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, June 30, 2010

Film of Barack Obama's childhood in Indonesia debuts

BBC News, Wednesday, 30 June 2010 14:16 UK 

The film's cast is made up of
little-known Indonesian actors
The premiere of a film about Barack Obama's life as a child in Indonesia is taking place in the capital Jakarta.

Obama The Menteng Kid, based on a book, is a fictionalised biography of the boy who went on to become the US president.

The title refers to the Jakarta neighbourhood where Mr Obama lived and went to school for four years.
Potentially controversial scenes of a young Obama reciting the Koran with Muslim pupils have not been included.

The scenes of the future US president - a Christian - were dropped after they were deemed "too political".
Producer Raam Punjabi said the film was meant to send a message of hope and not religion.

"We wanted to make the movie from the point of view of the children. We did not want to enter into politics. We did not want to enter into religious matters," he told the BBC.

"The message is about the friendship, about the determination, about reaching the sky and that is the sole message of this movie."

'Good memories'

Mr Obama lived in the upmarket Jakarta neighbourhood of Menteng from 1967 to 1971 with his mother and Indonesian stepfather.

The film portrays the young Obama - seen wearing sarongs and Muslim caps - in a different light to the man in the White House.

The cast is made up of little-known Indonesian actors and was shot on a budget of $1m (£670,000) over a month in West Java.

Hasan Farooq Ali, 14, who plays Mr Obama in the film, said he had learned a lot about tolerance and how to accept people's differences.

Clips show the young Obama learning to box to fight off school bullies, but ultimately learning to resolve conflicts by peaceful means.

Hasan told the BBC: "I'd really like it if [Mr Obama] were to watch the film... I just hope it brings [back] memories, good memories."

There was huge excitement in Indonesia when Mr Obama was elected in 2008.

The film's release was originally timed to coincide with his first official visit to Indonesia - but the visit has already been postponed twice because of pressing domestic issues.

Mr Obama is now expected to visit in November.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Indonesia host to Asia Pacific global peace festival

Antara News, Saturday, June 26, 2010 02:13 WIB

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia will be host of the Global Peace Festival (GPF) 2010 for Asia Pasifik from October 15 to 17, 2010.

"As a country with many ethical origins, religions and other resources, but everybody living in close harmoney, it is only reasonable that Indonesia had been elected to become host," GPF Executive Director of Asia Pasifik Chandra Setiawan said in Jakarta Monday.

GPF is a celebration to unite all efforts for world peace.GPF has been held in more than 30 countries. This year, not only in Indonesia, GPF is also held in Kenya and many other parts of Africa, Paraguay and Nepal as well as in South Asia.

The holding of GPF in Indonesia is the result of a cooperation between GPF Foundation Internasional, GPF Indonesia, and Nahdlatul Ulama central executive board with the support of ICRP, religious leaders, Universities, and governmental institutions.

The activities of GPF include international conferences of religious leaders followed by 400 participants from October 15 and 16, 2010.

"We hope the conference would not merely in the form of dialogues but realized and practiced in daily programs, Siti Musdah Mulia, one of the GPF chairmen of Asia Pasifik.

Anohter program of the GPF is a social activity involving 10 thousand young people of different religious believes in various cities and activities to strengthen the marital institution and family as a school of love.

The peak of the program will be held at Gelora Bung Karno on October 17 with cultural and art performances from many regions in Indonesia and from various Asean countries with a message of peace from religious and public leaders, local and overseas.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Dutch envoy bids farewell to Yogyakarta Sultan

Antara News, Friday, June 25, 2010 18:34 WIB

Yogyakarta (ANTARA News) - Dutch Ambassador to Indonesia Nikolaos van Dam bade farewell to Yogyakarta Sultan Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X here Friday.

"During the five years, there were good times and not-so-good ones but the Netherlands was always a good friend of Indonesia," Nikolaos van Dam, who has filled his ambassadorial post here since 2005 until August 1, 2010, said when saying goodbye to the Sultan.

He said the Dutch government and people had provided assistance, including to victims of a powerful earthquake which devastated Yogyakarta a few years ago through the Java Reconstruction Fund, or directly to the government.

"We provided assistance to the earthquake victims in Yogyakarta, among other things for reconstruction of school buildings and rehabilitation of old houses," he said.

The Sultan confirmed that the Dutch government, non-governmental organizations, foundations and people had helped the disaster`s victims and given assistance to Dr Sardjito Hospital.

"We are grateful to the Dutch government and people for helping the victims of earthquake in Yogyakrata," the Sultan said.

On the occasion, the Sultan presented a batik shirt to the outgoing Ambassador Nikolaos.

The magnitude-5.9 earthquake which hit Yogyakarta in May 2006 killed more than 5,000 people.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Indonesia census turns up Papua tribe living in trees

Reuters, JAKARTA, Thu Jun 24, 2010 5:58pm IST

(Reuters) - A tribe of hunter gatherers living in trees in the remote forests of Indonesia's easternmost region of Papua has been discovered officially for the first time by the country's census, an official said on Thursday.

The nomadic tribe, called Koroway, numbers about 3,000 people speaking their own language and living off forest animals and plants, census officials found during the country's 2010 census survey.

"Their houses are in trees, their life is stone age," said Suntono, head of Indonesia's statistics agency for Papua.

After receiving reports from missionaries, census officials needed to walk for up to two weeks to find the tribe, after travelling by boat from the nearest permanent villages, but still only reached the fringes of their territory.

The nearest city to the swampy southeastern corner of Papua is Merauke, the site of a planned giant food estate attracting interest from investors such as Singapore's Wilmar to grow sugar.

Scientists said last month they had found new species in Papua, including the world's smallest wallaby. The discoveries come as scientists warn of the threat of species loss as the planet warms and forests are destroyed to feed humans.

Suntono said tribe members, who wear nothing but banana leaves, protected their area from outsiders as they depended on it for food such as deer, wild boar, sago and bananas.

A secessionist movement has smouldered for decades in politically sensitive and resource-rich Papua, with attacks in the past year on workers at Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc's Grasberg mine that has the world's largest gold reserves.

There are more than 2,500 tribes in Papua and all have different languages, Suntono added.

Papua makes up most of the western half of the island of New Guinea. Papua New Guinea, a separate country, occupies the eastern half.

(Reporting by Telly Nathalia; Writing by Neil Chatterjee; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Around 2,868 'isolated and primitive' people from the Korowai tribe were interviewed by census workers. -- PHOTO: AFP

Related Article:

Waai, Tulehu villages to be Maluku`s tourism mainstay

Antara News, Thursday, June 24, 2010 13:38 WIB

Ambon, Maluku (ANTARA News) - The villages of Waai and Tulehu on Ambon island will be the mainstay of Maluku`s tourism development in the future.

"The tourism objects in Waai and Tulehu villages will be the mainstay of tourism in Maluku because both domestic and foreign tourists continue to visit the two villages," Maluku Culture and Tourism Office spokesman Ima Tualeka said on Wednesday.

Tualeka made the statement when familiarizing the upcoming international marine event of Sail Banda 2010 to the people of Waai and Tulehu villages.

He said the domestic and foreign tourists were so far more interested in visiting Waai to see giant eel with earring and to Tulehu to take a bath at natural hot springs bathhouse.

Besides, Waai village also has Waitasoi fall and Salahutu mountain resort for tourists.
While in Tulehu there are a lot of traditional arts and culture that the tourists can see.

Tulehu village will also be the center of Surya Baskara Jaya health operation to give free medical services to the people of Salahutu subdistrict, as well as the the people of Haruku, Nusalaut, Saparua, and Seram islands as part of Sail Banda event. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Letter to the editor: Statement from communications and information technology minister

The Jakarta Post, Wed, 06/23/2010 10:04 AM | Opinion

I would like to convey my reply to the headline published in The Jakarta Post on June 22, that I did not make a statement that degraded a religion.

On the morning of Thursday, June 17, a meeting was held at the Communications and Information Technology Ministry, attended by Press Council chairman Bagir Manan, Police Criminal Detective Agency deputy chief Dikdik Mulyana Arif Mansyur, Ramli from the Justice and Human Rights Ministry and a representative of the Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry, for the purpose of appealing that Internet service providers minimize the spread of pornography on the Internet.

At the meeting I requested the police promptly conduct a thorough investigation of the pornographic video case so that news on people resembling each other in this case be clarified.

In this way, the public would no longer be confused. Without clear explanation, this issue will remain unresolved. And unless this story of resemblance is clarified on the basis of investigation by law enforcers, it will exhaust public energy while other no less important problems have yet to be given due attention by the whole nation.

In connection with such “resemblance”, without any pretension I mentioned to the forum a lesson from history, which has also become common knowledge, that Muslims are convinced Prophet Isa was not crucified, but it was a man resembling Prophet Isa who was crucified. Meanwhile, Christians are convinced that Jesus was crucified. Without any intention to involve the aspect of theology, I mentioned that this issue of resemblance had a long presence in history.

My statement is a historical fact, which is neutral and true. I have never linked the pornographic video case to the two religious figures.

Later, Rakyat Merdeka Online on June 17 posted an intriguing article titled “Eager to unveil Ariel, Tifatul implicates Prophet Isa and Jesus”, written by Zul Hidayat Siregar. But the article contained incomplete substance of my explanation at the meeting. Controversy intensified further following a public debate that was only based on the title of the article, without delving into its substance, with ample chance of giving rise to misunderstanding in society.

I thank you for your understanding and apologize for any inconvenience. This will hopefully serve as a valuable lesson for all parties, including myself.

Tifatul Sembiring

Related Article:


The Jakarta Post, Antara, Jayapura, Papua | Tue, 06/22/2010 8:44 PM

Ouch: Two youngsters of Biak Numfor district walk on hot rocks (locally known as Barapen) during the 3rd Sentani Lake Festival in Kalkhote, East Sentani, Jayapura, Papua, on Tuesday. Antara/Alex W Loen

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Respected Journalist Slaps Down Bakrie Award

Jakarta Globe, June 22, 2010

Goenawan Mohamad, second from right, pictured here in 2004 alongside Aburizal Bakrie, far left, accepting his Bakrie Award. The respected journalist is today returning the award and is expected to hold a press conference to explain his reasons for doing so.

One of Indonesia’s most respected journalists, Goenawan Mohamad, is holding a news conference this afternoon to explain why he is returning his Bakrie Award, awarded by non-profit think-tank the Freedom Institute in 2004.

The former chief editor of Tempo magazine is also returning the Rp 100 million ($11,077) prize money he was awarded by the institute, established by controversial businessman and politician Aburizal Bakrie.

The institute’s Web site says the annual awards, established in 2003, are presented to “distinguished countrymen and women for their extraordinary achievements in the social sciences and literature.”

On his Twitter account @gm_gm, Goenawan, popularly known as GM, wrote: “Thank you for the best wishes and awards. I always think the best award is to have genuine friends. And you all are!”

Goenawan will send a delegation to return the award to the institute on Tuesday and then hold a news conference at the Teater Utan Kayu in East Jakarta to explain the reasons for his actions.

The senior journalist is the first person to return the award though Jesuit priest Franz Magnis Suseno, a respected social and political analyst, declined the award in 2007 because of the ongoing Lapindo Mudflow disaster.

A number of internationally respected scientists blame the disaster on PT Lapindo, a company under the umbrella of the Bakrie Group, which is controlled by the family of Aburizal Bakrie, chairman of the Golkar Party.

The company, however, has refused to accept blame.

Bakrie has more recently been labeled an enemy of reform by ousted former Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati.

Goenawan Mohamad, in this file photo, said that he was returning a Bakrie Award he received in 2004, due to what he called Aburizal Bakrie's manipulation and "political drama."

Related Articles:

Democracy Film Wins Director Trip To White House

Jakarta Globe, Dessy Sagita, June 22, 2010

A 21-year-old Indonesian will soon meet US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the White House after his film on democracy won a competition held by the State Department.

“I found out this morning that my short film has been named one of the six winners in this competition. I’m so grateful,” Adhyat mika, the writer and director of the video, said on Monday.

The film, “Democracy Is Yet to Learn,” portrays a classroom of lawmakers, lawyers, farmers, policemen and students trying to answer a teacher’s question about the meaning of democracy.

It garnered enough online votes to defeat more than 70 local contenders to clinch a berth in the finals.

Only 18 contestants from six world regions made it to the finals in the Democracy Video Challenge, which saw more
than 700 submissions from 86 countries.

Mika, as he likes to be called, said he made the movie because he was inspired by the political brouhaha surrounding the controversial Rp 6.7 trillion ($730 million) bailout of Bank Century.

Mika’s film defeated the other two finalists from Asia-Pacific region, Malaysia and Singapore.

The graduate from La Salle College of the Arts in Singapore said all six winners from six different regions had been invited to the White House in October.

“We will present our movies in front of high-ranking officials, including the secretary of state, Mrs. Hillary Clinton,” he said.

Mika said he would use the opportunity to give White House officials a quick description of the political situation in Indonesia, a developing country.

“I want to show them that democracy is not a thing, it’s a process, and it’s not always pretty, especially because Indonesia is still learning,” he said.

The annual State Department competition asked contestants to make a video based on the question “Democracy is ...?” The contestants’ videos were uploaded on to YouTube and the winners were chosen based on the votes they earned.

Mika said his two-minute video was the first Indonesian film to make it into the online movie competition, which involved some prominent Hollywood figures, including an MTV director.

Mika said “Democracy Is Yet to Learn,” which has a bit of satire about Indonesian politicians and lawmakers, had garnered more than 6,300 votes from all over the world.

“The number of the voters is overwhelming for me. I never imagined that there were so many young people who still want to support Indonesian filmmakers as well as the democratic process in Indonesia,” he said.

Monday, June 21, 2010

`Sail Banda` to cost Rp160 Billion

Antara News, Monday, June 21, 2010 01:26 WIB

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia`s annual maritime sail festivity event, `Sail Indonesia`, this time dubbed as "Sail Banda" as it will be centered in the Banda waters, Maluku province, will cost Rp160 billion.

"There is no special allocation, the total budget of the relevant ministries reached Rp160 billion," Director General for Marine Resources and Fisheries Supervision, Aji Sularso, said here on Sunday.

Of the total budget, the biggest expenditure will be made by the Ministry of Public Works which reaches up to Rp70 billion.

Meanwhile, the office of the Coordinating Minister for People`s Welfare will spend up to Rp26 billion, most of which were used for social activities.

The Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (NOA) spent up to Rp11 billion for the implementation of various international seminars related to maritime affairs and fisheries.

The Maluku regional government set a budget for the event, Sail Banda, amounting to Rp12 billion.

Various activities will start early in July with an initial activity of a major operation `Surya Bakti Jaya` on July 5, Youth Marine Sail, on July 23, a sailboat race from Darwin, Australia, and the major event, the Parade, which will begin on July 24.

As many as 110 sailboats from various countries including Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Europe, have registered for the "Rally Yatch Banda Sail." A total of 50 sail boats will go straight to Banda, the rest will sail to Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara province.

Sentani Lake festival

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sun, 06/20/2010 6:43 PM

Sentani Lake festival: Asmati performers stage a traditional dance to honor their ancestors during the Sentani Lake Festival in Kalkhote, East Sentani, Jayapura, Papua, on Sunday. The annual event features Papuan art, culture and cuisine and will run until Wednesday. Antara/Hermanus Prihatna

Friday, June 18, 2010

President relaxes with journalists at State Palace

Erwida Maulia, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 06/18/2010 9:03 AM

A walk in the park: President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (foreground, blue shirt) walks with journalists on a path in the grounds of Cipanas Palace in Cianjur, West Java, on Friday. Yudhoyono is dedicating most of his Friday to relaxing with journalists at the palace, located some 100 kilometers south of Jakarta, which has 26 hectares of botanical gardens, a swimming pool and a jogging track. Antara/Widodo S. Jusuf

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is dedicating most of his Friday to relaxing with journalists at the State Palace in Cipanas, West Java.

After finishing a breakfast of chicken porridge in the palace gardens, accompanied by hundreds of journalists and staff members, Yudhoyono cheerfully performed a couple of songs before the attendees.

"Eat so that you're strong enough to do the walk. We'll see some beautiful scenery," Yudhoyono said to several breakfasting journalists before his performance.

He and the large group of staff and journalists are scheduled to take a 1.4-kilometer-long walk in the woods inside the palace complex before planting some trees – an activity he has recently made a hobby whenever he makes visits outside the capital.

His wife, first lady Ani Yudhoyono, sons Agus Harimurti and Edhie Baskoro Yudhoyono, daughter-in-law Annisa Pohan and granddaughter Almira Tunggadewi Yudhoyono were all present on Friday.

The President will take part in futsal and table tennis matches against journalists before having a dialog with them later in the afternoon.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono breaking into song during a public relations exercise on Friday. Yudhoyono later told journalists that Indonesia needed to protect itself against the Internet and avoid being "crushed by the information technology frenzy."

Related Articles:

Indonesia Must Resist Internet ‘Frenzy’: President

President plants trees at Cipanas Palace

Regional human rights court needed for greater freedom

Thomas Haryonagoro: Museums matter

Tarko Sudiarno, The Jakarta Post, Yogyakarta | Fri, 06/18/2010 9:05 AM

Hopefully you have already heard about the “Visit Museum Year 2010” campaign, launched at the end of 2009 and aimed at increasing the public’s appreciation of Indonesian museums as part of the country’s heritage.


But you may not know that the idea to promote museum visits came from Thomas Haryonagoro, who cut through meters of red tape to get the campaign started.

Every time he passes the largest traditional market in Yogyakarta, Beringharjo, and the Vredeburg Fort beside it, Thomas Haryonagoro feels concerned. He always imagines the two icons of Yogyakarta with the mindset of a museum activist.

Thomas Haryonagoro, who has managed the Ullen Sentalu Museum of batik for decades and is now chairman of the Museum Consultative Board (Barahmus) in Yogyakarta, cannot help but compare the price of the admission ticket for Vredeburg Fort Museum and the toilet service fee at Beringharjo.

“We’re charged Rp 1,000 for using the toilet in Beringharjo, while seven hundred and fifty rupiah is enough to enter Vredeburg. So it’s definitely cheap to go to the museum”, Thomas pointed out.

The low-ticket price, Thomas went on, should attract visitors. In reality, however, not many people go to the museum. The same can be said for museums around Indonesia.

The small entrance fee also indicates museums are not managed seriously, because proper management would require considerable funds, while government allocations are insignificant. Therefore, museums in the country are not very well looked after, making them unattractive.

The government’s lack of vision for Indonesia’s museums doesn’t help either, said Thomas Haryonagoro, also chairman of the Indonesian Museums Association.

If there was a proper strategy to manage museums across the archipelago, “managers of private and state museums would apply the International Council of Museums’ minimum standards for museum management.”

But without the government setting such standards, and each museum being managed separately, virtually no progress has been made to make museums more enticing to the public, Thomas noted.

So along with several other concerned parties, Thomas decided to lift museum management standards in Indonesia.

The “Visit Museum Year 2010” campaign proposal was one of Thomas’ initiatives to lift the profile of Indonesian museums. But without a museum background, the tasks Thomas gave himself felt gargantuan. He admitted his attempts to develop museums in Indonesia had not been as fruitful as expected because many programs faced central and regional bureaucratic snags.

Last year, Thomas smiled quietly when he heard one of his peers make fun of his campaign slogan: “Museums in my heart”. His friend added the slogan was unrealistic given how Indonesian society perceives museums. “He is right. Our society doesn’t appreciate museums. Actually, in developed countries, museums are the main tourist destinations and have become historical laboratory centers where civilizations and cultures can be observed.”

Whereas here, he went on, museums tend to be places where problematic officials are assigned. They are sent to museums where “lucrative” projects do not exist.

“Sometimes I lose hope, but as museums have become part of my life, I’m trying to console myself by recalling foreign authorities who have often paid special attention to Ullen Sentalu. Foreigners show much more appreciation for museums than locals,” said Thomas, who since the 1980s has run the batik museum with his family in Kaliurang, a tourist area at the foot of Mt. Merapi, Yogyakarta.

Thomas inherited his passion for batik from his family, who ran a thriving batik business called Berlian in the 1950s. Besides producing its own batik, Thomas’ family also collects batik from different regions.

This love of batik motivated Thomas and family to establish a museum to showcase their collection of batik to the public.

The museum’s name, Ullen Sentalu, is an abbreviation of the Javanese phrase “Ulating Blencong Sejatine Tataning Lumaku”, which means the true light of human’s path of life.

With that moniker, Thomas, 54, aimed to imbue museum visitors with inspiration. Even though Ullen Sentalu charges visitors a high fee compared to other Yogyakarta museums, people are entertained and enlightened with knowledge.

Ullen Sentalu can serve as a model that meets the standards of the International Council of Museums.

Managed without much promotion, the museum focusing on Yogyakarta and Surakarta cultural values attracts many foreign officials and tourists, despite receiving very little attention from the government.

“Since the 1980s, we’ve never received any assistance from central or regional governments,” said Thomas Haryonagoro, who is still wondering when Indonesia’s 272 museums will be the pride of the nation.

Papuans Rally for Independence from Indonesia

Jakarta Globe, June 18, 2010

Jayapura. Hundreds of Papuans protested on Friday to reject the region’s special autonomy within Indonesia and demand a referendum on self-determination.

Members of the Papuan People’s Assembly (MRP), an upper house of tribal leaders, voted Monday to reject autonomy status, introduced in 2001 after the fall of the Suharto military dictatorship in Jakarta.

Witnesses said about 1,000 people were marching 17 kilometers from Abepura to the provincial parliament in Jayapura to symbolically “return” autonomy status, which protesters said had failed indigenous Melanesians.

“The Papuan People’s Assembly have made a decision to return special autonomy status to the central government. We’re heading now to the Papuan legislative council to submit the result,” protest leader Markus Haluk said.

“We’ll ask [provincial lawmakers] to hold a plenary meeting to hand it back officially to the central government.”

Protesters carried banners reading “Hold a referendum now”, “Independence is not negotiable” and “Reject Special Autonomy.”

Autonomy status has seen powers including control of most tax revenue from natural resources devolved to the provincial government, but many Papuans say it has failed to improve their rights and dignity.

Foreign media and aid workers are not allowed into Papua and West Papua provinces to independently verify allegations of gross human rights abuses and genocide against the indigenous people.

“The special autonomy has failed to bring prosperity and protection to Papuans. We want a referendum to be held to settle the political status of Papua,” said Haluk, of the Papua Central Highland Students Association.

“We call for a dialogue with the central government which must be mediated by a third party from international bodies.”

Papua has been the scene of a low-level insurgency for decades and despite Indonesia’s vast security presence in the region, Jakarta remains extremely sensitive about any sign of separatism.

Indonesia has sent mixed messages about its willingness to loosen its grip on Papua, offering talks with separatist rebels on one hand while jailing and killing their leaders on the other.

Agence France-Presse

Related Article:

Special autonomy a failure: Papuans

RI to host 7th Asian court conference

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 06/18/2010 10:16 AM

Indonesia’s Constitutional Court will host the 7th Conference of Asian Constitutional Court Judges, which will take general election laws and constitutional practices as its theme, from July 12 to 15.

“A nation cannot restrain nor avoid the establishment of democracy and both law and human rights enforcement,” Constitutional Court chief justice Mahfud M.D. said Thursday.

He explained that nations needed to discuss each country’s past experiences with electoral systems and constitutional practices, then to find future plans to facilitate development.

Twenty-five countries are expected to participate at the conference, including Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Thailand, Timor Leste and Uzbekistan. The conference will also invite non-Asian countries: Austria, Germany, Turkey, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Egypt and Morocco.

“At the conference, we will discuss elections issues and shortcomings of electoral courts in each country,” Mahfud said.

Mahfud said in terms of settling election disputes, Indonesia’s experience was considered exemplary by other countries.

“The Indonesian Constitutional Court has resolved 640 electoral disputes in the 2009 presidential and regional elections peacefully,” he said. Of these cases, the court delivered rulings in 70 cases that consequently changed the election results, Mahfud said.

He claimed that a peaceful settlement of electoral disputes through courts was rare in other countries.

Mahfud explained that Indonesia’s elections proved that laws could be drafted to settle any disagreement. He said he believed the Constitutional Court contributed to the country’s democracy.

However, Mahfud admitted there were still incidents of electoral violations, such as vote buying, unfair nomination processes and nepotism.

Eight Asian countries at the conference will also establish the Association of Asian Constitutional Courts and Equivalents Institutions by signing the Jakarta Declaration, Court secretary-general Janedjri M. Gaffar said.

The eight countries are the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, as well as host Indonesia.

The objectives of the association are to protect human rights, promote democracy and supervise the implementation of the law, as well as overseeing the independence of constitutional courts and other similar judicial institutions.

“I hope the formation of the association can improve our role,” Mahfud said. (ipa)

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Regional human rights court needed for greater freedom

Ambon celebrates links with ‘Der Oranje’

M. Azis Tunny, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 06/18/2010 9:51 AM

Indonesian soccer fans pledge allegiance to their favorite teams at the World Cup for various reasons. But only those in Maluku, the country’s northernmost islands, claim to have an emotional link with the Dutch team.

It’s been Orange Fever from the start of the 2010 World Cup in Ambon. The city has turned orange, with Dutch flags fluttering on every corner. Residents are strong supporters of Dutch coach Lambertus van Marwijk’s side.

When the Netherlands beat Denmark 2-0 in a Group E match, jubilation broke out with hundreds of soccer fans promptly parading around the city in cars and motorcycles.

They sported Dutch paraphernalia and flags, setting off fireworks to light up the night.

Ronny Samloy, a local soccer fan, said the huge number of fans of the Dutch soccer team in Ambon was attributable to the fact that three players in the Dutch team — captain Giovanni van Bronckhorst, John Heitinga and Demy de Zeeuw — are of Maluku descent.

Dutch team - captain Giovanni van Bronckhorst

John Heitinga

Demy de Zeeuw

“This may have led many Ambon residents to become fans of the Orange Team,” Samloy, a sports editor at a local daily, said.

He added that the people of Maluku were emotionally close to the Netherlands as the Dutch once colonized Indonesia for 350 years.

During the period, many Maluku people worked for the colonial administration and some became soldiers under the Dutch. The emotional ties intensified following the exodus of more than 12,000 Maluku residents to the Netherlands at the end of the 1940s due to political issues.

Giovanni’s father, for example, is a Eurasian, while his mother, Manuela Sapulette, is said to hail from Ulath village, Saparua district, in Central Maluku regency. She was among those who moved to the Netherlands.

“This is also a factor that has made many Ambon residents, and even the people of Maluku in general, feel closer to the Netherlands,” he added.

Samloy said many Dutch citizens of Maluku origin in the Netherlands were active in the fields of music and sports, especially soccer, as many Dutch people of Maluku descent played in soccer clubs from the first to third division.

He added that Ajax soccer club legend and former Dutch soccer team member Simon Tamata came from Ambon. Samloy said the coach and the entire squad of Dutch third-division club SV Jong Ambon were Dutch citizens of Maluku descent.

Vox Populi Institute director Almudatsir Sangadji sees the fanatical support for the Dutch team as an emotional tie not only with some squad members but also with people of Maluku descent living in the Netherlands.

He said there were more than 70,000 Dutch citizens of Maluku descent living in the Netherlands.

“The first generation of Maluku residents emigrated en masse to the Netherlands at the end of the 1940s. Now the third generation of Maluku people living in the country stands at more than 70,000,” he said.

Sangadji, however, said the show of support for the Dutch team tended to be excessive, with giant Dutch flags on display in a number of areas in Ambon.

“They probably won’t hoist the Indonesian flag on Aug. 17 [Indonesia’s Independence Day], but if the Dutch team plays in the World Cup and wins, even if it’s in the first round, the streets would be filled with jubilant people.

“A number of areas would also be filled with the Dutch flags. This phenomenon has occurred for a long time and is not unique to the current World Cup,” he said.

Netherlands' Wesley Sneijder (2nd L) celebrates with teammate Robin Van Persie (1st L) during their 2010 World Cup Group E soccer match against Japan at Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban, South Africa, on June 19, 2010. (Xinhua/Liao Yujie)

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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.