Friday, December 30, 2011

Negara Gagal Melindungi Jamaah Syi’ah Sampang


Siaran Pers
Center for Marginalized Communities Studies (CMARs) Surabaya

Kasus kekerasan yang dialami oleh Jamaah Syi’ah di Dusun Nangkrenang, Karang Gayam, Omben Sampang, merupakan tragedi kemanusiaan. Kasus ini sudah berlangsung sejak 2004, klimaksnya adalah aksi pembakaran rumah ketua Ikatan Jamaah Ahl al-Bait (IJABI), Ust. Tajul Muluk, beserta dengan dua rumah Jamaah Syi’ah lainnya dan Mushalla yang digunakan sebagai sarana peribadatan, 29 Desember 2011, pukul 8.30 WIB. Aksi tersebut dilakukan oleh sekitar 500 orang massa yang mengklaim diri sebagai ahl as-sunnah wa al-Jamaah.

Aksi pembakaran ini merupakan yang kedua kalinya dalam bulan Desember ini. Sebelumnya, aksi pembakaran rumah Jamaah Syi’ah juga terjadi di Desa Blu’uran, Karang Penang, Sampang pada 20 Desember 2011, dini hari. Pada saat itu, massa bahkan membuat palang pada pintu rumah Moh. Sirri sebelum membakarnya. Massa secara sengaja ingin mencelakai dan membunuh Moh. Sirri sekeluarga.

Aksi-aksi pembakaran ini merupakan mata rantai kekerasan yang dialami oleh Jamaah Syi’ah di Omben dan Karang Penang sejak 2004 akibat pewacanaan sesat atas ajaran Syi’ah dan aktivitas dakwah yang dilakukan oleh Ust. Tajul Muluk. Pada bulan Oktober 2009, serangan serupa terhadap Jamaah Syi’ah sebenarnya sudah terjadi. Pada saat itu, 3000an massa sudah siap menyerang Nangkrenang. Ancaman serangan terjadi kembali pada 4 April 2011, ketika Jamaah Syi’ah hendak memperingati Maulid Nabi Muhammad SAW.

Semua kekerasan terjadi akibat syi’ar kebencian (hate speech) yang diintensifikasi oleh para tokoh agama di Omben, dan direproduksi secara terus menerus oleh Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI) Sampang dan MUI se-Madura, Pimpinan Cabang Nahdhatul Ulama (PCNU) Sampang, dan Badan Silaturahmi Ulama se- Madura (Basra).

Ust. Tajul Muluk sendiri akhirnya diusir dari Sampang pada 16 April 2011. Pengusiran ini difasilitasi oleh Bupati dan Muspida, Bakesbanglinmas Sampang, dan Gubernur Jawa Timur. Sebelum diusir dari Sampang, Ust. Tajul Muluk, sempat mendekam 12 hari di Polres Sampang.

Betapapun Ust. Tajul Muluk dan Jamaah Syi’ah sudah sangat mengalah pada desakan massa dan pemerintah, akan tetapi intimidasi dan aksi kekerasan tidak pernah berakhir. Hampir setiap hari, Jamaah Syi’ah mendapat teror dan ancaman. Sikap polisi juga cenderung tunduk pada persekusi massa yang digerakan oleh para tokoh agama.

Berpijak pada situasi inilah, Center for Marginalized Communities Studies (CMARs) Surabaya, menyatakan:

1. Pemerintah Jawa Timur dan Pemerintah Daerah Kabupaten Sampang gagal melaksanakan tanggung jawabnya dalam melindungi (to protect) Jamaah Syi’ah sebagai kelompok minoritas dari serangan dan pemberangusan hak kebebasan beragama/berkeyakinan yang dilakukan oleh kelompok anti-Syi’ah.

2. Kebijakan resmi Kepolisian Republik Indonesia (Polri) dalam menangani kasus Sampang sama sekali tidak berpihak pada kelompok rentan (Jamaah Syi’ah). Polisi memilih menangkap dan mengevakuasi korban daripada mencegah dan menindak pelaku-pelaku kekerasan.

3. Dalam kasus pembakaran tanggal 29 Desember 2011, meski polisi sudah mengetahui akan terjadi aksi pembakaran, akan tetapi polisi tidak melakukan pencegahan. Personil polisi yang diturunkan di lapangan kapasitasnya tidak cukup untuk menghentikan aksi kekerasan. Bahkan, polisi yang sudah ada di lokasi kejadian, hanya melihat saja proses pembakaran rumah dan Mushalla berlangsung.

4. Selama kasus kekerasan terjadi sejak 2004 sampai saat ini, tidak ada satupun pelaku kekerasan yang ditindak secara hukum. Polisi membiarkan kekerasan terjadi secara berulang-ulang. Pelaku kekerasan bebas berkeliaran dan tidak pernah dijerat oleh hukum. Inilah faktor yang menyebabkan kekerasan terus berlanjut sampai saat ini.

5. Pernyataan resmi Mabel Polri melalui Kepala Divisi Humas (Kadiv) Humas, Irjen Pol Saud Usman Nasution, mengaburkan substansi masalah pelanggaran Hak Kebebasan Beragama/Berkeyakinan di Sampang. Mabes Polri menyebut bahwa kekerasan yang terjadi di Sampang adalah masalah keluarga, padahal faktual merupakan pelanggaran KBB yang bermula dari syi’ar kebencian yang diintensifikasi oleh semua tokoh agama dan ormas Islam sehingga membakar amarah dan amuk massa. Pernyataan resmi Polri adalah bentuk kebohongan publik.

6. Pernyataan Gubernur Jatim, Soekarwo, bahwa kasus Sampang sebagai masalah keluarga mencerminkan ketidakmampuan negara dalam melaksanakan kewajibannya dalam menjamin hak kebebasan beragama/berkeyakinan Jamaah Syi’ah di Sampang.

7. Pernyataan MUI Jatim melalui KH. Abdussomad Buchori yang merekomendasikan lokalisasi Jamaah Syi’ah, merupakan syi’ar kebencian (hate speech) yang bermotif victimizing victim.

8. Sampai saat ini Komisi Nasional Hak Asasi Manusia (Komnas HAM) belum melakukan tindakan apapun sesuai dengan kewenangannya untuk mengangkat kasus Sampang sebagai pelanggaran HAM.

Rekomendasi

1. Polisi harus mengusut tuntas aksi kekerasan dan mengadili pelaku-pelaku kekerasan sesuai dengan mekanisme hukum pidana di Indonesia.

2. Polisi harus menjamin rasa aman Jamaah Syi’ah dari intimidasi dan serangan susulan yang sangat potensial terjadi.

3. Pemerintah Daerah Sampang dan Pemerintah Provinsi Jatim harus mengembalikan hak-hak dasar Jamaah Syi’ah dan menjamin kemanannya untuk kembali ke kampung Nangkrenang. Selama di penampungan, hak-hak dasar Jamaah Syi’ah juga tetap harus dipenuhi, termasuk hak jaminan kesehatan bagi perempuan hamil dan lansia, hak pendidikan bagi anak-anak (150 anak) di penampungan.

4. Komnas HAM harus segera melakukan investigasi dan menetapkan kasus Syiah sebagai pelanggaran HAM.

5. Komisi Perlindungan Anak Indonesia (KPAI) harus segera melakukan investigasi terkait pelanggaran terhadap hak-hak anak dalam Kasus Sampang.

6. Pemerintah Indonesia harus melakukan upaya pemulihan yang efektif bagi Jamaah Syi’ah sebagaimana amanat Pasal 2 International Covenant Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) yang sudah diratifikasi melalui UU No. 12/2005.

Contact Person:
Akhol Firdaus [031-8492188]
Ahmad Zainul Hamdi [0813-59279589]
Moch. Iqbal [0821-31255393]

Shia Refugees in Sampang Need Help


More than 250 Shia villagers ran away from their houses Thursday when around 1,000 militants, organized by some Muslim Sunni clerics, were attacking and burning the Shia madrasah, houses and shops in Nangkernang hamlet, Omben district, Sampang regency, Madura Island.

Some Shia workers called me Thursday morning, informing me about the arson attack. I verified the information and, when confirmed, sent messages via my Twitter @andreasharsono.

Iklil al Milal, the caretaker of the Misbahul Huda madrasah, told me that the arson attack began around 9.45am. At midday the attackers began to burn al Milal's house, his brother Tajul Muluk's house and other houses and shops. Tajul Muluk is the principal of the madrasah but he was forced to flee Nangkernang after receiving some death threat in April. The Sampang government also pressured Muluk to leave Nangkernang.

The Nangkernang conflict is a rather complicated one. It involved a family dispute. Al Milal and Muluk are brothers. They have a dispute with another brother Roisul Hukama. The dispute reached a new dimension when Hukama decided to leave Shiaism and used his new status to join a growing anti-Shia campaign in eastern Java.

More than 250 Shia villagers took refuge at the Sampang indoor stadium on Thursday. They need food, clothes, blanket, medicine and mobile toilet. ©Abdullah Musawa

Tirana Hassan and I visited the madrasah in September, interviewing dozens of the Shia villagers and meeting Iklil al Milal. Human Rights Watch sent us there. I also met Tajul Muluk in his hiding place near Surabaya. But Sampang police arrested us and later kicked us off Sampang.

On Dec. 6, when celebrating Ashura, a day of mourning for the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad, in Bangil in eastern Java, some 60 Shia villagers were prevented to leave their village. But 20 of them, including al Milal, managed to reach Bangil. Back to Nangkernang, they were threatened to be killed.

On Dec. 18, a Shia teacher's house was burned down in Nangkernang. Sampang police, however, did not make any arrest. It climaxed with the arson attack on Thursday. I am afraid these Shia villagers were actually evicted from their home village. Most of these villagers did not carry their clothes and other belonging when running away. It's a sad day indeed.

My teenage son, when learning about these sectarian violence, told me, "When good men do nothing, it's evil enough." It reminded me to English philosopher Edmund Burke's speech:
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
I decided to do something. I wrote on my Twitter and my blog. It's the least that I can do.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Smart Aggregator


Membaca buku Blur: How to Know What's True in the Age of Information Overload karya Bill Kovach dan Tom Rosenstiel, salah satu hal yang menarik perhatian saya adalah peranan wartawan sebagai "smart aggregator" pada era informasi.

Maksudnya, wartawan perlu menjadikan diri mereka sebagai aggregator yang cerdas. Bukan aggregator matematis macam Google, Bing, Yahoo dsb. Program mereka sediakan informasi berdasarkan algoritma tertentu. Hasilnya banyak dan ... orang tak tahu mana yang benar, mana yang salah. Manusia bisa lebih cerdas dari komputer. Pertimbangan seorang manusia lebih kaya dari Google. Inilah "smart aggregator."

Saya membuat halaman ini sebagai smart aggregator agar orang-orang, bisa menikmati macam-macam bacaan, musik, buku, berita atau video, yang menurut saya, berguna untuk memperkaya pengetahuan kita.

Human Rights Watch
Military Documents Reveal Unlawful Spying
Monitor Trials of Deadly Attack in Cikeusik
Indonesia on UN Human Rights Council
Revoke Decree Against Religious Minority
Protect Ahmadiyah Community From Violence
Reject Official's Call Banning Ahmadiyah
Letter to President SBY
Pakistan: Massacre of Minority Ahmadis

Al Jazeera
The Right to Pray (3 Maret 2011)
Sectarian Violence in Indonesia
Ahmadiyah faces possible ban from Indonesia

Washington Post
Tech firms hiring White House staffers (28 Maret 2011)

Asia Sentinel
Explosive WikiLeaks Cables Nail Yudhoyono (11 Maret 2011)

The New Yorker
The Dissenters (28 Februari 2011)

VOA
Analysts Say Links Between Radical Groups and Terrorists Are Growing (2 Maret 2011)

New Matilda
Does West Papua Have Publicity Problem? (3 Maret 2011)

Indoprogress
Gus Dur dan Pembelaan terhadap Ahmadiyah (3 Maret 2011)
Tubagus Chandra: A Man with a Few Words (26 Februari 2011)

Republika
Andreas Unggah Video Demi HAM (19 Februari 2011)
Video Penyerangan Ahmadiyah (12 Februari 2011)

Engage Media
Ahmadiyah: Cikeusik Violence Video (14 Februari 2011)

Jakarta Globe
Lynch Mobs Batter Indonesia’s Tolerant Image (9 Februari 2011)

You Tube (7 Februari 2011)
Police Guarded the House
Cikeusik Attack Begin
Cikeusik Mob Began Destroying Ahmadiyah House
Men in Blue Ribbon Arrive
Anti-Ahmadiyah Violence in Cikeusik

New York Times
U.S. Tried to Help Protect Slain Pakistani Minister
Killing of Governor Deepens Crisis in Pakistan

Friday, December 23, 2011

Tapol Papua Dibebaskan di Fakfak


Simon Tuturop selesai menjalani masa penjara di Fakfak. Di luar penjara Tuturop mengatakan, “Bukan berarti aku akan diam karena bertahun-tahun di penjara, tetapi penjara adalah tempat aku belajar dan merefleksi diri untuk menata perjuangan bersama saudara yang lain. Persatuan adalah kunci."
@Tim Advokasi Elsham & Foker Fakfak

LIMA TAHANAN politik peristiwa pengibaran bendera Bintang Fajar pada 19 Juli 2008 di depan gedung Pepera Fakfak, yang divonis empat tahun penjara oleh pengadilan Fakfak dan menjalani hukuman selama 3 tahun 5 bulan 3 hari, hari ini dibebaskan.

Simon Tuturop, Tadius Weripang, Benediktus Tuturop, Tomas Nimbikendik, dan Teles Piahar dijemput oleh koordinator Foker LSM Papua Wilayah Fakfak Freddy Warpopor bersama kawan-kawan dengan dua buah mobil angkutan umum serta beberapa beberapa sepeda motor, menurut siaran pers Foker LSM.

Rombongan meninggalkan penjara pukul 9.30. Mereka tiba di rumah Eligius Warpopor, tokoh kampung Gewerpe. Kelima tapol tersebut disambut masyarakat Gewerpe. Simon Tuturop pidato dan berterima kasih kepada masyarakat kampung Gewerpe. Tuturop juga menyatakan terima kasih lembaga adat Papua, Elsham Papua, Foker LSM, LP3BH Manokwari, Amnesty Internasional dan ICRC. Mereka dikatakannya banyak meringankan penderitaan dalam penjara.

Simon Tuturop disambut masyarakat kampung Gewerpe.
@Tim Advokasi Elsham & Foker Fakfak

Simon Tuturop salah satu pemimpin pergerakan non violence kemerdekaan Papua asal Fakfak. Pada 1982 dia ikut memproklamirkan kemerdekaan Papua Barat di Jayapura. Dia jalani hukuman selama 12 tahun di penjara Kalisosok, Surabaya. Pada 1998, bersamaan dengan kejatuhan Presiden Suharto, Tuturop dibebaskan bersama tahanan politik lain di seluruh Indonesia. Dia lantas bekerja di Aceh, membantu kerja sosial buat warga Aceh, yang mengungsi akibat peperangan Indonesia versus Gerakan Aceh Merdeka.

Pada 19 Juli 2008, Tuturop memimpin pengibaran Bintang Fajar dan 44 orang ditangkap polisi Indonesia. Lima dinyatakan bersalah oleh pengadilan Indonesia di Fakfak. Mereka divonis dengan pasal 106 dan 110 KUHP soal makar. Elsham Papua, LP3BH Manokwari serta Foker LSM Papua memandang mereka tidak bersalah. Mereka tidak melakukan kekerasan. Menyatakan keinginan merdeka adalah bagian dari kebebasan mengeluarkan aspirasi politik. Ia bukan tindakan kriminal. Ketiga organisasi ini tetap lakukan advokasi dan pembelaan.

Tadeus Waripang pulang ke rumahnya di kampung Wayati.
@Tim Advokasi Elsham & Foker Fakfak

Selanjutnya rombongan melanjutkan perjalanan ke Kampung Wayati guna mengantar Tadeus Waripang pulang ke rumahnya. Masyarakat dan kepala kampung Wayati telah menunggu kedatangan Tadius Waripang.

Warpopor mengatakan, “Sambutan hebat namun dengan suasana haru. Ada yang meneteskan air mata.” Kepala Kampung Plerius Kondawe menyampaikan ucapan terima kasih kepada ketiga organisasi.

Masyarakat kampung minta Freddy Warpopor menjelaskan pertemuan Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono dengan tokoh-tokoh gereja Papua. Warpopor mengajak orang kampung memperhatikan perkembangan lanjut. Dia mengatakan Presiden Yudhoyono "telah membuka diri untuk berdialog dengan rakyat Papua."

"Mari kita semua mendukung proses ini, agar kita dapat menetapkan format yang tepat yang akan digunakan oleh orang Papua dalam dialog nanti, hal yang juga penting adalah bahwa perjuangan ini adalah perjuangan tanpa kekerasan. Mari bersatu untuk selamatkan negeri dan tanah Papua ini," kata Warporpor.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Message from Papuan Churches


President Yudhoyono Meet Papuan Church Leaders

FOUR PAPUAN church leaders drafted and debated about their letter to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono while they’re in Jakarta this week. They met Indonesian Coordinating Minister on Politics and Security Djoko Suyanto on Monday, Dec. 12. They spent the next four days to draft the seven-page letter. It was finally signed at about 4pm at the office of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia. They handed over the letter to President Yudhoyono on Friday night at his private residence in Cikeas.

They titled the letter, “Pesan Profetis Gereja-Gereja se-Tanah Papua” or the “Prophetical Message from the Churches in the Land of Papua.” Another title is "Menangani Bayi Nasionalisme (Separatisme) Papua sebagai Hasil Perkawinan Paksa Jakarta-Papua."

Rev. Martin Luther Wanma, chairman of the Indonesian Christian Bible Church (blue batik) and Rev. Jemima M. Krey, chairwoman of the Evangelical Christian Church in Papua (black blazer and red scarf) signed the seven-page letter. ©Wensislaus Fatubun

Rev. Socratez Sofyan Yoman, chairman of the Alliance of Baptist Churches in Papua signed the seven-page letter. Yoman is also an author. The Indonesian General Attorney Office bans two of his books, Kucuran Air Mata Umat Tuhan di Papua Barat Harus Diakhiri and Pemusnahan Etnis Melanesia. ©Wensislaus Fatubun

They prayed and shook hands after signing the seven-page letter. They spent most of their time in the office of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia on Salemba Street, Jakarta. It has a Papua Desk dedicated solely on helping Papuan churches doing their businesses in Jakarta. Rev. Phil Erari, a Papuan priest, an environmentalist and a board member at the Communion of Churches in Indonesia, also attended the signing event.

Rev. Benny Giay, chairman of the Kingmi Gospel Tabernacle Church, spent days to discuss the letter with his colleagues. Giay is also an anthropologist educated at the Vrije University in Amsterdam. When meeting Giay, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, himself a Ph.D, asked Giay in what field he wrote his Ph.D thesis. ©Wensislaus Fatubun

Rev. Martin Luther Wanma, chairman of the Indonesian Christian Bible Church, gestured to Rev. Socratez Yoman when signing his letter. Rev. Wanma is based in Manokwari unlike the other three church leaders with their offices in Jayapura. ©Wensislaus Fatubun


The seven-page letter has the picture of a dying Papuan freedom fighter, Yawan Wayeni. It says that Indonesian police officer Imam Setiawan had killed Wayeni on Aug. 9, 2009 on Serui Island. Setiawan got a promotion. He became the police chief of Jayapura. On Oct. 13, 2011 he led the use of excessive force to crack down the Papuan Congress after one of the leaders read out the 1961 Papua Declaration of Independence. Setiawan is now the deputy director of traffic management at the Papuan police department.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

SBY Meet Four Papuan Church Leaders


President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice President Boediono met four Papuan church leaders in Yudhoyono's private library on Dec. 16, 2011. The Papuan priests presented a letter with several recommendations to Yudhoyono. ©Frederika Korain

FOUR PAPUAN church leaders met Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Vice President Boediono and several cabinet members as well as Indonesia’s military commander and its police chief in President Yudhoyono’s private residence in Cikeas, outside Jakarta, on Friday Dec. 16.

They included Rev. Jemima M. Krey (chairwoman of the Evangelical Christian Church in Papua or Gereja Kristen Injili di Tanah Papua), Rev. Benny Giay (chairman of the Kingmi Gospel Tabernacle Church or Gereja Kingmi di Tanah Papua), Rev. Socratez Sofyan Yoman (chairman of the Alliance of Baptist Churches in Papua or Persekutuan Gereja-Gereja Baptis Papua) and Rev. Martin Luther Wanma (chairman of the Indonesian Christian Bible Church or Gereja Kristen Alkitab Indonesia). Frederika Korain, a Papuan human rights activist and an Australian National University student, also joined the delegate.

The meeting was initiated by the Communion of Churches in Indonesia (Persekutuan Gereja-gereja di Indonesia) whose board members also took part in the meeting: Rev. Andreas Yewangoe (chairman), Rev. Gomar Gultom (secretary general) and Rev. Phil Erari (deputy chairman).

The church leaders handed over a seven-page letter to President Yudhoyono, asking the Indonesian government to have a dialogue with the people of Papua. They also asked Yudhoyono stopping the Matoa Operation in Paniai, Papua, which had caused 14 dead and some burned villages on Dec. 12.

Other recommendations included retrieving non-organic troops from Papua, releasing Papuan political prisoners and annulling the Government Regulation No. 77/2007 which bans the Morning Star flag. The regulation has triggered the Indonesian police to arrest and to harass many Papuan activists.

They also declared that the 2001 Special Autonomy in Papua had failed. They questioned the establishment of the Unit to Accelerate the Development of Papua and West Papua provinces (UP4B) without the participation of the Papuans, calling such a move “non democratic.”

Benny Giay told me Saturday that the meeting was taking place for more than two hours. “It really hurt me when knowing our church members were attacked, their villages being burned, while we’re here in Jakarta.”

Giay came from the village Onago on Lake Tigi in Paniai, near Edadu, where the Indonesian military and police have been organizing a joint military operation since Dec. 13.

They also told President Yudhoyono that most native Papuans had suffered from Indonesian rule since Indonesia took over New Guinea in 1962. Violence created much suffering on the people. They said most Papuans aspired to be separated from Indonesia.

In front of his guests, Yudhoyono immediately asked Indonesian police chief Gen. Timur Pradopo to stop the Matoa Operation. He also mentioned that U.S. President Barack Obama and State Secretary Hillary Clinton had raised the issues of human rights violations in Papua. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard also raised her concern about human rights abuses in Papua.

Yudhoyono welcomed such a dialogue but he reminded his guests that as president he has to keep the territorial integrity of Indonesia. He promised to enforce the law in Papua and to stop human rights abuses. He said he also has to face "hardliners" in Indonesia who argue about centralized power. Yudhoyono promised to have another dialogue with the four reverends in the third week of January.

Rev. Martin Luther Wanma, chairman of the Indonesian Christian Bible Church (blue batik), Rev. Benny Giay, chairman of the Kingmi Gospel Tabernacle Church (black jacket), Rev. Socratez Sofyan Yoman, chairman of the Alliance of Baptist Churches in Papua (light grey jacket) and Rev. Jemima M. Krey, chairwoman of the Evangelical Christian Church in Papua (black blazer) and Rev. Gomar Gultom of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia (brown batik) talked straight to Indonesian leaders. ©Frederika Korain

The meeting began at 9pm and ended at 11.30pm at Yudhoyono's private library. Gomar Gultom organized a press conference at the office of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia Saturday morning.

Both Yoman and Giay are under the Indonesian military watch list. An Indonesian military document leaked in August 2011 revealed that Kopassus agents were closely monitoring Giay and Yoman.

Another leaked letter dated April 30, 2011, from the Indonesian military commander in Papua, Maj. Gen. Erfi Triassunu, to the provincial governor, Barnabas Suebu, also shows a military interference in civil society in Papua.

The letter accuses Rev. Benny Giay’s Kingmi Gospel Tabernacle Church of trying to build an exclusive organization based on Papuan ethnicity, which Major General Triassunu viewed as a potential separatist movement, and suggests having the military mediate a conflict between the Kingmi Church (Gereja Kemah Injil or Kingmi Church) and the Indonesian Gospel Tabernacle Church (Gereja Kemah Injil Indonesia or GKII). The letter also urges that if deliberations cannot resolve the conflict, “immediate action” should be taken. Since the letter came to light, Major General Triassunu has publicly apologized for accusing the church of being a separatist organization, claiming a faction of the church had asked for assistance from the military.

Giay told me that Yudhoyono was surprised when seeing the photo of a dying Papuan activist Yawan Wayeni on the letter. They told him that Imam Setiawan, the Indonesian police officer who led the attack against Yawan Wayeni on Serui Island, in August 2009, was later promoted to be the police chief of Jayapura. In his new position, Setiawan used excessive forces when cracking down the Papuan Congress in October 2011 and arrested around 300 Papuans. But Setiawan got another promotion despite a written warning for his abusive behavior. He’s not the deputy director of traffic in Papua.

Photos: Papuan Church Leaders Sign Letter

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Paper.li


“Democracy stakes everything on a continuing dialogue of informed citizens. And that dialogue rises or falls on whether the discussion is based on propaganda and deceit or on facts and verification pursued with a mind willing to learn."

Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel in their book Blur: How to Know What's True in the Age of Information Overload.

“When copies are free, you need to sell things which cannot be copied. The first thing of these is trust. Trust must be earned, over time."

Kevin Kelly Wired internet magazine editor.

The number 234 is a special one for the Sampoernas. Its most famous kretek brand is Djie Sam Soe or 234 in Hokkien language. The number also appeared on the building of Jurnal Nasional daily, a newspaper editorially controlled by the Merdeka Palace. It is a cooperation between the Sampoernas and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

• • •

Public health suffers as Indonesia ignores calls for tobacco reform
Indonesia is one of Big Tobacco’s smoking giants. As of 2009, 28 percent of Indonesian adults were smokers and more than half of men smoke

On Faith, Indonesia Still Unenlightened
There're 430 attacks against churches over the past six years and 183 attacks against Ahmadiyah properties since President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono issued an anti-Ahmadiyah decree in June 2008.

Belajar dari Filep Karma
Seorang cendekiawan Papua bicara nasib bangsa Papua: tersingkir di tanah mereka sendiri. Dia dipenjara 15 tahun oleh pengadilan Indonesia.

Akar Kekerasan Kalimantan
Lebih dari 70 warga Pontianak dan Singkawang mengeluarkan Seruan Pontianak, minta agar warga berhati-hati dengan tradisi kekerasan di Kalimantan Barat.

Peluncuran Antologi di Pekanbaru
Bahana Mahasiswa meluncurkan 'Agama' Saya Adalah Jurnalisme di perpustakaan Soeman HS, Pekanbaru. Ada pertunjukan Teater Rakyat.

Antologi Kedua
Saya mempersiapkan antologi baru berisi berbagai laporan panjang, minimal 5,000 kata, tentang hak asasi manusia dan pertikaian di berbagai tempat di Indonesia. Ia juga berisi revolusi komunikasi di dunia berkat kedatangan internet. Mulai dari Google hingga Facebook.

Kriminalisasi Aspirasi Politik
Mereka menaikkan bendera RMS atau bendera Bintang Kejora. Mereka ditangkap, disiksa, dihukum dengan proses peradilan yang buruk dan kini dipenjara tahunan.

Obama Has the Power to Help Papua
Young Barack Obama noticed his stepfather’s great unease and silence about his one-year military service in New Guinea. Obama has the power to "the weak man."

Ahmadiyah, Rechtstaat dan Hak Asasi Manusia
Selama satu dekade warga Ahmadiyah di Pulau Lombok diusir dari satu desa ke desa lain. Bagaimana melihat pelanggaran hak asasi manusia ini dari kenegaraan Indonesia?

Monumen Munir di Batu
Munir bin Said Thalib, pejuang hak asasi manusia dari Batu, dimakamkan di kuburan sederhana. Bagaimana dengan ide bikin monumen hak asasi manusia di Batu?

Clinton's Chance to Push Beyond Cliche
Hillary Clinton should be careful not to say that Muslims in Indonesia are “moderate” as for members of persecuted religious groups in Indonesia, it is a useless and inaccurate cliche.

Antara Fiksi dan Fakta
Berkelana dari Sabang ke Merauke, wawancara dan riset buku. Ia termasuk tujuh pulau besar, dari Sumatera hingga Papua, plus puluhan pulau kecil macam Miangas, Salibabu, Ternate dan Ndana.

Homer, The Economist and Indonesia
Homer Simpsons read the dry Economist magazine in a First Class flight. Homer talked about "Indonesia" ... and later The Economist used the Simpsons joke to describe ... Indonesia.

Puisi Hasan Aspahani
Penyair Hasan Aspahani dari Sei Raden menulis puisi soal kehidupan di apartemen saya. Juga cerita soal pejabat dengan tiga ajudan.

Bagaimana Meliput Agama?
Dari Istanbul dilakukan satu seminar soal media dan agama. Dulunya Constantinople, ibukota kerajaan Romawi Timur, hingga direbut kesultanan Ottoman pada 1453.

Sebuah Kuburan, Sebuah Nama
Di Protestant Cemetery, Penang, terdapat sebuah makam untuk James Richardson Logan, seorang juris-cum-wartawan, yang menciptakan kata Indonesia pada 1850.

Makalah Criminal Collaborations
S. Eben Kirksey dan saya menerbitkan makalah "Criminal Collaborations?" di jurnal South East Asia Research (London). Ia mempertanyakan pengadilan terhadap Antonius Wamang soal pembunuhan di Timika.

Moedjallat Indopahit
Satu majalah didisain sebagai undangan pernikahan. Isinya, rupa-rupa cerita. Dari alasan pernikahan hingga kepahitan sistem kenegaraan Indonesia keturunan Majapahit.

Struktur Negara Federasi
Rahman Tolleng bicara soal struktur federasi di Indonesia. Kuncinya, kekuasaan ditaruh di tangan daerah-daerah lalu diberikan sebagian ke pusat. Bukan sebaliknya, ditaruh di pusat lalu diberikan ke daerah: otonomi. Bagaimana Republik Indonesia Serikat?

Media dan Jurnalisme
Saya suka masalah media dan jurnalisme. Pernah juga belajar pada Bill Kovach dari Universitas Harvard. Ini makin sering sesudah kembali ke Jakarta, menyunting majalah Pantau.

The Presidents and the Journalists
In 1997, President Suharto lectured editors to have "self-censorship." Now President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono also lectured about "self-censorship." What's wrong?

Burrying Indonesia's Millions: The Legacy of Suharto
Suharto introduced a "business model" for soldiers and businessmen. He built ties to merchants Liem Sioe Liong and Bob Hasan, accummulating immense wealth while using violence to repress dissension.

Resensi buku-buku soal majalah The New Yorker. Saya menulis dari redaktur Harold Ross, lalu William Shawn hingga David Remnick. Bagaimana ia menjadi icon kebudayaan Amerika Serikat?

Polemik Sejarah, Pers dan Indonesia
Kapan "pers Indonesia" lahir? Apa 1744 dengan Bataviasche Nouvelles? Apa 1864 dengan Bintang Timoer di Padang? Soerat Chabar Betawie pada 1858? Medan Prijaji pada 1907? Atau sesuai proklamasi Agustus 1945? Atau kedaulatan Desember 1949?

Murder at Mile 63
A Jakarta court sentenced several Papuans for the killing of three Freeport teachers in August 2002. Why many irregularities took place in the military investigation and the trial? What did Antonius Wamang say? How many weapons did he have? How many bullets were found in the crime site?

Protes Melawan Pembakaran Buku
Indonesia membakar ratusan ribu buku-buku pelajaran sekolah. Ini pertama kali dalam sejarah Indonesia, maupun Hindia Belanda, dimana buku sekolah disita dan dibakar.

Indonesia: A Lobbying Bonanza
Taufik Kiemas, when his wife Megawati Sukarnoputri was still president, collected political money to hire a Washington firm to lobby for Indonesian weapons. This story is a part of a project called Collateral Damage: Human Rights and US Military Aid

Hoakiao dari Jember
Ong Tjie Liang, satu travel writer kelahiran Jember, malang melintang di Asia Tenggara. Dia ada di kamp gerilya Aceh namun juga muncul di Rangoon, bertemu Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi maupun Jose Ramos-Horta. Politikus Marrissa Haque pernah tanya, “Mas ini bekerja untuk bahan tulisan atau buat intel Amerika berkedok ilmuwan?”

State Intelligence Agency hired Washington firm
Indonesia's intelligence body used Abdurrahman Wahid’s charitable foundation to hire a Washington lobbying firm to press the U.S. Congress for a full resumption of military assistance to Indonesia. Press Release and Malay version

From the Thames to the Ciliwung
Giant water conglomerates, RWE Thames Water and Suez, took over Jakarta's water company in February 1998. It turns out to be the dirty business of selling clean water.

Bagaimana Cara Belajar Menulis Bahasa Inggris
Bahasa punya punya empat komponen: kosakata, tata bahasa, bunyi dan makna. Belajar bahasa bukan sekedar teknik menterjemahkan kata dan makna. Ini juga terkait soal alih pikiran.

Dewa dari Leuwinanggung
Saya meliput Iwan Fals sejak 1990 ketika dia meluncurkan album Swami. Waktu itu Iwan gelisah dengan rezim Soeharto. Dia membaca selebaran gelap dan buku terlarang. Dia belajar dari W.S. Rendra dan Arief Budiman. Karir Iwan naik terus. Iwan Fals jadi salah satu penyanyi terbesar yang pernah lahir di Pulau Jawa. Lalu anak sulungnya meninggal dunia. Dia terpukul. Bagaimana Iwan Fals bangkit dari kerusuhan jiwa dan menjadi saksi?

Partai Lokal Solusi di Papua?


Tanya Jawab dengan Murizal Hamzah dari Berita Satu

Berita Satu menurunkan wawancara singkat dengan saya soal partai lokal dibentuk di Papua. Saya kira berita menarik. Murizal Hamzah dari Berita Satu mulanya minta tanggapan saya dalam bentuk tanya-jawab. Ini berkenaan dengan berbagai macam upacara peringatan 50 tahun proklamasi negara Papua Barat pada 1 Desember 1961-1 Desember 2011. Murizal adalah wartawan asal Sigli, Aceh. Dia kenal baik dengan Gerakan Acheh Merdeka. Jawaban panjang ini mungkin bisa melengkapi berita tersebut.

Bagaimana bentuk-bentuk pelanggaran HAM di Papua?

Sejak 1998, Human Rights Watch mendokumentasikan berbagai pelanggaran hak asasi manusia di Papua dalam beberapa laporan. Mereka antara lain laporan berjudul Prosecuting Political Aspiration: Indonesia’s Political Prisoners (2010), Out of Sight: Endemic Abuse and Impunity in Papua's Central Highlands (2007), Protest and Punishment: Political Prisoners in Papua (2007) dan sebagainya. Mereka beragam, mulai dari berbagai kasus tapol Papua hingga kekerasan di Pegunungan Tengah, daerah paling sulit di Papua.

Paling umum, pelanggaran hak asasi yang dilakukan oleh pemerintah Indonesia adalah pelanggaran terhadap kebebasan berekspresi, termasuk ekspresi menyatakan hendak merdeka dari Indonesia. Simbolnya adalah bendera Bintang Fajar. Banyak sekali orang Papua dipukul, disiksa, dipenjara bahkan dibunuh gara-gara mengibarkan bendera Bintang Fajar.

Presiden Abdurrahman Wahid menyatakan Bintang Fajar bisa dikibarkan asal bersama bendera Indonesia. Namun policy tersebut berumur pendek bersama dengan pendeknya pemerintahan Wahid. Pada 2007, Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono menerbitkan Peraturan Pemerintah No. 77 soal logo daerah dimana pengibaran bendera Bintang Fajar –maupun bendera GAM dan RMS-- dinyatakan sebagai perbuatan melanggar hukum. Human Rights Watch berpendapat ini sebenar-benarnya bertentangan dengan UU Otonomi Khusus Papua maupun International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights. Indonesia ratifikasi ICCPR pada 2005 sehingga Indonesia seharusnya taat pada ICCPR. Bila Presiden Yudhoyono punya khayalan macam Wahid, saya kira, persoalan bendera takkan makan korban begini banyak.

Siapa saja yg melakukan pelanggaran HAM di sana?

Kebanyakan pelaku polisi, tentara, jaksa maupun sipir penjara. Para pelaku sering kebal hukum. Mereka banyak tak diselidiki bila melakukan pelanggaran –termasuk kekerasan. Ada beberapa yang dihukum namun hukuman ringan, termasuk tentara dari Batalyon 753 Nabire, salah satu langganan kejahatan hak asasi manusia, yang hanya dihukum karena "tidak taat perintah atasan" walau mereka melakukan penyiksaan terhadap petani Papua maupun pembunuhan terhadap seorang pendeta bernama Kindeman Gire.

Kasus penyiksaan petani tersebut –Tunaliwor Kiwo dan Telangga Gire—jadi dikenal karena ada video yang merekam kejadian pada Mei 2010. Kiwo ditelanjangi dan dibakar kemaluannya. Kindeman Gire ditembak dan dipotong kepalanya. Ada juga 17 polisi di Jayapura --termasuk kepala polisi Jayapura Imam Setiawan-- hanya dapat teguran tertulis walau menggunakan kekerasan berlebihan sampai ada tiga orang meninggal dan 51 korban penganiayaan saat menangkap sekitar 300 orang Papua pada Kongress Papua III Oktober 2011. Anda bayangkan kalau ada tentara membunuh seorang ulama Nahdlatul Ulama di Pulau Jawa. Apakah mereka hanya akan dihukum karena "tidak taat perintah atasan"?

Seorang nona mengikuti upacara peringatan 1 Desember 1961 di Nabire. Kegiatan ini diikuti ribuan orang Papua dan berjalan damai. ©Yermias Degei

Apa solusi untuk menghentikan pelanggaran HAM di Papua?

Pemerintah Indonesia, terutama polisi militer, harus menegakkan hukum. Para anggota polisi dan tentara yang melakukan kejahatan harus dihukum dengan benar. Salah satu persoalan besar di kalangan warga Papua adalah diskriminasi. Mereka merasa sering mendapatkan kekerasan sejak Indonesia mengelola Papua Barat pada 1963. Namun para pelaku kekerasan justru naik pangkat.

Solusi lain adalah membuka Papua terhadap diplomat internasional, wartawan dan NGO internasional. Ini akan membuat pemantauan terhadap para aparat Indonesia jadi lebih efektif. Sekarang wartawan internasional praktis tidak bisa masuk ke Papua secara legal tanpa izin dari pemerintah Indonesia. Tahun lalu hanya dua media diizinkan masuk: BBC dan sebuah media Perancis. Selama tiga tahun memantau keadaan di Papua, saya kira, kesulitan para diplomat dapat izin masuk ke Papua jadi keluhan terbuka di Jakarta. Mereka harus melamar surat jalan. Ini berlaku sejak 1960an.

Saya juga perhatikan ada propaganda beberapa kalangan Indonesia untuk menyalahkan Amerika Serikat soal Papua. Saya geli kalau dengar argumentasi ini karena Presiden John F. Kennedy dari Amerika Serikat adalah pendukung penting masuknya New Guinea (Papua) ke Indonesia dalam New York Agreement 1962. Amerika Serikat, tentu saja, punya interest dengan emas di tambang PT Freeport Indonesia. Namun menyalahkan Amerika Serikat tanpa mau melihat kesalahan di pihak Indonesia ibarat orang buta mengatakan gajah berbentuk ular karena ... si buta hanya memegang ekor gajah.

Bagaimana peran elemen sipil di sana?

Kalau kita baca dokumen-dokumen militer Indonesia, kita akan tahu bahwa masyarakat sipil di Papua lebih dikuatirkan militer daripada gerilyawan Papua. Artinya, mereka berperan besar dalam memantau kegiatan militer dan polisi Indonesia. Dalam pergerakan melawan Indonesia, ada beberapa organisasi penting a.l. Dewan Adat Papua, West Papua National Coalition for Liberation, West Papua National Authority, Presidium Dewan Papua. Dulu tokoh kuat Papua adalah Theys Eluay. Namun dia dibunuh Kopassus.

Sekarang tokoh tersebut berada dalam diri Forkorus Yaboisembut, ketua Dewan Adat, yang ditahan pada 19 Oktober 2011. Yaboisembut, seorang tua yang sangat dihormati di kalangan aktivis Papua. Dia diangkat sebagai presiden Negara Republik Federal Papua Barat pada 19 Oktober 2011.

Namun jangan lupa di Papua juga ada organisasi-organisasi anak muda, yang bergerak tersendiri, termasuk Komite Nasional Papua Barat pimpinan Buchtar Tabuni, mapun Garda Papua dan Aliansi Mahasiswa Papua. Ini belum lagi organisasi-organisasi kecil di berbagai kota macam Nabire, Manokwari, Fakfak, Sorong, Merauke maupun Bandung, Jakarta, Jogjakarta, Makassar dan Manado.

Apa solusi yang ditawarkan kepada NKRI untuk menghentikan konflik di Papua?

Pemerintah Indonesia baru saja menunjuk Farid Husain sebagai utusan Khusus Presiden Yudhyono untuk bicara dengan Organisasi Papua Merdeka. Pemerintah juga membentuk Unit Percepatan Pembangunan Papua dan Papua Barat (UP4B) guna mengatasi berbagai kesulitan di Papua. UP4B dibuat dengan meniru Badan Rehabilitasi & Rekonstruksi & di Aceh dan Nias. Saya menilai pembentukan ini tidak realistis dalam melihat persoalan di Papua. BRR bisa dibentuk karena ada perjanjian Helsinki dengan GAM. Dan GAM mau berunding karena ada tsunami. Tanpa ada tsunami di Aceh takkan ada Helsinki.

Saya bukan senang ada tsunami di Aceh atau berharap ada tsunami di Papua. Maknanya, tsunami menciptakan perhatian dahsyat dari dunia internasional. Ada ratusan lembaga internasional terlibat dalam kerja perdamaian dan rehabilitasi Aceh. Mulai dari Uni Eropa hingga World Bank, dari Bill Clinton hingga Jacky Cheung. Di Papua tak ada tsunami thus tak ada perhatian dunia internasional. Tanpa keikutsertaan dunia internasional, saya kira, tidak realistis untuk berunding dengan elemen-elemen Papua Merdeka. Di Papua, bahkan lembaga internasional diusir satu demi satu, termasuk International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), ironisnya, yang memainkan peran penting di Aceh.

Beberapa tokoh Papua menolak solusi dengan UP4B. Namun saya mau menunggu. Neles Tebay, seorang cendekiawan Papua, minta berikan kesempatan kepada UP4B. Saya hendak mengamati perkembangan kerja Farid Husain dan UP4B. Isu hak asasi manusia, tentu saja, adalah isu sentral dalam solusi soal Papua. Ukuran Human Rights Watch, tentu saja, penghormatan terhadap hak manusia Papua.

Apakah ada kemungkinan mengikuti seperti solusi damai di Aceh dengan membentuk partai lokal dll?

Ide membentuk partai lokal seperti di Aceh termasuk solusi yang akan menarik perhatian warga Papua. Ide partai lokal, saya perkirakan, akan menciptakan antusiasisme baru di Papua walau saya tak yakin semua elemen Papua bersedia menerima partai lokal. Beberapa organisasi, tentu saja, ingin Papua Barat menjadi negara berdaulat dan keluar dari Indonesia. Mereka tidak percaya terhadap negara Indonesia.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Al Jazeera Interview on Freeport


AL JAZEERA did ask me to appear on its Jakarta studio for a live interview on Saturday, November 19. Al Jazeera only gave me around three minutes to comment on its coverage on the labor strike at PT Freeport Indonesia.

The report was entitled, "Unrest in Indonesia's Papua under scrutiny." Step Vassen, Al Jazeera's Indonesia correspondent, reported that the workers at the gold and copper mine, who earn an average of $1.50 per hour, are demanding a pay rise of 300 per cent. Freeport Indonesia has offered them an increase of only 35 per cent.

The controversial Grasberg mine is reportedly the most profitable in the world, yet the miners say their salaries are far lower than international norms.

Al Jazeera thought that I have written some quality reports about Freeport and Papua. Their Kuala Lumpur office asked me to comment. I told Al Jazeera audience that Papuans have endured at least five waves of violence since it was taken over by the Indonesian government in 1963.

"They feel they are being treated as a colony of Indonesia. The Indonesian government had promised to give special autonomy to Papua ... but Papuans do not feel this has happened."

"Indonesia officially took over Papua in 1969, but gave Freeport the contract for Papua beforehand.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Putera Sampoerna Foundation Clarification



Jakarta, November 9, 2011

Dear Andreas Harsono,

In regards to the article in your blog: http://andreasharsono.blogspot.com dated September 9, 2011 entitled “Public health suffers as Indonesia ignores calls for tobacco reform” that stated: “The Putera Sampoerna Foundation is also into journalism, with its Adiwarta Sampoerna Award for reporters covering legal, arts, business and environmental matters.” (paragraph 24)

Putera Sampoerna Foundation wishes to clarify that neither Putera Sampoerna Foundation nor any of its brands has been an initiator, committee, sponsor or hold any interest in Anugerah Adiwarta Sampoerna. To the best of our knowledge, Anugerah Adiwarta Sampoerna is initiated and organized by PT HM Sampoerna Tbk.

The Putera Sampoerna Foundation is the first social business Institution in Indonesia with the vision to create high caliber future leaders and entrepreneurs for Indonesia to face the challenges of global participation. The four main pillars of the Putera Sampoerna Foundation are quality education in Indonesia, the development of job creation through entrepreneurship programs, empowerment of our women, and the distribution of aid and relief programs for disaster recovery.

The Putera Sampoerna Foundation is an independent institution and not related to PT HM Sampoerna Tbk. The Putera Sampoerna Foundation is the first non-profit organization to receive the ISO 9001:2008 certificate of quality management systems, which are of international standard. Applying the principles of openness and accountability in all its activities, the Putera Sampoerna Foundation has been trusted by more than 250 corporations, organizations and associations to carry out programs of social responsibility (CSR). The Putera Sampoerna Foundation is periodically audited by an independent international auditor and its report is published in the Putera Sampoerna Foundation's annual report. For more information, visit: www.sampoernafoundation.org

With this clarification, we hope that you would set the record straight and provide accurate information to your readers.

Thank you for your kind attention and cooperation.


Regards,

Nila Tanzil
Head of Communications

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

My Jakarta: Andreas Harsono, Veteran Writer


"This is the Best Times for Journalism." ©Dyah Paramita

Andreas Harsono is one of the country’s most controversial journalists, but even a stint in prison has not stopped the recipient of Harvard’s Nieman Fellowship from writing about human rights and fighting for justice.

My Jakarta sat down with the author of ‘ “A9ama” Saya Adalah Jurnalisme’ (‘ “My Reli9ion” Is Journalism’) to find out what’s on his mind. The veteran writer explains why he thinks it is important to celebrate cultural diversity, what he’d like to hear from U2 if they ever come to Jakarta and how 
Gus Dur earned his respect despite falling asleep during an interview.

What makes your writing controversial?

Over the last 10 years, my main job has been writing stories of up to 50,000 words, called long-form writing, which take months to research and are quite costly. Such work allows me to get to the bottom of an issue, which is why I advise that research is as important as writing. This method results in me writing only two or three stories a year. But for more difficult issues, I still release short reports. I also still write features and interviews.

Are human rights issues your sole passion in journalism?

In the past, I wrote about corruption and conflict in general, but later I became more specialized in human rights issues, like those in Aceh, East Timor, West Papua, Java and Burma. I realized that I’d had that passion since I was in second grade, when I admired many human rights activists.

Did you feel threatened when you were detained in East Java, because of your work on discrimination against Shia Muslims?

I see threats and condemnation as part of a process Indonesia has to go through to respect human rights. Nowadays we have more free space to express our opinions, though of course there are many who use hate-speech.

In West Kalimantan, I was accused of pitting one ethnic group against another, and undermining the republic. But like Gus Dur [former President Abdurrahman Wahid] once said, ‘Gitu saja kok repot?’ [‘Why sweat the small stuff?’]. My mentor, Goenawan Mohamad, told me there are two similar words in Malay, one is takut [fear] and the other takluk [surrender]. Takut is natural but takluk is not. I may be fearful but I’m not going to surrender.

What about the risks to your family?

When I publish a ‘dangerous’ story, I usually tell my wife about the risk, and she responds, ‘You do your job, go ahead.’ I once even wrote a story that might have affected the company she worked for, but she gave me the same response. Luckily, nothing bad has ever happened.

Is freedom of expression still rare in Indonesia?

Legally, there are spaces for free expression. But there are more than 100 statutes condemning it. Just look at how many human rights activist face prosecution because of their work.

We are in the era of citizen journalism. Any thoughts?

This is one of the best times for journalism. In the past, publishing a story required a printing machine. Now we have blogs and Twitter, which function like a news wire service. But at the same time we are risking a ‘tsunami of information.’ We can drink a glass of water, but we can’t drink a tsunami. I mean that everyone involved in writing needs to learn democracy along with journalism since many are just voicing hatred, rumors and even teaching bomb-making.

Care to share any little-known facts about yourself?

I love Beethoven, Queen and U2. Twenty years ago I used to be the lead singer in a rock band. I took a music course at Harvard.

Any chance you like U2 because of their activism?

I learned about U2 in 1985. They talked about the killings in Belfast — Bloody Sunday — and the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Which is why if U2 were ever to give a concert in Indonesia, I would love to hear them talk about human rights abuses in West Papua.

If you were to write about Jakarta, what would you say?

I’d like to write about the colorful ethnicities of Jakarta. The food like mie Aceh, jagung bose Flores, nasi kuning Ternate, babi batu Papua, and the people like the Talaud ethnic group, Sambasnese, Ambonese and Kandanganese. This diversity should be celebrated and maintained to avoid social breakdown in Indonesia. If the center is shaken, outer territories will lose balance. That’s why in a highly centralized country like Indonesia, moving the capital is not the answer. The key is to decentralize power.

We’ve talked a lot about your writing — what about your reading?

I consider ‘The Elements of Journalism’ by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel as my favorite. I also like fiction such as Chaim Potok’s ‘My Name Is Asher Lev,’ which also happened to be Gus Dur’s favorite book.

You’ve mentioned Gus Dur twice. What connection did you have with him?

Indonesia is the way it is today because of his presidency in 1999. He — a liberal thinker, humanist and a human rights advocate — led one of the most important periods in Indonesia. He didn’t produce any laws that hurt his people. Because of that, people trusted Indonesia under his leadership. We owe him much more than we know. I once interviewed him and he fell asleep [laughs]. Awakened, he continued the interview without apologizing. I knew he was tired, so it wasn’t a big deal to me. Gus Dur was just being himself.

Andreas Harsono was talking to Dyah Paramita.

Correction
The My Jakarta interview printed "East Java" instead of "West Kalimantan" in my answer about the accusation of pitting one ethnic group to another. I corrected that error here.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Muara Lembu


Muara Lembu adalah tempat dimana orang biasa membiarkan kerbau mereka merumput. Ada ratusan kerbau dibiarkan makan, minum dan istirahat. Saya tak pernah melihat pemandangan ini. Kami main ke Muara Lembu, mengambil video kerbau, sungai serta padang rumput luas. Herman Yanuar, Lovina, Aang Ananda Suherman, Yaya Nurul Fitria dan Rubianto Lee bergurau ketika tercium bau kotoran kerbau ... atau baru lain ya?

Mereka semua mahasiswa dari Universitas Riau, Pekanbaru. Suka bergurau. Suka bergaya. Suka diskusi. Bercanda dari pagi hingga malam.

Rubianto Lee berasal dari Bagansinembah, Riau. Dia suka main musik dan seorang drummer. Kini belajar peternakan. Menyenangkan bisa bicara dengan orang yang tahu soal pertanian dan peternakan. Lebih asyik lagi dia juga musikus. I always enjoy my time with these students.

©Andreas Harsono

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Crackdown in Abepura


On October 19, 2011, Indonesian police and the army fired warning shots to disperse approximately 1,000 Papuans gathered for a peaceful pro-independence demonstration in the Papua provincial capital, Jayapura, after one of the leaders read out the 1961 Papua Declaration of Independence. In an ensuing crackdown by the security forces on the demonstrators, at least three people were killed and dozens were injured. Witnesses said several had gunshot wounds.


At about 2:30 p.m. on October 19, at the “Third Papuan Congress,” Forkorus Yaboisembut, chairman of the Papuan Customary Council, read out a 1961 Declaration of Independence, and said that he and Edison Waromi, the president of the West Papua National Authority, had been elected by the Congress as president and prime minister respectively of the “Democratic Republic of West Papua.”

About 30 minutes later, the event concluded and the crowd started to disperse, but about 1,000 people remained in the field, talking, and socializing. At approximately 3:30 p.m., the police and military, who had deployed anti-riot trucks and surrounded the field since midnight the night before, began firing military assault weapons over the crowds and into the air.

Witnesses said that most of the people in the field began running. Others stopped and surrendered, putting their hands up. The police then arrested approximately 300 people, ordering them to strip down to their underwear. Witnesses say that security forces pistol-whipped or beat those they arrested with rattan canes and batons, resulting in several injuries.

Many others fled into the woods near the field, with some using a road by a nearby school and military outpost. Witnesses said the police and military forces followed into the woods and there arrested numerous others.

The three reported deaths are:
  • Daniel Kadepa, 25, a law student at Sekolah Tinggi Ilmu Hukum Umel Mandiri. A witness said that Kadepa died from gunshot wounds to the head after soldiers fired on him as he was running away.
  • Max Asa Yeuw, 35, a member of the Penjaga Tanah Papua (Papua Land Guard or PETAPA).
  • Yakobus Samansabra, 53, a member of PETAPA, had bullet wounds to his torso, reportedly in the back.
  • Several other PETAPA members had gunshot wounds.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Saidatul Fitriah di Lampung


Aku diundang hadir dalam acara ulang tahun Aliansi Jurnalis Independen di Bandar Lampung. Majalah mahasiswa Teknokra mengundang aku datang ke acara mereka dimana Teknokra dan AJI Lampung memperingati kehidupan almarhum Saidatul "Atul" Fitriah dari Teknokra. Mereka memberikan Anugerah Saidatul Fitriah.

Pada 28 September 1999, reporter Atul ditugaskan Teknokra mengambil foto sebuah demonstrasi mahasiswa di Universitas Bandar Lampung. Menurut Juwendra Asdiansyah, redaktur Teknokra yang menugaskan Atul, Atul dipukul kepalanya oleh aparat keamanan.

Di rumah sakit, Atul mengatakan bahwa dia merasa sudah diincar aparat saat liputan. Menurut hasil rontgen, tengkorak Atul cekung melengkung, akibat pukulan benda tumpul. Atul meninggal di rumah sakit Abdul Moeloek pada 3 Oktober 1999. Polisi Lampung tak pernah melakukan investigasi serius terhadap kematian Atul. Alasan mereka kurang bukti.

Teknokra menginapkan aku di sebuah villa di pinggiran kota Bandar Lampung. Pagi hari ketika bangun aku mendapatkan pemandangan mengagumkan. ©Andreas Harsono

AJI Lampung dan Teknokra ingin ada liputan serius terhadap kematian Atul. Sudah 12 tahun berlalu dan belum ada jawaban terhadap kematian wartawan mahasiswa ini. AJI Lampung juga mengadakan Anugerah Saidatul Fitriah.

Juwendra Asdiansyah, kini bekerja untuk Tribun Lampung, tahu banyak soal kejadian tersebut. Mereka minta aku pidato pada malam ulang tahun tersebut. Aku kira memang harus diupayakan dana dan team guna menyelidiki ulang kematian Atul.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pak Zul


BEBERAPA saat sesudah pembredelan Detik, Editor dan Tempo, saya diperkenalkan oleh Goenawan Mohamad kepada koleganya: Zulkifly Lubis. Dia salah satu direktur majalah Tempo, biasa dipanggil Pak Zul atau ZL. Kesannya, ZL lebih banyak bekerja dalam manajemen Tempo, Temprint maupun Grafiti. Urusannya, lebih banyak soal uang, gedung, mobil dan lain-lain.

Beberapa bulan kemudian, Januari 1995, enam wartawan Tempo, termasuk GM, ZL dan Toriq Hadad, serta beberapa kenalan mereka, termasuk Ashadi Siregar dan Muhammad Sunjaya, mendirikan Institut Studi Arus Informasi. Tujuannya, wahana kampanye kebebasan pers di Indonesia. GM menjadi ketua. ZL menjadi bendahara. Toriq Hadad jadi direktur program. Kantornya, di Jalan Utan Kayu 68-H, tempat yang baru dibeli oleh manajemen Tempo. Mereka mengajak beberapa wartawan muda, termasuk saya, ikut serta. Saya diminta mengurus administrasi dengan berbagai lembaga dana.

United States Agency for International Development, salah satu lembaga pendana yang membantu ISAI, minta saya ikut kursus manajemen NGO di Brattleboro, Vermont. Sebulan di Vermont, saya kembali ke Jakarta, dan November 1995, kami mulai bekerja mengurus organisasi.

Alamak! Manajemen NGO tak bisa dipelajari hanya sebulan. ZL membimbing kami mengatur organisasi. Dia membuat sistem keuangan, personalia, pembelian dan lain-lain. Gerakan perlu logistik rapi. ZL mengatur semua menjadi rapi walau orang-orang yang kami hadapi dengan background aktivis, seniman, wartawan dan lain-lain.

Pengalaman ZL sebagai direktur Tempo, tentu saja, sangat membantu pembuatan sistem manajemen ISAI, belakangan, juga Teater Utan Kayu dan Salihara. Namun ZL bukan finance figure steril. Dia mengerti perjuangan demokrasi. Saya melihat selama delapan tahun bekerja dengan mereka, GM adalah figur pemimpin. ZL adalah figur palang pintu.

ZL sering bilang pada saya, bahwa kami perlu “mengamankan” GM. Artinya, bila keputusan bersama sudah dibuat dan GM sudah mengambil keputusan, ZL minta semua barisan rapi menjalankan keputusan itu. Ini perjuangan menegakkan demokrasi, kebebasan pers dan masyarakat madani di Indonesia. Khusus soal keuangan, ZL tegas sekali.

ZL kelahiran Medan 1944, putra HM Dahlan Lubis, seorang pedagang. Mungkin background keluarga pedagang Batak ikut menjadikan dia tahu betapa uang harus diatur transparan. Dia sering meledek orang yang tak bayar utang.

Tahun 1996, ketika rezim Presiden Soeharto menggulingkan Megawati Soekarnoputri, sebagai ketua Partai Demokrasi Indonesia, media umum makin ketakutan. Sebagian juga makin terpengaruh pola pandang rezim. Kami memutuskan bikin Blok M, organisasi wartawan bawah tanah. Kalau di Jawa saja begitu, entah bagaimana penderitaan di daerah macam Acheh, Papua Barat dan Timor Leste. Kami memutuskan kerja sama dengan organisasi sipil di Acheh, Papua Barat dan Timor Leste.

ZL mengatur sewa ruang, beli komputer, sewa mesin fotokopi. ZL atur agar satu unit dan unit lain bisa bekerja independen. Sistem dibikin tapi cukup flexible. Namun, ZL juga mengerti bahwa dia sendiri tak boleh tahu dimana Blok M berada. Dia minta saya dan kawan-kawan mencari tempat. ZL percaya dan teken uang sewa. Blok M bekerja menerbitkan media alternatif. Mulai dari percetakan hingga internet.

Tak disangka, krisis moneter menerpa Asia pada awal 1997. Saat dolar menguat terhadap rupiah, ZL minta saya merupiahkan dana simpanan ISAI. Jual dolar dan memasukkan ke rupiah. Ini peluang mendapatkan bunga deposito. Sebab, dana ISAI, yang disimpan—karena belum semua program dijalankan -- tak dapat bunga bila menganggur. Deposito berbunga hampir 50 persen. Dolar naik dari Rp 2,300 menjadi Rp 7000. Mei 1998, ketika Presiden Soeharto mundur, berbekal bunga bank lumayan besar dan tambahan dana pribadi GM, kami membeli tanah dan membangun gedung Teater Utan Kayu.

Beberapa hari sesudah Soeharto mundur, ZL tampak senang sekali. Dia traktir saya makan, "Apa saja yang you suka!"

Sesudah Presiden Soeharto turun, gerakan kekerasan atas nama Islam, mulai merebak. Bom meledak di berbagai tempat. Fatwa-fatwa sempit bermunculan. Kaum minoritas dianiaya. Utan Kayu, yang berkembang sebagai tempat dimana keberagaman dirayakan, termasuk sasaran kekerasan.

ZL ternyata turun tangan juga. Sejak 1970an, ketika dia kuliah di Jogjakarta dan bersahabat dengan pendeta Th. Sumartana, ZL bergabung dengan Interfidei, organisasi yang mempromosikan dialog antar iman. ZL berpendapat, agama harus dipisahkan dari politik. Dia berpendapat, pendirian negara Islam adalah politik basi. Ini menarik kalau saya ingat HM Dahlan Lubis adalah aktivis Masjumi, partai besar yang kampanye “negara Islam.”

Pada 2008, ZL ikut teken pernyataan Aliansi Kebangsaan Kebebasan Beragama dan Berkeyakinan. Tujuan AKKBB adalah mencegah Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, untuk membuat aturan yang diskriminasi terhadap kaum minoritas agama, terutama Ahmadiyah. Sayang, SBY tidak mau mendengar pendapat AKKBB. Dia mengeluarkan keputusan diskriminasi Ahmadiyah pada Juni 2008. Dampaknya, kekerasan terhadap kaum Ahmadiyah meningkat drastis.

Saya mulai sering menulis pembunuhan terhadap kaum Ahmadiyah, penutupan macam-macam gereja, penjara untuk aktivis Bahai dan lain-lain. Setiap kali kami bertemu, ZL tanya bagaimana perkembangan Ahmadiyah. Terakhir kami bertemu di rumah sakit di Jakarta dimana ZL dirawat karena kanker paru-paru. Saya cerita soal kesulitan Ahmadiyah. Dia memegang tangan saya. Dugaan saya, dia merasa prihatin dengan makin meluasnya diskriminasi terhadap orang Ahmadiyah.

Subuh, 11 September 2011, saya mendapat kabar dari Irawan Saptono, direktur ISAI, bahwa ZL meninggal dunia. Kanker paru-paru penyebabnya. Dia meninggal dalam usia 67 tahun.

Seorang kawan baik sudah pergi jauh. Sore hari, saya berada di kuburan Layur, Rawamangun, ikut mengantar ZL. Ada banyak kawannya hadir disana. Saya mengenangnya sebagai seseorang yang bekerja dalam diam. Naluri ZL adalah naluri seorang pejuang. Sore itu adalah suatu sore penghormatan buat seorang pejuang kemanusiaan.

Naskah ini dibuat untuk antologi Zulkifly Lubis 1944-2011: Sahabat Sepanjang Hayat. Andreas Harsono ikut mendirikan Institut Studi Arus Informasi pada Januari 1995 bersama Zulkifly Lubis.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rumah Pengampon


©Andreas Harsono

RUMAH
Pengampon di Surabaya terlihat terawat. Aku mengunjungi rumah ini serta berbincang dengan penyewa. Dia seorang single mother dengan tiga anak. Dia mengatakan dia satu-satunya orang Jawa di kampung yang mayoritas penghuni orang Madura dan Tionghoa.

Aku senang lihat rumah ini dipelihara. Ongkos sewa memang murah. Hanya Rp 1 juta untuk setahun. Aku kira lebih penting ia dipelihara dengan rapi serta tidak diubah arsitektur. Rumah ini milik keluarga kami. Ketika kecil aku sering menginap di rumah ini. Dulunya, ia dipakai papaku ketika papa masih bujangan pada 1950an dan 1960an.

©Andreas Harsono

Belum tahu akan digunakan untuk apa rumah ini. Keluargaku tak ada satu pun yang tinggal di Surabaya. Pernah terpikir untuk digunakan untuk kegiatan sosial. Sebagai anak tertua dalam keluarga, rumah ini jadi tangungjawab aku. Aku akan mencurahkan waktu untuk aktivisme di Surabaya.

Rumah ini aku duga didirikan pada abad XIX. Ia rumah kecil. Zaman Hindia Belanda, Pengampon adalah kampung para buruh pelabuhan. Mereka kebanyakan orang Madura dan Tionghoa. Rumah-rumah kecil. Hanya dua kamar. Tembok kokoh sekali.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Public health suffers as Indonesia ignores calls for tobacco reform


By Andreas Harsono

For this story, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists teamed with ABC News to look at tobacco’s grip on Indonesia. Watch the full segment tonight on ABC’s 20/20.

Indonesian cigarette vendors at a recent rally in Jakarta, protesting government talks over a tobacco-control law. Thousands of vendors were organized and deployed by an Indonesian tobacco trade group. ©Andreas Harsono

On Monday, December 27, 2010, Noor Atika Hasanah, a petite 28-year-old secretary in Jakarta, updated her Twitter feed. From her bed at the Jakarta Respiratory Centre clinic, she wrote: “To smoking parents, please do smoke as far as possible from your children … so that they won’t get lung cancer.”

Atika’s own lung problem had her down again, recalled her brother Faisal Rizal. Her parents had checked her into a clinic. Later, Atika wrote that she was still waiting for a transfer to a bigger hospital.

On Thursday at 5:35am, the move happened and Atika notified her Facebook friends: “Noor just checked in @PROF. DR. SULIANTI SAROSO hospital.” A friend wrote back, “Please don’t stay too long …. Get well soon sis!”

Noor Atika Hasanah passed away later that day.

Five months after Noor Atika Hasanah’s death, Rizal said Atika Hasanah’s passing was “because of God’s will. The cigarette smoke is only the pelengkap penderita .” He used a Bahasa Indonesia grammatical term which means “direct object.”

Atika’s chronicling of her illness offered friends and family an unusual glimpse at the consequences of runaway tobacco consumption in Indonesia, yet her death to tobacco-related disease is not unusual in one of the world’s last holdouts against signing the World Health Organization's treaty to limit the tobacco industry’s influence by restricting tobacco advertising and raising excise taxes.

With a population of around 240 million and weak government regulations, Indonesia is one of Big Tobacco’s smoking giants. As of 2009, 28 percent of Indonesian adults were smokers and more than half of men smoke, according to the World Lung Foundation.

Around 200,000 people die each year in Indonesia because of smoking-related sickness. At least 25,000 of the dead are like Atika — young, female and passive smokers, according to the WHO.

A strong habit

Atika’s story went little noticed outside her circle of friends. That’s a sharp contrast to Aldi Rizal, who in 2010 became global sensation at age two, shown on television news and internet video puffing away at some of the 40 or so cigarettes he consumed each day. The media attention embarrassed the government, which quickly paid for medical help needed to cure his addiction.

But the quick attention to the smoking toddler could not hide a startling number: In 2006 — the last year for which survey data is available for Indonesia — the prevalence of smokers ages 13-15 was 38 percent, one of the world's highest per-capita rates of smoking among children.

Tobacco’s influence on the politics of smoking in Indonesia is punctuated by what's happened to people like Atika. She had often complained about her boss and colleagues who smoked non-stop. She was employed by a government-sponsored cooperative for villagers, where she often worked late, surrounded by second-hand smoke.

Her father also smoked at home, but quit in 2007.

As a country, however, Indonesia does not appear ready to kick the cigarette habit. Anti-tobacco and health activists blame a combination of ineffective Indonesian politicians and the lobbying clout of global tobacco interests.

Indonesia is the toughest test on the planet for health advocates who, after decades of winning tobacco restrictions in the United States and other developed nations, now must fight deep-pocketed multinational cigarette manufacturers in emerging markets and developing nations — regions that have grown to become the industry’s key source of new revenue.

The Indonesian government has consistently refused to control tobacco advertisement. Indonesian legislators can’t even agree on enforcing their own, limited tobacco law — the 2009 Health Law that includes limited regulation of cigarette advertising. Anti-tobacco activists say this is because tobacco’s influence touches all walks of Indonesian life, from politics to pop music and the media.

In examining tobacco in Indonesia, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists found that cigarettes have become so much a part of everyday life that politicians don’t feel rushed to address massive electronic billboards hawking cigarettes along busy streets. No one has moved against brazen marketing like point-of-sale displays featuring mini-skirted young women at rock concerts, even in front of children’s playgrounds. And few in government thought twice about a cigarette company’s sponsorship of the summit of Southeast Asian defense ministers in May 2011. Billboards for the summit were shown prominently throughout Jakarta.

“The tobacco lobby is smart. They’re adaptive. With their social responsibility campaigns, they could get a lot of parties to support them,” said Todung Mulya Lubis, a lawyer and anti-tobacco activist. “Grants from Sampoerna Foundation or Djarum Foundation could easily raise the ewuh pekewuh” — a Javanese term for not criticizing someone in public.

In Indonesia, tobacco is an old, strong tradition. In the 1880s, tobacco traders in Kudus, on Java Island, the most important area in the Dutch East Indies, mixed cloves and tobacco, creating kretek cigarettes. The name is an onomatopoeic term for the crackling sound of burning cloves. Kretek now means cigarette in Indonesia, with four leading manufacturers: Sampoerna, Djarum, Gudang Garam and Bentoel. Almost 90 percent of Indonesian smokers puff kretek.

Indonesia’s particular — and plentiful — smokers are so valuable that in 2005 Phillip Morris International paid more than $5 billion for 97-percent ownership of the Sampoerna brand. British American Tobacco followed in 2009 with $494 million for an 85-percent stake in the Bentoel brand.

The Sampoerna family established PT Hanjaya Mandala Sampoerna Tbk. in 1913 and continues to help Phillip Morris manage it. Putera Sampoerna, grandson of company founder Liem Seeng Tee, was until recently chairman of PT Hanjaya Mandala Sampoerna Tbk., while also running his Putera Sampoerna Foundation.

Power of the Press

The number 234 is a special one for the Sampoernas. Its most famous kretek brand is Djie Sam Soe or 234 in Hokkien language. It also appeared on the building of Jurnal Nasional daily, a newspaper editorially controlled by the Merdeka Palace.

In the Sampoerna family, Phillip Morris has an ally tied closely to Indonesia’s political and media hearbeats.

In June 2006, two years after Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono won the presidency, the Sampoerna family started Jurnal Nasional , a daily newspaper in Jakarta. Political opponents of Yudhoyono – even journalists who work for paper – say the publication’s content is controlled from the Merdeka Palace, Indonesia’s White House. Sunaryo Sampoerna, an art collector and a nephew of Putera, was chairman of PT Media Nusa Perdana, which publishes the newspaper.

The flow of money from the Sampoernas to Jurnal Nasional appears to have stopped after George J. Aditjondro, a scholar and an anti-corruption crusader, revealed connections between Yudhoyono and the newspaper in his book Membongkar Gurita Cikeas– “Uncovering the Cikeas Octopus,” published in December 2009. (Cikeas is the residence of President Yudhoyonos’ family in southern Jakarta.) The book created an uproar as Yudhoyono had won the presidential race on an anti-corruption campaign. Sunaryo Sampoerna stepped down from the newspaper board in the January 2010 shareholder meeting.

The Putera Sampoerna Foundation is also into journalism, with its Adiwarta Sampoerna Award for reporters covering legal, arts, business and environmental matters. Award ceremonies were always filled with Sampoerna banners, logo and souvenirs. The juries have included Sampoerna executives.

“On top of their advertising and sponsorship, the journalist award is a very effective method to reach out to the subconscious of journalists,” said Wahyu Dhyatmika, leader of Jakarta’s Alliance of Independent Journalists.

Another thread in the Sampoerna – Yudhoyono connection: Putera Sampoerna hosts Yudhoyono’s youngest son, Edhie Baskoro, the Democratic Party secretary-general, in an office inside his Sampoerna Strategic Square tower, in Jakarta. The 27-year-old politician has a whole floor for himself.

Yudhoyono “is not a smoker, but he’s a friend of the cigarette companies,” Todung Mulya Lubis said.

Yudhoyono's spokesman declined requests for comment from ICIJ, and Sampoerna family members and foundation officials declined requests for interviews about Jurnal Nasional and the journalism competition.

Further punctuation of the relationship between Sampoerna and Yudhoyono are the numbers 234 and 9, which show up often in the tobacco family’s story and on the license plate of the Rolls Royce that Sampoerna was once allowed to routinely park at Merdeka Palace, according to journalist Wisnu Nugroho, who chronicled the tobacco baron’s visits to President Yudhoyono.

234 is a special number for the Sampoernas. Putera Sampoerna’s grandfather, Liem Seeng Tee, was an immigrant from Hokkien, in southern China, who landed in Java and set up his tobacco company in 1913. Seeng Tee was superstitious. He named his most famous kretek brand 234 — Djie Sam Soe in the Hokkien language. Mathematically, 2+3+4 equals nine — what Sampoerna has said is his lucky number. Jurnal Nasional’s first office on Pramuka Street in Jakarta was also numbered 234.

When the Dutch East Indies became Indonesia at the end of World War II, Seeng Tee changed his family name to “Sampoerna.” In Malay the word means “perfect.”

Don’t Talk About Cigarettes

Tulus Abadi, coordinator of the Indonesian Consumers Foundation, which campaigns for tobacco control, recalls the visit to the Merdeka Palace by a delegation of anti-tobacco advocates whom he supported. As they met with First Lady Kristiani Herrawati Yudhoyono, she told the group she’d help them, as long as they did not talk about cigarettes.

On May 31, 2008, a World No Tobacco Day, Mrs. Yudhoyono also made a speech at the Merdeka Palace. She said cigarette advertisements were misleading and encouraged teenagers to start smoking. She reminded children not to smoke. But behind the scenes, said a health activist who attended the event, Merdeka Palace officials told the organizers that they should not say anything publicly about the WHO’s tobacco-control treaty.

These events sustain a suspicion among health activists that the tobacco industry has a firm grip on Indonesian policymakers.

Tobacco companies also are active financial supporters of sports and arts events and programs. They employ six million people in Indonesia, directly and indirectly, according to the Indonesian Alliance of Tobacco Societies. And tobacco companies claim that in 2009 they paid about 55 trillion rupiah in taxes — around $6.4 billion — and account for almost 10 percent of the nation’s public revenue.

Almost the Health Minister

Because of those numbers, health activists said they were suspicious of President Yudhoyono's withdrawl of a nomination of the wife of an anti-tobacco crusader to be the nation’s health minister.

In late July 2009, Yudhoyono won a landslide re-election, with nearly 61 percent of the total vote. His new vice president was Boediono, a former central banker. On Sunday October 18, 2009, they invited Nila Juwita Moeloek, an ophthalmologist and a professor at the University of Indonesia’s Medical School, for a talk — and then offered her the position of health minister.

Moeloek later told reporters that the president and vice president talked about reaching the UN Millennium Development Goals in 2015 and that she was expected to undergo a health examination.

Moeloek told ICIJ that the president did not talk about tobacco control in their first meeting.

Moeloek's husband, Faried Anfasa Moeloek, was Indonesia’s health minister in the late 1990s. So her appointment excited anti-tobacco campaigners, as Anfasa Moeloek is a patron of a coalition of anti-tobacco activists.

“The euphoria was reflected on our Yahoo group mailing list. We forgot that there are spies,” Tulus Abadi said.

Nila Moeloek took the presidential medical test. She had already received congratulatory phone calls and text messages on her nomination and political analysts proclaimed her health minister. But on the day she took the medical test, Kartono Mohamad, former president of Indonesia’s doctors association, was asked by Merdeka Palace officials to recommend three other names to head the health ministry.

Mohamad alerted health activists and called the Moeloeks.

“We were surprised when she was not invited to the Merdeka Palace,” Abadi said.

Yudhoyono said Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih, a Harvard-trained medical doctor already in the Health Ministry, would be the new chief. Andi Mallarangeng, a Yudhoyono spokesman, said Nila Moeloek had a “psychological problem” and was deemed unfit for a cabinet job.

Legislators, journalists, health activists and politicians questioned the sudden change. The Republika newspaper demanded the government say why her appointment had been canceled.

Nila Moeloek told ICIJ that she was surprised and hurt by the “psychologically unfit” statement. She declined, however, to comment on the motives for the abrupt change of plans.

"I am not against the tobacco industries,” Nila Moeloek said. “I just want to protect small children. These kids still cannot decide yet. I don’t care about adults who decide to smoke. But a young boy who smokes will keep on smoking for decades."

Later the president offered Nila Moeloek an ambassadorship, an offer she refused.

“I want to move on,” she said. “In hindsight, I feel grateful I did not get that job.”

Anfasa Moeloek, her husband, has eye cancer; she wants to spend more time with him.

A hard road for reform

There have been attempts in Indonesia to follow the spirit of the WHO tobacco-control treaty, but the initiatives have met with strong resistance.

In October, 2010, Health Minister Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih said new regulation was being drafted to impose a ban on tobacco advertising, and require cigarette makers to print pictures of smoking-related diseases on their packs. “It must be understood there are a lot of interests at stake. That’s why we need to proceed wisely in drafting this regulation. What’s important is that we’re consistent and we make progress step by step.”

She didn’t have to wait long for the industry’s reaction. Tobacco groups soon sent waves of protesters to her ministry.

Komunitas Kretek, a Java-based tobacco group, organized rallies and launched an essay writing competition on the involvement of U.S. pharmaceutical companies in support of the anti-tobacco draft.

"Developed countries like the United States are trying to make profits through the sale of nicotine-replacement drugs. But they do business through anti-smoking campaigns," said Komunitas spokesman Zulvan Kurniawan.

“I smoke one to two packs of cigarette a day. I’m fine with it. Smoking is okay as long as you don’t do it too much. Compare it with eating instant noodles, 12 packs a day, or drinking Krating Daeng [an energy drink], 12 bottles a day. You will also get sick,” Kurniawan said. “This draft regulation will kill farmers, workers and street vendors,” he added.

At one recent protest against tobacco regulation, colorful street vendors who often hawk tobacco at busy intersections by smoking several cigarettes at a time rallied outside the Ministry of Health. They carried a huge kretek and shouted, “Do we want to be the slaves of foreigners? Down with the foreigners!”

One protester grabbed a megaphone and spoke of the benefits of a controversial cancer treatment particular to Indonesia and tried by thousands of patients: cigarette smoke blown onto — and into — patients wrapped in wet cloth and foil. “The government should finance this research,” the protestor shouted. “Cigarettes are proven to have the potential to cure diseases.”

The Indonesian Alliance of Tobacco Societies, locally known as the AMTI, even pushed a campaign to label kreteks part of “Indonesia's cultural heritage” and one of Indonesia’s 10 prioritized industries.

But the corporate mindset favoring tobacco now appears to cut against the public grain in Indonesia: A 2010 Indonesian Consumers Foundation survey found that 90 percent of Indonesians agree that cigarettes are addictive; 57 percent believe the government does not do enough to protect non-smokers; 88 percent had seen cigarette advertisements in the previous two weeks; and 71 percent want to ban tobacco ads.

The numbers should be enough to convince legislators to move against the industry, said Tulus Abadi, the anti-tobacco activist.

“We suggest the government control tobacco by increasing the taxes. Smokers’ numbers will drop but the government income will be compensated.”

Indonesia’s cigarette tax is about 47 percent of the price of a pack. Legally the government could increase it to 57 percent.

“These numbers speak for themselves,” Abadi said.


Related Link
Putera Sampoerna Foundation Clarification