. Her time easily beat the qualifying mark of 2:26.97. Patricia and Pratama Siahaan later joined her in the Singapore contingent.

The road to success is not without potholes, even for athletes who have shown themselves to be Indonesia’s best. With sports federations across the country facing funding shortages, national athletes must support themselves financially, and Fibriani is no exception.

She has used her own money for her daily needs and training while waiting for the government and the Indonesian National Sports Committee (KONI) to come up with athletes’ salaries.

“It’s been disturbing for me. I hope they will take care of it soon,” she said.

Some measure of help may be on the way, though. The Indonesian Olympic Committee (KOI) recently announced it would provide scholarships for the country’s most promising athletes, including those who have qualified for the Youth Olympics.

“It’s one of our efforts to honor our young athletes. They will be the ones to represent us at the 2016 Olympic Games,” said Ade Lukman, head of KOI’s Cultural and Olympic Education Commission.

The scholarships, he said, will come from sponsorships and other outlets, such as the Olympic Solidarity Program from the International Olympic Committee.

“It is great to know that. I hope I can continue my study in the USA or Australia with the scholarships,” Fibriani said.

In addition to the scholarships, she can also draw on the inspiration of her idol. Swimmer Michael Phelps, who won a record eight gold medals at the 2008 Olympics, is an ambassador for the Youth Games.

“I saw him as a participant in Beijing. Now he is coming as an ambassador. That’s great,” Fibriani said.

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Yudhoyono: turn disaster area into tourist site

Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 29 March 2010 - 3:14pm

Victims of the 2006 Lapindo mudflow disaster pray in Sidoarjo, East Java, during Idul Fitri holiday on Sept. 20 2009. (Photo: Fully Handoko, EPA)

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono says a disaster area created by a massive hot volcanic mud slide could be turned into a geological tourist attraction.

"With good layout and good concepts, we can turn this place into something useful for the community, whether as a geological tourist attraction, a fishery or for other public activities," he said in a rare visit to East Java's Sidoarjo district.

The mudslides started in 2006; some 40,000 people have been evacuated, 12 villages have been buried, 13 people have been killed and around 100,000 people are endangered by the volcanic mud. An Australian expert has estimated that it has caused 3.6 billion euros worth of damage.

The government says the volcanic mud slide was caused by a minor earthquake in Yogyakarta, about 280 kilometres away. However, earlier this year independent investigators revealed fresh evidence that gas drillers were to blame for the ongoing mud slide.

The company conducting the drilling, Lapindo Brantas has denied responsibility for the mud flow but has agreed to pay around 300 million euros compensation to around 10,000 families affected by the disaster. Many people say the money has been delayed or that they have only received partial payments. Lapindo Brantas is connected to the powerful Golkar party and Indonesia's ruling coalition government.

Satellite picture received from Ikonos Satellite Image on May 29, 2008 shows the mud volcano and its surrounding area in Sidoarjo, East Java. (AFP/Ikonos Satellite Image)

More pictures ....

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Hostility, Not Homosexuality, Flies in The Face of True Koranic Teachings

Jakarta Globe, Bramantyo Prijosusilo, March 29, 2010, Opinion

The recent cancellation of a planned Asian-wide conference of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people in Surabaya reveals how far our society is from respecting human rights — and how close it is to slipping into religious fascism.

The police, who had earlier issued a permit — which is not really required by law — chose to bow down to Islamo-fascist groups such as the notorious thugs known as the Islam Defenders Front (FPI), who stormed hotels where they thought delegates of the conference were staying on Friday and demanded that all non-heterosexuals leave Surabaya. Reading journalists’ reports on the commotion and comments on news Web sites and on Facebook walls, it is obvious that any sexual orientation other than hetero is widely believed to be an illness that is contagious and immoral. Homophobia is alive and well in Indonesia.

Even the sultan of Yogyakarta, who prides himself and his city as being pluralist, issued a statement rejecting the idea of having the conference there.

Although Indonesia has aligned itself with international standards of human rights, the twisted logic of the thugs terrorizing the conference delegates is widely accepted without reservation. The FPI actually accused the conference delegates of being terrorists — morality terrorists, that is.

Unenlightened Islamic scholars and organizations, the media and most of the rest of us seemed to swallow this argument: Homosexuality is a contagious disease, and if we allow gays and lesbians to publicly exist they will corrupt our children and maybe even us. If we don’t suppress them, the thinking goes, we will incur God’s wrath like the population of the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all of us will suffer.

While Islamofascists get violently excited about homosexuality, the reality is that homosexuality is not at all uncommon in Islamic communities. At traditional Islamic boarding schools, known as pesantren, where the segregation of male and female pupils is upheld at all times, it is widely known that some young men and boys engage in homosexual relationships, known as mairil . The sexual activities of the female pesantren students are much more secret and it is commonly believed that all girls are asexual until they are married.

Men who act and dress as women, on the other hand, are openly accepted by Islamic scholars, and even have this acknowledgement enshrined in classical texts of law. In a way, one could say that men who dress like women have more status and rights than women, for according to classical Islamic thinking, men who act like women can lead women in prayer, while women cannot.

The patriarchy of Islamic culture is further evident in the fact that women who dress up and act as men are not recognized in any way except as sinners. Islamofascists are of course very hypocritical about homosexuality, and when forensic scientists found evidence that Noordin M Top played the receptive role in homosexual sex, they chose to ignore this, saying it was character assassination by the police.

To complete our hypocritical and ignorant image, we have been told over and again that homosexuality is contrary to our basic values, culture and religion. But this is a distortion of the facts. True, the mainstream interpretations of Christianity and Islam tend to condemn homosexuality, but there are alternate interpretations from within these religions.

Progressive female Indonesian Islamic scholar Siti Musdah Mulia regularly points out that one can read the Koran and find that it does not condemn homosexuality and that God is not an almighty homophobic thug. Traditionally, the leaders of East Java’s Ponorogo dance troupes — the dance that created so much fuss here when it appeared in a Malaysian tourist advertisement — have to live a disciplined life of homosexuality to retain their magical powers.

Parents traditionally offer their adolescent boys to these leaders for education and jobs, knowing full well that the young men will become the warok’s boy toys.

In the Indian epic Mahabharata, which is popularly thought of as a source of ethics and morals by most traditional Javanese Muslims and non-Muslims, the main hero, Arjuna, who is the alpha-male of the universe and is said to have hundreds of wives, is a bisexual; one of his favorite “wives” is the male Srikandi, who often assists Arjuna in his battles against evil.

All this proves that those who say that homosexuality is a foreign, Western depravity and not part of our culture are either ignorant or plain liars. And the fact that the police and government allowed the FPI to terrorize the delegates in Surabaya shows that our leaders and law enforcers do not understand the law, but will instead give in to mob pressure.

But there is a positive side to the recent harassment of homosexuals in Surabaya. The actions of the protesters there have demonstrated that gays, lesbians and transsexuals are peace-loving, law-abiding people who do not fight violence with violence. The incident also showed that our police fear the Islamofascists and need further training in handling religiously inspired mobs. The police need more education to better understand basic human rights and to function properly as enforcers of state law.

The public needs to be educated that homosexuality is not a disease and is not condemned in all interpretations of sacred texts like the Koran and the Bible. The FPI thugs unwittingly brought the discussion of gender and sexual orientation to the public, which gives us a platform to educate people on the realities of the matter. Perhaps the gay, lesbian and transgender communities here should publicly thank the FPI for helping publicize these issues, while demonstrating once again the backward thinking that governs its violent behavior.

It is time for a huge demonstration of people dressed in drag, carrying flowers and blowing kisses of thanks to the macho members of the FPI. Such gestures of love would remind us that those cowardly thugs, who always attack in packs, are also human beings with equal rights.

Bramantyo Prijosusilo is an artist, poet and organic farmer in Ngawi, East Java.

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Bakrieland to build Disneyland in Sukabumi

The Jakarta Post, Mon, 03/29/2010 1:35 PM

PT Bakrieland Development is planning to expand its entertainment and recreational properties by building a Disneyland park, following the development of its Jungle Water Park at the Lido tourism spot in Sukabumi, West Java.

The American-based Disneyland project plan is in line with Bakrie’s 54-kilometer toll road project that will connect Ciawi and Sukabumi, reported Monday

Bakrieland president director Hiramsyah S. Thaib, however, declined to elaborate on the proposed Disneyland project.

Eight locations in NTT await Sail Indonesia participants

Antara News, Monday, March 29, 2010 11:17 WIB

Kupang (ANTARA News) - The participants of Sail Indonesia 2010 will have a stop over at eight scenic locations in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) province.

Rote Ndao district head Lens Haning said here on Monday that the Sail Indonesia participants this year would set sail from Darwin, Australia, on July 24, 2010 with a stop over at Kota Kupang, Rote Ndao, Timor Tengah Selatan, Alor, Sika, Ende, Nagekeo, and Manggarai Barat.

"The participants of Sail Indonesia in the previous years did not make a stopover at Rote Ndao but this year the district becomes their new destination," Lens Haning said.

Sail Indonesia 2010 will depart from Darwin on Saturday July 24, 2010, and during the following three months the participants will be served with a series of cultural festivals at different stopovers across Indonesia.

To anticipate Rote Ndao as a new destination for the Sail Indonesia participants, Lens Haning said various preparations have been made to set in order the surfing and diving sites at Nembrala beach.

He said preparation was also made for traditional Sasando music performance and the making of typical souvenirs to attract the participants from different countries and to make their visit pleasant.

In the southernmost Indonesian island and district of Rote Ndao, Haning said the participants would have the opportunity to go surfing and diving at Nembrala and Termanu beaches and to see a number of activities including "sopi" (alcoholic) distilling, palm brown sugar making, traditional "ikat" weaving, and Sasando traditional music performance.

Sail Indonesia is an annual sailing rally now in its tenth year that departs from Darwin in the middle of July and is followed by a three month program of linked events across Indonesia.

After visiting various tourists objects in Kupang and Timor Tengah Selatan for one week, the Sail Indonesian Participants will set sail to Rote Ndao and then on to Alor, Maumere, Labuan Bajo, and Komodo island.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Indonesia's Broadcast Freedom Must Be Safe From China’s Meddling

Jakarta Globe, John Riady, March 28, 2010

Earlier this week, government authorities closed down Radio Era Baru, a radio station in Batam. The official reason: shortage of radio frequencies. Another view is that the closure is related to China’s opposition of the radio station’s links to and funding by the Falun Gong movement. In a letter addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China warned of damage to Indonesia-China relations should the radio station not be shut down.

Whether or not a shortage of frequencies was merely a pretext remains to be investigated, but there is ample reason to be skeptical. The station was denied a license in 2007. If the shortage was real, why was it allowed to broadcast for the last three years? When its license was denied, why wasn’t a reason provided and why did claims of a shortage appear after public uproar? Many stations operate without a license. Why single one station out? Why not reorganize the frequencies during those three years, as was done in Jakarta a few years back? The radio station’s legal appeal has reached the Supreme Court and a decision is expected soon. Why deploy police to clamp down on broadcast freedom on the eve of a decision that might render such an extreme intervention unnecessary?

If the allegation against China is true, China’s intervention is offensive and the decision from Indonesian authorities is shameful. This is a critical issue and needs to be addressed using legal and quasi-legal remedies. Legal remedies can address the issue domestically, but to sanction China, more creative quasi-legal remedies are needed. Allow me to explain.

Legal Remedies

The argument is that the government’s closing of the radio station for reasons related to its links with Falun Gong violates Indonesia’s constitutional right to expression (Article 28) and is thus unconstitutional. A potential problem is that since Article 28 has not been litigated much, it is unclear what the boundaries of this freedom of expression are.

To solve this, the courts should look to international law for guidance, in particular the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, which Indonesia has ratified. Given the near universal acceptance of the declaration, at least some of its provisions have reached the status of “customary international law.” This means that all countries, even those not members of the UN, can now be bound by those provisions.

The ICCPR’s guarantee of the right to expression is broad enough to be used in this case. Article 19 states that “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds … through any other media of his choice.”

While the ICCPR does allow the limiting of expression when necessary for the protection of “national security,” it was held that it does not allow nations to prohibit speech just because it advocates the ideology of a political enemy. China should take note.

The treaty’s operative principles imply that countries have positive and negative obligations — this would include having in place licensing procedures that are consistent with the principle of free expression and that prohibit the use of police to crack down on violations.

These two legal remedies — our Constitution and the ICCPR—should provide generous grounds for the protection of Era Baru’s rights. However, these measures do not facilitate possible Indonesian sanctions against China. Domestic courts and ICCPR remedies have no teeth against other countries. For this, we turn to quasi-legal measures.


The idea here is to use trade sanctions to compel trading partners to adhere to principles that they have agreed to in nontrade agreements, in this case the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This would require framing freedom of press and censorship not as an issue of free press but rather a violation of WTO rules on free trade of “market access” and “national treatment.”

In a case where China censored its press by prohibiting foreign media companies from operating in China, the WTO panel concluded that these measures were inconsistent with China’s obligation under the national treatment and market access clause of the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs.

The idea of framing violations of free press in terms of violations of trade law has gained more and more acceptance. The European Union passed a proposal that would require member countries to classify any Internet censorship as a barrier to trade, and would require that the issue be raised in any trade negotiations.

Linking trade with press law is similar to the way in which trade is linked to environmental and labor standards — we do this all the time.

In light of the Asean-China Free Trade Agreement, this is a crucial point. Even though this trade agreement is separate from the WTO, there are significant parallels. China has much to gain from the establishment of a free trade area. If it is to reap the benefits of trade, it must not be allowed to pick and chose. Free trade comes in a package. With access to an enlarged market to which China is able to export its goods, it must also eliminate barriers to trade, which includes censorship and violation of free press.

Many in Indonesia complain that its domestic industries are not ready to compete with China. Proponents of trade argue that only when they are forced to compete will they then be ready. Now it is China’s turn to complain that they are not ready for free speech. To this we should say: sink or swim.

We need a thorough investigation to determine the real reasons for the radio station’s closing. If it turns out to be true that the closure was related to pressure from China, a strong stance needs to be taken. A free press at home can be protected using legal remedies. As for getting our point across with China, we need to resort to trade law.

John Riady is lecturer at the Pelita Harapan Universit y Law Faculty and editor at large at GlobeAsia. He can be reached at

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Making Music, With Feeling

Jakarta Globe, Sylviana Hamdani, March 28, 2010

Bagus Adimas Prasetio playing at the Mall of Indonesia, above. Bagus receiving an Indonesian Museum of Records certificate from Salim Segaf Al Jufri, the minister of social affairs, center, and Jaya Suprana, the museum’s founder. (JG Photos/Sylviana Hamdani)

There was an undercurrent of excitement among the 50 or so people gathered at the main atrium of the Mall of Indonesia in North Jakarta on March 19. Jaya Suprana, chairman of the Indonesian Museum of Records (MURI), was up on the stage, heaping praise on the star of the show, whom he likened to one of the greats of classical music.

“When Frederic Chopin was making his debut in Paris, no one acknowledged him, as he was still young and unknown to the world,” Jaya said.

“It was Robert Schumann who recognized his talents and said, ‘Hats off, gentlemen. Here is a genius and pianist of the future.’ Today, please allow me, Jaya Suprana, to say to you, ‘Hats off, gentlemen. Here is an Indonesian genius and jazz pianist of the future.’ ”

Breaking into loud applause, the audience welcomed Bagus Adimas Prasetio. The pianist, seemingly oblivious to everyone and everything else, bowed his head over the piano keys and smiled thinly before proceeding to play. His fingers lightly tapped out “Fragment,” a classical piece composed by Jaya, who is also a composer and pianist.

The sweet and soft haunting melody of “Fragment” suddenly progressed into an elaborate upbeat tempo. As beads of perspiration started to dot Bagus’s forehead, he continued to play flawlessly.

“It’s a very difficult piece,” said Ivon Maria Pek Pien, Bagus’s teacher. “We trained day and night for eight days to master the composition.”

The performance was even more impressive considering that Bagus is blind and there is no Braille music sheet for “Fragment.” Ivon had to teach Bagus how to play the piece by helping him coordinate his movements.

“We worked on the right hand first and then on the left. However, when he started to play with both hands, it was a mess,” Ivon said, with a chuckle. “He banged the piano lid once because he couldn’t get it.”

Ivon’s patience and Bagus’s perseverance paid off in the end.

“Once he got it, about two days ago, he was good to go,” Ivon said.

The 22-year-old played 12 songs for the crowd at Mall of Indonesia over an hour and 15 minutes, in the process becoming the first blind Indonesian pianist to put on a solo recital.

“Bagus has been blind since birth,” his father, Bambang Haryanto, said after the recital. “The doctor said that he might have contracted German measles when he was still in the womb. It was very hard for us to accept this reality.”

Bambang and his wife did everything in their power to help Bagus succeed and excel in life. They enrolled him at a special-needs school, Sekolah Luar Biasa, in their hometown, Surabaya.

“As parents of a child with special needs, we thought, ‘How can we provide for him and his future?’ ” Bambang said.

There was no easy answer. Bambang, who works at a freight forwarding company, only earned enough for the family’s current needs and was worried about his son’s financial future.

“As a man, Bagus had to be independent and earn a living for himself,” Bambang said. “Being blind, he could either study to become a teacher, a masseur or a musician. So we encouraged him to learn music. We didn’t want him to beg for a living.”

Bagus said he was happy his parents helped steer him toward music. “I had to have something to be proud of,” he said. “Other children may be good at sports or academics, and I also needed to be good at something.”

He started taking piano lessons at his school when he was in the third grade. He started by learning classical music from Braille music sheets. He had to memorize the pieces by heart because he could not refer to the sheets once he stared playing.

But classical music, with its fixed structure, soon bored Bagus. “There was not much room for improvisation and spontaneity,” he said.

His father, a jazz aficionado, suggested that maybe jazz would be more up his alley. And study jazz Bagus did. From 2001 to 2009, he trained under Bubi Chen, a renowned jazz pianist in Surabaya, who helped Bagus discover his true passion.

“My restless and rebellious spirit finds expression in jazz,” Bagus said.

Growing up among other kids with various special needs at his school, Bagus was often frustrated by the way some of the teachers and his fellow students would limit his capabilities.

“They would say, ‘You’re demanding too much of yourself,’ ” he said. “ ‘It’s not possible,’ they’d say. But I’ve found out that there are no boundaries to what one can achieve, except for the ones that you have set yourself.”

To prove his point, Bagus enrolled at SMU GIKI 1, a regular high school in Surabaya, which he attended from 2002 to 2005. To hone his skills, Bagus also attended music clinics in Surabaya organized by the Chicago Jazz Quartet from the United States, the Ad Colen Quartet from the Netherlands and Alexey Sokolov, a professor at the St. Petersburg Conservatory.

In 2009, Bagus started to study music under Ivon, who in addition to being a music teacher is also chairwoman and an international jury member of the Ibla International Awards, a prestigious world music competition.

As Bagus developed his skills as a pianist, his self-confidence grew as well. He started taking part in jazz festivals around the country.

From 2003 to 2006, he was named Outstanding Performer at the jazz piano festival organized by the Virtuoso Music school in Semarang, Central Java. In 2006, he was a finalist at the Mezzo Young Generation Jazz Festival organized by jazz musician Luluk Purwanto and the Helsdingen Trio in Jakarta.

Having already achieved so much, Bagus made up his mind to become a professional jazz musician. However, he was disappointed when the Indonesian Institute of Arts (ISI) rejected his application in 2005 because of his disability. “I don’t harbor any hard feelings, however,” Bagus said. “God has meant it for the best.”

The rejection certainly did not thwart Bagus. He instead chose to pursue a degree in music and the arts from University of Surabaya (UNESA) and graduated in 2009.

He played his thesis, a 15-minute piece titled “Diamond,” during his recital at the Mall of Indonesia. The tempo, slow and tentative at first, becomes loud and forceful in the middle and ends on a more upbeat note.

“The melody consists of three parts,” Bagus said. “Each of the parts portrays a phase of life when someone is exploring their talent.

“The first part is when one is first trying to find out more about himself. It can be a slow and tedious process. The second part is when one hones his skills and finds obstacles along the way. For example, harsh critics or misunderstandings. But you have to press on. The third part is when one has succeeded and is enjoying the fruits of his labors. Thus, the music becomes light and cheerful.”

At the end of his concert, Bagus received a certificate from MURI recognizing him as the first blind Indonesian pianist to hold a solo piano recital.

Salim Segaf Al Jufri, the minister of social affairs, presented Bagus with his certificate of merit.

“Bagus is a national asset,” the minister said. “With this recital, he’s saying to the world, ‘Don’t look at my disability. Look at my skills and talents instead.’ Young people like him help develop our country.”

“I truly admire his talent as a pianist,” Jaya said. “When I first heard about him, I thought, ‘Let’s give him a chance. He might not be very good, but he’s blind anyway,’ even though Bagus did not use his disability as an excuse.

“But today, I have found out that it’s totally the other way around,” Jaya said. “He’s a very gifted piano player. He plays with emotion, in a way that’s beautiful beyond words. I saw the greatness of God in this case. I want to propose to Peter Gontha [chairman of the Jakarta International Java Jazz festival] that he let Bagus perform at the Java Jazz festival next year.”

Bambang held back tears after hearing all the praise heaped on his son. “I feel so grateful,” he said. “At least, the premise of ABK as anak berkebutuhan khusus [people with special needs] has changed into anak berkemampuan khusus [people with special talents].”

Bagus Adimas Prasetio performed 12 songs during his piano recital.