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, November 27, 2013

Rohani's 'Yes We Can' Moment

Radio Free Europe, November 26, 2013

Iranian President Hassan Rohani's charm offensive continues at home with a musical clip that seems to have been inspired by U.S. President Barack Obama's "Yes We Can" music video.

The beautifully made black-and-white clip,  which includes segments of the Iranian president's August 3 inauguration speech mixed with music, singing, and sign language, has been released to mark the first 100 days of his presidency.

Obama's 2008 "Yes We Can" clip was created with the participation of some 30 Hollywood actors and singers.

Rohani's video was posted on his website and shared on Twitter by the unverified account of the Iranian president, which is said to be maintained by his media team.

WATCH: Rohani's 100 Days

The clip, which features a well-known singer and actor, Amir Hossein Modaress, was produced by Iranian documentary-maker Hossein Dehbashi, who also worked on Rohani's election campaign videos. Dehbashi has been quoted by Iranian media as saying that the video was created "spontaneously."

In the clip, unprecedented for an Iranian president, people of all ages play musical instruments and sing to Rohani's words in Persian, but also in the languages of Iran's minorities, including Kurdish and Arabic.

The clip also includes sound bites from prominent figures in Iran's modern history including Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh and the founder of the Islamic Republic Ruhollah Khomeini.

The main takeaway of the clip seems to be unity:

Let space and opportunity be given to all Iranians who are devoted to this land. Let those who are competent serve the nation. Let their hearts be cleansed from hatred. Let reconciliation replace anger and friendship replace enmity.

Rohani said his government wants happiness to return to the Iranian people's lives and calls on God to guide him.

Dehbashi lived in the United States for several years. He was arrested in 2010, allegedly for forging a United Nations letter that accompanied his immigration application. Upon returning to Tehran, Dehbashi claimed he had been held in solitary confinement by the FBI.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Indonesia, Australia take steps to calm spy row

Google – AFP, Olivia Rondonuwu (AFP), 26 November 2013

Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abott (C) and Indonesia's President Susilo
 Bambang Yudhoyono (R) are followed by Margie Abbott (L) and Ani Yudhoyono (2L)
 during a visit to the presidential palace in Jakarta on September 30, 2013 (AFP/File,
Adek Berry)

Jakarta — Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Tuesday Australia's leader had made "important" commitments aimed at ending a row over spying but warned much more work was needed before ties returned to normal.

But even as tensions calmed with Canberra, they threatened to escalate elsewhere, with Yudhoyono saying his government would summon the South Korean and Singaporean envoys over new espionage claims.

Allegations that Australian spies tried to listen to the phones of Yudhoyono, his wife and his ministers in 2009 surfaced last week and sparked a diplomatic crisis.

Jakarta reacted furiously, ending cooperation on military exercises and in the key area of people-smuggling and recalling its ambassador from Australia.

Indonesia was further infuriated by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's failure to apologise or offer what it saw as a clear explanation.

But on Tuesday Yudhoyono struck a conciliatory tone after receiving a letter from Abbott aimed at calming the row with a key ally and trading partner.

The letter contained a "commitment from the Australian PM that Australia will not do anything in the future that will disadvantage or disturb Indonesia", the president said.

"That is a very important point," Yudhoyono added.

He said Abbott supported his proposal to come up with a "protocols" and a code of ethics to govern relations between the neighbours that were "clear, fair and abided to".

Yudhoyono described a long process, that would involve assigning the foreign minister or a special envoy to work with the Australians.

After the details were hammered out, a formal ceremony would have to take place to bring the new agreements into place, attended by both Abbott and Yudhoyono, said the president.

Only after the two countries have "regained trust" in this fashion could normal relations and cooperation be restored, said the president.

However Yudhoyono reacted angrily to new reports that South Korea and Singapore helped with US-Australian surveillance in the region.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported Monday that both countries played key roles in a "Five Eyes" intelligence network grouping the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

It quoted a top-secret US National Security Agency map that it said was published by Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad.

The president said that even though Indonesia was not specifically named in the reports, he was nevertheless angry as the whole of Asia was mentioned.

"I have instructed our foreign minister to ask for an explanation from the ambassadors of those countries," he said.

A presidential spokesman confirmed Yudhoyono meant the envoys would be summoned.

Malaysia's foreign ministry earlier Tuesday summoned the ambassador from neighbouring Singapore over the same report.

The report said that as a major hub for regional telecommunications traffic, Singapore was an important link in the surveillance network.

The allegations that Australian spies targeted Indonesian officials has also sparked anger among the Indonesian public, and on Tuesday a crowd of demonstrators in military-style uniforms protested outside the Australian embassy.

The protesters, from a paramilitary group, burned photos of Abbott and demanded the Australian ambassador leave the country.

The alleged spying was first revealed by Australian media last week, which based its reports on leaked documents from US intelligence fugitive Edward Snowden.

They showed that Australia's electronic intelligence agency tracked Yudhoyono's activity on his mobile phone for 15 days in August 2009 under the previous Canberra government.

At least one phone call was reportedly intercepted.

Members of Pemuda Pancasila burn a picture of Australia’s Prime
 Minister Tony Abbott during a protest against claims that Australian
 spies targeted the phone of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang 
Yudhoyono, outside the Australian embassy in Jakarta on Nov. 26,
2013. AFP Photo/Adek Berry)

Catholic-Majority Province Hoping for Papal Visit in 2014

Jakarta Globe, Yoseph Kellen, November 26, 2013

Pope Francis has been asked to pay a visit
 to Indonesia next year by the governor of East
Nusa Tenggara. (EPA Photo/Claudio Peri)
Kupang. The governor of the mainly Christian province of East Nusa Tenggara on Monday announced a plan to invite Pope Francis to visit the region.

“On behalf of our province, I have invited Pope Francis to visit and I have conveyed the request to Cardinal Stanislaw, asking him to relay the message to the pontiff, and we will also send an official written invitation,” Governor Frans Lebu Raya said in Kupang, the provincial capital.

He was referring to Stanislaw Rylko, a Polish cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church who currently serves as president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

“We hope we can bring the pope here next year,” Rylko said.

Rylko is currently in Kupang on a visit where he was scheduled to officiate at the Oebelo pilgrimage site.

If Pope Francis agrees to visit the province, commonly known by its Indonesian initials NTT, he will be the third pontiff to visit in the last 50 years.

Pope Paul VI visited the island of Flores in NTT in 1967 and he was followed by Pope John Paul II who visited Maumere district in 1989.

During his visit to NTT, Rylko cautioned people not to misuse the pilgrimage site.

“If you commit indecent conduct you will be condemned for generations,’ he said. He added that the site was not only built for Catholics, but for anyone to bring their family and relatives to pray.

Thousands of Catholics attended the ceremony at the Oebelo pilgrimage site. The site features a chapel named Santo Yohannes Paulus II after the region’s last papal visitor.

Rylko was welcomed with an official ceremony conducted by province officials.

Pope Francis himself is the first non-European Pope elected in 1,300 years, and inherits from his German predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, a church rocked by sex-abuse scandals amid a waning profile in an increasingly secular West.

His biggest challenge is to restore the reputation of the millennia-old institution and attract believers to a faith outstripped by Islam in terms of global numbers.

Additional reporting from Reuters

At World Culture Forum, a Call for Openness and Understanding

Jakarta Globe, Ezra Sihite, November 26, 2013

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono greets Nobel laureate Amartya Sen at
the first World Culture Forum in Bali on Monday, Nov. 25, 2013. (JG Photo/
Afriadi Hikmal)

Nusa Dua. Delegates from 45 countries have come together for the first World Culture Forum in Bali, an event organized by the Indonesia’s Education and Culture Ministry and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, aimed at promoting culture as key in the establishment of sustainable ties and development among nations.

“We already have a World Economic Forum and the World Social Forum for critical discussions on globalization and all its aspects. However, we are yet to have a global forum for meaningful dialogues on the importance of culture,” said President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the opening of the WCF on Monday.

“This forum will discuss in depth how culture can contribute to achieving sustainable development.”

He said the WCF would serve as a platform on which nations could build mutual understanding as well as better appreciate cultural diversity.

“This World Culture Forum is designed to complement and strengthen existing initiatives, including those under the framework of UNESCO,” Yudhoyono said, highlighting that the platform should also contribute in boosting local and national cultural communities to grow amid globalization.

According to the organizers, the forum has drawn up to 800 participants from 45 different countries.

“There are also 17 government ministers [from different countries],” Education Minister Mohammad Nuh said, adding that he hoped the forum would provide room for nations to exchange information on their cultures.

Also present at the event was Indian economist and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, as well as prominent Indian-American journalist Fareed Zakaria, who were invited as keynote speakers, among other panelists.

During his opening speech, Yudhoyono emphasized that culture should become an important source of income for citizens of a nation.

He cited a UN report that showed that cultural and creative industries represented one of the most rapidly expanding sectors in the global economy with a growth rate reaching 9.7 percent in Asia, 13.9 percent in Africa, 17.6 percent in the Middle East, 11.9 percent in South America and 4.3 percent in North and Central America.

“Indonesia has taken a number of measures to make culture a driver of sustainable development. This includes the development of sustainable cultural tourism and cultural infrastructure,” he said.

Additionally, the president said that culture was also critical for nations to maintain stability and order, elements important to development efforts.

“Today, there are countries which remain under conflict … therefore, nurturing a culture of peace is essential to achieving sustainable development,” he said.

Nuh echoed Yudhoyono’s statements and said culture could be used as a tool to tackle various social issues.

“Through culture, people will live life in harmony,” he said.

According to Nuh, the idea of holding a World Culture Forum was first conceived in 2005.

The event, he said, is hoped to promote culture not only as an element of social connectivity but also as a supporting element to strengthen globalization.

UNESCO director general Irina Bokova expressed her support for the event, emphasizing the importance of culture in today’s civilization.

“People will not be able to function without culture,” she said, noting the public’s role in sustainable development.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Dutch PM Visit to Indonesia Yields ‘Concrete Results’

Jakarta Globe, November 25, 2013

Netherland’s Prime Minister Mark Rutte, left, poses with Indonesia’s President
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, right, during a visit at the presidential palace in
Jakarta on Nov. 20, 2013. (AFP Photo/Adek Berry)

As many as 21 agreements worth millions of dollars have been signed between Indonesian and Dutch companies in various sectors during the visit of the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to Jakarta last week.

Retno LP Marsudi, the Indonesian ambassador to the Netherlands, described the visit as “a big success” in term of the acceptance of the visit by the Indonesian public and results that were achieved.

“We have achieved so many concrete results during the visit,” she said.

The two governments signed several agreements to bring the relations to a new era, with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono praising Indonesia-Dutch relations as providing concrete solutions to Indonesian problems while Rutte describing the bilateral cooperation being very beneficial to both nations after their meeting on Nov. 20.

Rutte brought with him nearly 200 businesspeople from 110 companies, the biggest ever Dutch delegation to visit Indonesia. The group includes the Dutch biggest companies, such as Phillips and Friesland Campina.

Both Yudhoyono and Rutte launched the unprecedented comprehensive partnership that aimed to boost cooperation in at least 11 sectors, including water management, logistics, infrastructure, food security, agriculture, energy and education.

Hatta Rajasa, Indonesian chief economic minister, said that Indonesia expected to double trade and investment with the Netherlands from the current $5 billion and $1.3 billion respectively in five years.

“We will work harder because this is a new opportunity, especially since we have reduced license procedures, increased transparency and provided incentives,” he added.

He expressed the hope that Indonesia could become a marketing base for Dutch companies to enter Southeast Asia by 2015. Similarly, the Netherlands could become the base for Indonesian companies hoping to enter Europe.

“We want to become a single market by 2015. We hope that Indonesia can become the base for Dutch companies to enter the Asean market and, in turn, Rotterdam in the Netherlands can become our base to expand into the European market,” he said.

With regard to the national coastal development management, he said the Dutch government had expressed its intention to help and participate in the Great Sea Wall project, which is expected to start in 2014.

The Netherlands has funded a plan for a massive sea wall in Jakarta Bay to prevent tidal flooding and to manage the flow of water within the capital.

The area behind the 35-kilometer-long, 15-kilometer-wide wall will be turned into office complexes, malls and other commercial buildings. There is even a plan to relocate all government offices to the area once it is completed by 2025.

“We are cooperating with the Netherlands. We plan to carry out the project together. After the master plan is finished, we will offer it as a public-private cooperation project,” Hatta added.

In business-to-business deals, Van Oord, a Dutch port company, will work on a $27 million project to create five islands around Tanjung Perak port in Surabaya. An industrial estate will be built on the new land.

“Indonesia faces big marine engineering challenges,” Van Oord chief executive Pieter van Oord said, after the contract signing at Tanjung Priok in Jakarta in the presence of Rutte.

“The broad experience of Dutch engineers in protecting low-lying areas and the construction of land makes good cooperation possible.”

Work on the project will start in December and will continue until spring 2014. The project will involve dredging 4,000,000 cubic meters of sand from the sea bed and using it to construct five islands with a total area of 220 hectares. The contract will also include the installation of rock. Van Oord will be deploying a large trailing suction hopper dredger on the project.

In food security and agriculture, the Indonesian Horticultural Seed Producers Association (Hortindo) and its Dutch counterpart agreed to cooperate in developing horticulture in Indonesia. “For us, cooperation is very important because the Netherlands is the world’s second-largest exporter of horticultural products,” Hortindo spokesman, Glenn Pardede said.

“The Dutch investors want to develop potato and large yellow onion plantations in Indonesia,” he noted.

In the education and health sectors, several universities in the Netherlands signed agreements with their counterparts in Indonesia.

Hasanuddin University in Makassar and the Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam (AMC) agreed to work together to create a state-of-the-art heart center in the eastern Indonesia’s biggest city.

Meanwhile, Erasmus University, a Dutch university with a leading health center in Europe, signed agreements with Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta and Airlangga University in Surabaya to build health research centers for patient care.

On logistics and training, the Bandung Institute of Technology, Surabaya Institute of Technology, the Indonesian Transport Operators Association and the Indonesian Logistics Association teamed up with Dutch’s STC and Panteia/NEA to enhance cooperation on education, training, capacity development, research and consultancy in transport and logistics.

In the aviation and airport sectors, the Indonesian Civil Aviation Training Center and JAA will work together to boost the aviation safety training to meet international aviation safety standards while becoming a center of excellence in the region.

The string of accidents that have rocked Indonesia’s aviation industry, raising concerns in the safety standards applied by the country’s industry.

In addition, Indonesia’s Jaya Teknik and Dutch Vanderlande Industries signed a contract on improving the handling of baggage at the New Soekarno-Hatta International Airport Terminal 3.

Especially in palm oil plantation, Vice President Boediono asked Rutte to help Indonesia overcome obstacles that had hindered its palm oil exports to the Europe.

“Palm oil is a very important and sustainable industry in Indonesia. We hope that palm oil exports will increase again,” Boediono told Rutte during their meeting last Friday.

In response, Rutte said that he would try to resolve bottlenecks in Indonesian palm oil exports.

“I understand that there are 3.7 million workers in the palm oil industry, and that palm oil is a large and important industry for Indonesia. Hopefully, it can gradually improve,” he said.

Boediono also asked the Netherlands to cooperate in developing Indonesia’s depleted infrastructure, many said has become the main stumbling block for the country to develop further into an advance nation.

“We need investors from the Netherlands to help develop our infrastructure,” he said.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Indonesian Ambassador to the
Netherlands Retno LP Marsudi, side by side in The Hague.
(Photo courtesy of Indonesian embassy)

Related Articles:

Saudi Juliet demands right to marry her Yemeni Romeo

Google – AFP, 24 November 2013

A Yemeni girl takes part in a gathering in support with Saudi woman Huda al-Niran
outside a courthouse in Sanaa, on November 24, 2013 (AFP, Mohammed Huwais)

Sanaa — A young Saudi woman on Sunday urged a Yemeni court to let her stay and marry the man she loves, defying norms in both deeply conservative countries.

In a case reminiscent of Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet, Huda al-Niran, 22, defied her family and crossed the border illegally to be with her beloved.

As she pleaded her case to be able to stay and marry Arafat Mohammed Tahar, 25, her supporters demonstrated outside the Sanaa courthouse, sporting headbands proclaiming "We are all Huda."

The lovers' plight has gripped imaginations in both Yemen and Saudi Arabia, where the young woman's courage is seen as astonishing.

A Yemeni shows his support for a Saudi 
woman during her trial in Sanaa, on
 November 24, 2013 (AFP, Mohammed
She not only went against the wishes of her family, who said she could not marry Tahar, but also dared to flee the country and follow him to Yemen.

In court, she refused to accept a lawyer provided by the Saudi embassy, fearing pressure to return home.

But Huda did accept to be represented by a lawyer appointed by a Yemeni non-government organisation called Hood, who said he hoped for a favourable outcome.

"This is a humanitarian case, and must not raise tensions between the two countries," lawyer Abdel Rakib al-Qadi told AFP.

He indicated that Sanaa had come under pressure from the Saudi authorities to ensure Huda's return.

She is currently under arrest and on trial for illegal entry. If found guilty, she faces expulsion.

No decision was announced on Sunday, and the court set the next hearing for December 1 as it awaited a UN High Commissioner for Refugees ruling on a request for asylum.

A UNHCR representative confirmed to AFP that Huda had initiated proceedings to be granted refugee status in Yemen.

If she succeeds, it will be difficult for the authorities in Yemen to expel her.

Huda's case has also come to the attention of the New York-based Human Rights Watch.

On November 19, HRW urged Yemen not to repatriate her and to take into consideration the fact that returning to her family could put her life at risk.

"She fears physical harm from her family members, whom she said have beaten her in the past, if she is returned to Saudi Arabia," HRW said in a statement.

Pakistan's teenage activist Malala Yousafzai is awarded with the
Sakharov Prize  for Freedom of Thought by European Parliament
chief Martin Schulz in Strasbourg, eastern France, on November 20,
2013 (AFP, Patrick) 

Aisha North, Feb 8, 2013

The manuscript of survival – part 265 - (Constant Companions channeled through Aisha North)

Aisha North
As you have noticed, there are many stirrings in the undercurrent now, and some of the light is already starting to penetrate the fog that has enveloped mankind for such a long time. At the moment, this will seem to be mere pinpricks of light in a huge ocean of darkness, but do not let that fool you. As we have talked about so many times, this layer of darkness that still seems to cover most of your planet is only an illusion, a thin film of confusion covering up the new reality. And now, this reality will start to become more and more visible. Not only to you, but also to others out there, people who look upon themselves as no more than an ordinary citizen, but who will soon start to realize that they too have the power to change not only their own life, but also the lives of so many others.

And they will do so in a peaceful way, for we do not speak of a violent upsurging, far from it. For have you not witnessed already how the power and might of an armed scoundrel is not match for the power of the light? We refer of course to the story of the brave girl who had to face armed assassins because she stood up for her right to educate herself (From Aisha: I think they refer to the story of Malala Yousafzai). If you look closely at her story, you will see how the light penetrating her has been seeping into thousands, if not millions of others already. So she is indeed a shining example on how one of these pinpricks of light can blow away a huge area of fog and darkness, and how the forces of ill intent are no match for the light, for those bullets being aimed at her did not kill the light, it only made it that much stronger.

So let that be a lesson to you all on how nothing and no one can stop the light, no matter how hard they try. For the force of anger and hatred is not match for the love and compassion that is starting to grow on your planet now. And even if these forces of the old are trying their hardest to instill the old fear into you all, they will not succeed, no matter how many weapons they fire off, or how many people they beat to a pulp. For they cannot beat you now dear ones, you are the ones who have won this battle for the souls.

For in your soul, the light is growing stronger and stronger, and with it, the power you carry. And through your example, just like the girl who took the bullets in order to let the light shine out to the whole world, the change will come, step by step, person to person. For you are also brave, and even if you will never have to face the same hardships as this girl, you too will have to conquer the world with your actions. For you are indeed the bravest of the brave, and you have walked through fire to get where you are today. And doing that, you have liberated not only yourself, but thousands upon thousands of your fellow men and women. For you have hacked a trail trough that dense jungle of fear and darkness, and following in your footsteps are the rest of humanity. With a few exceptions of course, and they will clamor and cry as loud as they can in order to make you all believe that they still outnumber you. But they do not, and that is what you will all see as the days keep getting lighter and lighter, and those pinpricks of lights grow ever brighter and ever bigger.

So fear not, as fear has been diminished to such a state it is but a shadow of itself. That shadow is still touching the hearts of many around you, but that shadow is also thinning out, and it will be replaced by light in even the sturdiest of hearts. For light has no boundaries, only the fear has that now, so light is spreading out faster and faster, and the courage it inspires in you all is growing with it. So stand tall and proud, and know that you too has been a part of that journey from the darkest abyss and to this, the threshold of everlasting light. And know too that your actions will never go unnoticed, as you have all been instrumental in this about turn of the human race. So look around, and we think you will find these shining examples starting to emerge in every corner of your world, even in the places where you least expect them to. For, as we said, the light has no boundaries, certainly not one set by any human, and no line on the map or no wall, no matter how high it is, can keep it out. So again we say rejoice, for the morning has broken, and the day is about to start. And this day is one that will last forever.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Christian Woman Jailed in Bali for Insulting Hindu Offerings

Jakarta Globe – AFP, Camelia Pasandaran, November 22, 2013

A Balinese woman carries an offering as she celebrates the religious festival
of Galungan at a temple in Denpasar, on Indonesia’s tourist island of Bali on
October 23, 2013. (AFP Photo)

A Christian woman residing in the Hindu-majority island of Bali was sentenced to 14-months in prison for calling Hindu offerings “dirty and disgusting,” the Supreme Court recently announced.

“The defendant Rusgiani, who is also known as Yohana, has been proven validly and convincingly guilty of purposefully and publicly expressing herself in a way to ignite conflict and defame a certain religion in Indonesia,” A.A. Ketut Anom Wirakanta said during the trial at the Denpasar District Court as written in the court ruling. “[The judges] have sentenced the defendant to one year and two months in prison.”

The ruling was published by the Supreme Court earlier this month, even though the ruling was delivered on May 14 in the Denpasar District Court. Rusgiani has been detained in Bali since January.

The punishment was lighter than the two years imprisonment demanded by prosecutors.

The incident occurred on Aug. 25, 2012. Rusgiani, a Christian who had only been living Bali for three months at the time, arrived at the house of Ni Nengah Suliati in Jimbaran to pray for Suliati’s mother-in-law, who was ill at the time.

As she left the house, Rusigiani reportedly saw Canang Sari laying in the street. The daily offerings — which generally include rice, flowers, bananas and betel leaf — are placed in the streets of Bali as a daily thank the Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa (the “All-In-One God”).

“God cannot enter this house because there is canang here,” Rusigiani said. “Canang is disgusting and dirty. My God is rich, He doesn’t need offerings.”

After receiving a report from Suliati, Bali police named her a suspect and charged her with Article 156 of the Criminal Code, which states that “a person who expresses feelings of hostility, hatred or contempt against one or more groups of the Indonesian population shall be punished with a maximum imprisonment of four years or a maximum fine of Rp 300 [$0.03].”

Neither side plans to file an appeal.

“The jail sentence is not for revenge or meant to torture [her], but it is a preventive, corrective, repressive and educative sentence to make the perpetrator realize what she has done and will not repeat it,” Anom said as he read out the ruling.

I Nyoman Kenak, head of Parisada Hindu Dharma Indonesia, said during the trial that Rusgiani’s statements could have insulted Hindu believers and encourage religious intolerance.

“The defendant’s deed has tainted Hinduism,” Kenak said.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Indonesians Encouraged to Participate in Mass Debates

Jakarta Globe, Marcel Thee, November 21, 2013

‘We Discuss’ currently runs five programs each with a different topic of debate.
(Photos courtesy of Whiteboard Journal)

The Indonesian education system isn’t exactly known for its encouragement of critical thinking, but a younger generation of Indonesians are breaking barriers. New attitudes to learning are emerging — young people want engagement and debate and to not simply memorize facts.

“We Discuss” is a project that hopes to address these needs and get young people to express their beliefs and opinions.

The project is the brainchild of the Whiteboard Journal website team. Currently it consists of five programs — with specialist topics and locations. Thus far it has been successful in getting creative minds together in a welcoming area to share their thoughts.

The program’s latest discussion “Faces and Places” aims to show how the various interactions we have with the places we live in or frequently visit reveal much about how we act in social situations.

We spoke with Dwiputri Pertiwi, who spearheaded the program about the creation and goals of “We Discuss.”

How did the initial idea for ‘We Discuss’ come to you?

About six months ago, we [the Whiteboard Journal editorial team] were brainstorming ideas for a regular offline event.

Since we already had music-related events such as Cliff Notes and W_Music Sessions at the Goods Diner [a chain of restaurants that partner with the Whiteboard Journal], we thought it would be a great idea to focus on something else that would encourage our readers to directly engage with our online content.

Did you have similar programs prior to this?

In the past, we have had a number of Roundtable events where we would invite guest speakers to converse about topics such as urban planning and entrepreneurship in front of large audiences. While this format has a strong educational value, there is little to no room for dialogue.

Question and answer sessions are not enough to get everyone involved. This is why we think it’s important to hold an open discussion where two-way communication can actually take place. Participants are encouraged to express their opinions; hence the name ‘We Discuss.’

Did you have any particular aspiration or goals with the program?

There is no ultimate goal per se, but we do hope that ‘We Discuss’ can be a platform where people feel free to exchange ideas and opinions. Even if the scale of the event is very small [there are normally around 20 participants], we want to create an environment that makes people want to speak as much as they want to listen. Getting people to talk at each other won’t get anyone very far.

How do you settle on a particular topic?

We usually follow the Whiteboard Journal’s editorial calendar because it makes it easier for us to connect the discussion with our existing articles. About two weeks before each event, we publish two blog posts on our web site.

The first being a sort of guideline that consists of the general theme – for example, education — and three subtopics, such as sources, educators, learners, for the upcoming discussion; and the second being a list of recommended reading material from Whiteboard as well as other sources.

This is another thing about ‘We Discuss,’ we provide such material prior to the event because we don’t want participants to feel lost during the discussion.

What kind of topics have you discussed so far?

To date, beginning in July, we have discussed four topics: education, national identity, fashion and art. This month’s discussion focused on the social aspects of architecture.

The day after each discussion, we always post a brief summary on the Whiteboard Journal blog.

What has running the program done for you, personally?

Personally, I always learn something new every month because of the amount of research I do each time.

I remember being very anxious about the discussion on fashion because I knew almost nothing substantial about the topic.

But that sense of anxiety pushed me to want to find out more, and in the end, I ended up learning a lot of interesting things from the research and the discussion about a topic I was previously unfamiliar with.

I hope that those who participate in ‘We Discuss’ can also feel the happiness of having discovered something new — be it a new way of thinking, or a bundle of new information to process.

How do you see the current generation of young Indonesians differing from their seniors in terms of wanting to be more involved in these kinds of public discourse?

Hmm, that’s a tough question. I think that those who show up at ‘We Discuss’ events are people who do want to speak, so most of them tend to be confident in sharing their opinions.

It’s usually a little quiet in the beginning because not everyone knows each other, but after 15 minutes or so, more and more people start to join the conversation.

Do you see social media playing a lot into how younger people interact?

I think our generation has a lot of ideas. Anyone who spends enough time on Twitter would know that we have a lot to say about a lot of things.

But I suppose this is where the problem lies. Twitter and other forms of social media do allow users to exchange idea or comments but in the end, such platforms encourage people to announce ideas rather than exchange them.

What do you think has caused this passivity in the majority of the younger generation of Indonesians?

It’s hard to say who’s to blame. We are not lacking ideas; we just need more open forums.

I think that when people share their thoughts with an audience they can see and directly interact with, they will be more aware of what they say. And when people are more aware of what they say, they will think carefully before they speak.

‘We Discuss’
Kinokuniya Plaza Senayan Jl. Asia Afrika 8, Sogo Plaza Senayan
Lt. 5 – South Jakarta
For the complete program, visit

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Dutch Return, This Time as Friends

Jakarta Globe, Abdul Khalik, November 20, 2013

Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Indonesian Ambassador to the Netherlands Retno
LP Marsudi, side by side in The Hague. (Photo courtesy of Indonesian embassy)

The Hague/Jakarta. Cornelis de Houtman, the first Dutch traveler to arrive in Indonesia and generations of other Dutch officials, traders and investors that came later, knew well how Indonesia could provide a lifeline for the Netherlands for hundreds of years, while making themselves very rich in the process.

And now, with Europe still struggling to cope with an economic downturn, Indonesia’s significance is back on the table, offering massive opportunities for the Dutch economy.

The Netherlands is sending its largest delegation since the independence of its former colony in 1945, a visit that has been dubbed by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte as “the most serious effort to synergize the two countries that have deep historical ties for the sake of present and future mutual benefits.”

Rutte, who leads 200 businesspeople representing more than 100 companies and research institutes on a three-day visit, will meet today with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as the Netherlands aims to build a new chapter of deeper cooperations with Indonesia, while trying to offset incidents that have damaged relations with its former colony in recent years.

“We have a long and difficult history together. But we must focus on the future, not only on the past, for the mutual benefits of the two countries,” Rutte told the Jakarta Globe in an interview in his office last week.

New era of relations

To show that the visit is historic and crucial, Rutte and Yudhoyono will sign an unprecedented joint declaration on comprehensive partnership between the two countries to take the relations to a new high.

The declaration will become an umbrella agreement for both countries to boost their cooperation further.

“The declaration marks the new era of our relations and cooperation. The partnership will focus on water management, logistics, infrastructure, food security and agriculture and education,” said Rutte, who will be accompanied by several key ministers and officials, including Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen and Minister for Agriculture Sharon Dijksma.

Rutte stressed that what is important for both the Netherlands and Indonesia is how the countries can benefit each other in the future.

Bernard Bot, an influential Dutch senior diplomat and former foreign minister, who declared in 2005 that the Netherlands acknowledged Indonesia’s independence in 1945, agreed that it’s time for both countries to come to terms with past and move ahead. “There’s so much we can do together for the sake of our future,” he said.

“It’s for real now,” Retno LP Marsudi, the Indonesian ambassador to the Netherlands, said in a separate interview.

Concrete offers

On water management, the Netherlands has funded a master plan for a massive sea wall in Jakarta Bay to prevent tidal flooding and to manage the flow of water within the capital.

The area behind the 35-kilometer long, 15-kilometer wide wall will be turned into office complexes, malls and other commercial buildings. There is even a plan to relocate all government offices to the area once it is completed by 2025.

“The master plan will be finished by early next year and groundbreaking will begin later in the year,” Retno said.

The Netherlands, Rutte said, has always had to deal with high water and sea waves in order to survive, considering that the country is partly below sea level. He added that his country would bring state-of-the-art technology for Indonesia to use.

“It’s time for the Netherlands to empower Indonesians by equipping them to fish, not by merely providing the fish,” said Jesse Kuijper, a businessman who will join Rutte to Jakarta and who heads the Netherlands-based Indonesia-Nederland Society.

On logistics, Dutch companies could help Indonesia build world-class seaports across the country while in agriculture several Dutch firms have offered their Indonesian counterparts investment and technology to enable the country’s farmers to produce food with the latest technology at a time when prices are rising and the nation is struggling to feed its people.

“The Netherlands is the world’s second-largest exporter of agricultural products, and we have many areas we can work together,” said Rutte.

In education, Indonesia has asked the Netherlands to treat Indonesian students as local students, so that they pay lower tuition fees. “It would be an excellent gesture from the Dutch government if the Indonesian students are treated as locals,” said Kuijper.

Difficult time in Europe

Rutte acknowledged that Europe and the Netherlands are facing tough times. “We have a difficult period at the moment. I do believe that we have made good strides but there is still a long way to go,” he said.

He said he admired Indonesia’s high economic growth of 6 percent annually. “We are jealous,” he said, smiling.

The latest figures from the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) show the Netherlands economy grew by just 0,1 percent in the last quarter compared to the previous.

The CBS also reported that there were 46,000 fewer jobs in the third quarter.

“Indonesia can offer Dutch businesspeople a place for investment with a huge market of 240 million people and a growing middle class of over 100 million, as well as entry gate to the bigger market of Asean,” said Aleksius Jemadu, dean of Pelita Harapan University’s School of Social and Political Sciences.

He said the Netherlands now sees Indonesia as a successful democracy with long-term stability. “Relations between Indonesia and the Dutch should be more special — more than other ties — because we have a long history together. We can synergize, with Indonesia providing natural resources and markets and the Dutch providing capital, knowledge and technology,” Aleksius said.

He added that the Netherlands can offer Indonesia the opportunity to become a producer and not just a consumer. “It is now depending on Indonesia to realize the goals,” Aleksius said.

The Netherlands already is Indonesia’s second-biggest trading partner in Europe. In 2012, trade between the two countries was worth $4.7 billion.

Blast form the past

Relations between Indonesia and the Netherlands have experienced ups and downs, with two incidents proving particularly embarrassing for leaders of both countries in the last few years.

President Yudhoyono was forced to cancel his trip to the Netherlands in 2010 after a group of Moluccan independence activists filed a motion in the Dutch courts to arrest the president for gross human right violations in Maluku and Papua.

Relations became tense after the trip was canceled, with many in Indonesia blaming the Dutch for insulting Yudhoyono.

The relations plunged into a new low when the Dutch government had to cancel the sale of Leopard tanks to Indonesia last year after the parliament voted to reject the deal. Indonesia then angrily turned to Germany to buy the same tanks.

Rutte, who loves Indonesian food like nasi goreng and sate and whose parents lived for some time in Indonesia, gave assurances such incidents would not happen again under his administration. “In fact, we are expecting President Yudhoyono to visit us next year,” he said.

About the Moluccan activists, Retno said everybody has the right to keep on dreaming. “But the question is whether or not it is realistic.”

She said relations between the two countries are getting better, with both sides understanding and trusting each other.

Retno also said the close connections between the people of the two countries meant Indonesia and the Netherlands could not afford to let relations cool.

Currently, 10 percent of the Netherlands’ 17 million population has direct or indirect links to Indonesia. And every year, Retno said, thousands of Indonesians travel to the Netherlands as tourists or for business, with the Dutch doing likewise.

Aleksius said fewer and fewer people in Indonesia see the Netherlands as a former colonial power.

“I don’t think it matters much now. People are becoming pragmatic, seeking concrete benefits and looking forward instead of being bothered by the past,” he said.

Netherland’s Prime Minister Mark Rutte, left, poses with Indonesia’s President
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, right, during a visit at the presidential palace in
Jakarta on Nov. 20, 2013. (AFP Photo/Adek Berry)

Related Articles:

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte hold Wednesday’s edition
 of the Jakarta Globe after meeting with Indonesian President
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. (JG Photo)