Thursday, May 19, 2016

Match words with action on Papua abuses

Andreas Harsono

Theo Hesegem of Wamena is a Papuan human rights campaigner who helped the Indonesian government to resolve past human rights abuses in the area.

The detention of more than 1,500 Papuan independence supporters on May 2 for “lacking a permit to hold a rally” speaks volumes of the government’s stubbornly problematic approach to dealing with dissent in the restive territory of Papua. This approach has for decades provided impunity for security forces, despite their abuses against Papuans and turned dozens of those exercising their universal rights to freedom of expression and association into political prisoners.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has promised Papuans a change, beginning with “an open dialogue for a better Papua”. But aside from the release of a few political prisoners, there has been barely any signs of meaningful change on the ground in Papua.

Jokowi’s December 2014 pledge to thoroughly investigate and punish security forces implicated in the death of five peaceful protesters in the Papuan town of Enarotali that month has remained unfulfilled. And the Indonesian bureaucracy continues to obstruct international media from freely reporting in Papua despite the President’s May 2015 declaration to lift the decades-old restrictions.

Last month the government announced a new approach to Papua’s long history of serious rights abuses and lack of accountability: It was going to try to resolve them.

On April 20 chief security minister Luhut Pandjaitan opened a one-week meeting in Jakarta, which was attended by more than 20 human rights activists and ethnic Papuan officials from Papua and West Papua, along with officials from the National Police, the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) and various ministries.

The meeting followed increasing international scrutiny of Indonesia’s human rights record in Papua, including a September 2015 proposal by the Pacific Islands Forum, a political grouping of 16 Pacific nation states, for a possible human rights “fact finding mission” in Papua.

The meeting aimed to develop a roadmap to investigation and resolution of a number of the region’s most serious human rights abuses. The initiative was a follow-up to Jokowi’s commitment in December 2014 to seek an end to human rights violations in Papua.

The government has compiled a 17-page report detailing 11 high-priority human rights cases in Papua that it aims to solve. They include the Biak massacre in July 1998, when security forces opened fire on participants of a peaceful flag-raising ceremony on the island, the military crackdown on Papuans in Wasior in 2001 and Wamena in 2003 that left dozens killed and thousands displaced and the forced disbandment of the Papuan People’s Congress in October 2011 that left three people dead and hundreds injured.

The government has also prioritized individual cases such as the disappearance of Aristoteles Masoka, the driver of murdered Papuan leader Theys Eluay in November 2001. Although Eluay’s body was found inside his car, and seven Army Special Forces soldiers were convicted in 2003 for the murder, Masoka has never turned up.

The list is an encouraging sign that the government recognizes the role of the security forces in human rights abuses in Papua and the need for accountability. However, mass killings that took place between the 1960s and 1970s, including a military operation in 1977-1978 against Free Papua Movement (OPM) insurgents that allegedly involved indiscriminate aerial bombings and strafing, have been deliberately omitted.

Papuan activists have also called for investigations into the killing of anthropologist-cum-musician Arnold Ap in April 1984 and rights abuses linked to the Indonesian security forces in the lead-up to the July 1969 UN-sponsored referendum that resulted in a much-contested unanimous vote for continued integration with Indonesia.

The government’s plan to resolve these cases involves deploying agencies including the National Police, the AGO, the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) and the military police to investigate. The plan specifies the need for compensation for survivors and victims’ families for incidents in which the evidence clearly indicates the culpability of government officials and security forces.

Insp. Gen. Paulus Waterpauw, the Papua Police chief, has promised to prosecute individuals implicated in those abuses. The government has yet to publicly disclose a timeline for these investigations.

Papua’s troubled history and ongoing serious human rights abuses demand a meaningful government response to both address the crimes of the past and to enact measures to prevent future abuses. The ongoing low-level conflict with the small and disorganized OPM obligates the government to ensure security for the population.

Security forces repeatedly fail to distinguish between violent acts and peaceful expression of political views. The government has denounced flag-raisings and other peaceful expressions of pro-independence sentiment in Papua as treasonous. Heavy-handed responses to peaceful activities have resulted in numerous human rights violations.

In the past eight years, Human Rights Watch has documented dozens of cases in which police, military, intelligence officers, and prison guards have used unnecessary or excessive force when dealing with Papuans exercising their rights to peaceful assembly and association.

The government also frequently arrests and prosecutes Papuan protesters for peacefully advocating independence or other political change. More than 35 Papuan activists are in prison on treason charges.

Human Rights Watch takes no position on Papuan claims to self-determination, but opposes imprisonment of people who peacefully express support for self-determination.

Papuans are likely to be skeptical of Luhut’s plan to resolve past human rights abuses unless the positive rhetoric is matched by meaningful investigations and prosecutions for those crimes.
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The writer is a researcher for the Human Rights Watch.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

"Religious Harmony" Regulations Creating Dissonance in Indonesia

Carnegie Council

AMBER KIWAN: My name is Amber Kiwan. I am here at the Carnegie Council. We are about to speak with Andreas Harsono. He is the Indonesia researcher at Human Rights Watch and a journalist who has earned international recognition for his work in human rights, social justice, and press freedom in Southeast Asia. We are talking about faith and difference in Indonesia.

Thank you so much for joining us today.

ANDREAS HARSONO: Thank you.

AMBER KIWAN: I wanted to go back just a decade and have you talk a little bit about the religious harmony regulation that was adopted in 2006. I know that you have done a lot of writing and talking about this topic, and I would love to hear you explain just what it is, how it's different from religious freedom, and how this regulation has impacted religious minorities over the past decade.

ANDREAS HARSONO: The concept that is being implemented in Indonesia in terms of religions, practicing faith, is what the government calls "religious harmony." What is it? It basically means that the majority should protect the minorities. Meanwhile, the minorities should respect the majority.

It is involved in various aspects of religious life, including building houses of worship. If you want to build a minority house of worship, you need to get the approval from the so-called majority. In Indonesia, of course, the meaning of "majority" is a reference to Sunni Islam. In short, if you want to build a church or a temple, or, in the case of Muslim minorities themselves, like the Ahmadiyya or Muslim Shia or the Sufi, they also need to get the approval from the majority, the Sunni Muslims. It also means the Sunni Muslims have veto power over the minorities.

But there is a footnote in this case. Eastern Indonesia is predominantly Christian. Places like Papua, Timor Island, Flores Island, and some parts of Kalimantan, they are Christian majority. So in those parts of Indonesia the practice is in reverse. It is the Christians which give the final approval in building other houses of worship, especially Sunni Muslim.

This is a dangerous trend in Indonesia. People always use "in the name of religious harmony," but in practice it is a veto power by the majority over the minority. It should be reversed, because the Indonesia Constitution of 1945 actually says we respect—we want to implement religious freedom, where every citizen has equal rights. In religious harmony, the majority has become first-class citizens and the minorities have become second-class citizens. That is the practice which is going on in Indonesia right now.

One last question: Where does it come from? The concept of religious harmony comes from an ancient Islamic practice called dhimmies. What does dhimmies mean? In the past it meant the weak, referring to the Christians and the Jews during the Islamic rule in the Arab Peninsula several centuries ago. They have to pay taxes, but they cannot join the war, meaning joining politics. If they have not paid their taxes, they have to leave the area or to convert to Islam. That is the very ancient concept which is being implemented in Indonesia right now.

Over the last 10 years, especially under the rule of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono between 2004 and 2014, more than 1,000 churches were closed down. What is the logic? The logic is, again, religious harmony. They like to argue that this particular area, either a regency or a city, is Muslim majority. Christians cannot build new churches. If they get a permit, even if they file a lawsuit and win a Supreme Court decision, they still cannot build their churches. Again, the concept is: Do not disturb religious harmony. Do not disturb harmony.

So more than 1,000 churches were closed down, including those that were established long before this regulation was enacted, during the Dutch time, during the Japanese occupation period, during the President Sukarno period. Many of them were closed down.

Also those that were renovating, again the local government and the Muslim majority can say, "Look, you are renovating your church. You need to get a permit. You need to pass this religious harmony regulation." According to the Communion of Christian Churches, at least 1,056 churches were closed down in a decade.

There is another logic behind it. Some Islamists say, "Christians are only less than 10 percent in Indonesia; Muslims, 88 percent. Meanwhile, churches altogether are 17 percent of all houses of worship. Meanwhile, mosques are only 77 percent of all houses of worship. So there is a balance. The Christians have too many churches proportionately. The balance is about 5,000 churches." This is what the most extreme of them all say—"You have too many churches here in Asia. You need to stop building churches."

AMBER KIWAN: I have also been reading some of your work about this rise of violent Islamic extremism in Indonesia. Can you talk a little bit about what has been happening over the past few years, and maybe tell us what groups are leading these activities?

ANDREAS HARSONO: First, there are growing regulations which discriminate against religious minorities, including the religious harmony regulation, including the house of worship regulation, including the blasphemy law.

The blasphemy law says that for anyone who commits blasphemy the maximum penalty is five years. Because they are discriminatory and, of course, they can be easily misinterpreted, abused, more and more Muslim militant groups take the law into their own hands. More people who questioned creation on Facebook got, under the blasphemy law, five years in jail. Someone who moderated a Facebook group on atheism got two and a half years. Three Sunday school teachers got three years for bringing Muslim students to a picnic with their Sunday school group. Those kinds of things happen, especially in Muslim conservative areas all over Indonesia.

If the Christians or the minorities challenge them, then violence might happen. For instance, it happened with Ahmadiyya Muslims. They challenged a 2008 discrimination against Ahmadiyya, but they were attacked. More than 30 of their mosques were closed down over the last decade.

Shia Muslim is another victim. Last year, 2015, was the year when hate speech and attacks against Shia Muslims was the highest in Indonesia.

Another victim is traditional believers, ethnic religions, like—we call it "the Jawa" for the Javanese ethnic group, or "Parmalim" for the Batak ethnic group.

Who are the perpetrators? Mostly Islamist organizations, like the Islamic Defenders Front/Front Pembela Islam (FPI) or Forum Umat Islam (FUI). They take the law into their own hands. There are elements within the national police and the military who side with them, who let their religious bias dictate how they deal with this religious problem.

AMBER KIWAN: Is there a connection to Islamic extremism in the Middle East and the rise there? I read some different research and accounts linking, for example, Saudi Arabia's fundamentalist form of Sunni Islam to the rise of extremist Islam in Indonesia. Do you think that this is true, and to what extent?

ANDREAS HARSONO: Many people believe that. Many people believe that the rise of religious intolerance and violence and abuses against minorities in Indonesia is linked to intolerant Islam rising from Saudi Arabia, especially with groups like Hizb ut-Tahrir or groups like the Salafist/Wahhabi movement in the Middle East, and also the Muslim Brotherhood from Egypt. That is one huge school of thought in believing that it comes from the Middle East.

In fact, two of the largest Muslim organizations in Indonesia, the Nahdlatul Ulama, NU in short, and the Muhammadiyah, the second-largest, they subscribe to that idea, especially the NU. This is the biggest Muslim organization in Indonesia. They launched their own campaign, their own brand, and they call it Islam Nusantara—Nusantara is another name of Indonesia—which basically says: "Look, our Islam is different from Islam that comes from the Middle East. We are trying to adapt to local culture. We have no problem." Meanwhile, they feel threatened by the incoming Islam from the Middle East. But that is one school of thought.

There is another school of thought which says, "Locally, grassroots Islam also has a problem in Indonesia because they discriminate against minorities." This is not the first time. There are four institutions which facilitate discrimination in Indonesia. The four are the Ministry of Religious Affairs, set up in 1946—again, a long time before all of this brouhaha from Indonesia; and the Blasphemy Law Office, set up in 1932; the Indonesian Ulema Council, set up in 1982; and, last but not least, the Religious Harmony Forum, 2006. There are institutions which were developed by local Muslims, Muslim clerics, including people who come from both the Nahdlatul Ulama and the Muhammadiyah. That is the second school of thought.

The third school of thought says that all of this increase of violence and intolerance in Indonesia comes as a combination from 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and now Yemen—all of the wars, the violence, the things that are moving a lot of ideas in the Middle East and South Asia also coming to Indonesia.

So there are three schools of thought in seeing this problem.

AMBER KIWAN: I believe that a lot of people had high hopes when the current president, Joko Widodo, was elected in 2014. Many people thought that he would try or be able to restore tolerance and peace. What has he done for minority groups? Have you seen anything positive since he has been elected?

ANDREAS HARSONO: I actually had dinner with him, and he asked me about how I see all of these problems from the human rights law enforcement perspective. I told him what I told you: There are state institutions which facilitate discrimination and there are discriminatory regulations, including the blasphemy law, the house of worship regulation, etc., etc. He was listening. It was about 15 minutes, quite a long conversation.

After that, he set up a task force at the palace basically to prevent religious violence. He thought that if things are controlled since the very beginning, it is better to prevent than to overcome a crisis. That is one thing that he did. He tried to prevent religious tension before it becomes too hot to handle.

But at the same time, he hasn't solved the ongoing problems, the legacy of his predecessor, President Yudhoyono. There are, like I said, more than 1,000 churches that were closed down. He did not reopen them, including two most high-profile cases involving a church in Bogor, outside Jakarta, and another church, HKBP Filadelfia in Bekasi, east of Jakarta. Those two churches have won a Supreme Court order to be reopened. But again, President Jokowi has not touched those long problems inherited from his predecessor.

Meanwhile, his administration, because of all this infrastructure which discriminates against minorities, already created one more decree in February 2016 against an organization called Gafatar. Almost 8,000 Gafatar members—it is a small sect—were expelled from Kalimantan Island accused of committing blasphemy, practicing a deviant kind of Islam in Kalimantan. Then the government discriminates against them, saying that they are deviant, they are committing blasphemy, and the organization has to be abolished. The practicing of this belief will be criminalized and the maximum penalty is five years.

So this machinery, this legal infrastructure, is still in place. President Jokowi should invest more political capital in undoing what his predecessor had done. It is not easy, I know that, because the world, and Southeast Asia in particular, is not at the right direction right now. Doing it might rock the boat too much. So he is moving pretty, pretty slowly. But I still have hope that he will do the right thing.

AMBER KIWAN: And what about women's rights? I know that women's rights have also been a problem over the last decade or so, if not longer, and women have been impacted by some of these Sharia-influenced laws and policies. Can you talk about some of the trends that you have seen?

ANDREAS HARSONO: A good indicator is that one-fifth of Indonesia—in all of Indonesia, more than 500 regencies—one-fifth of them have mandatory regulations for women to wear the hijab. They have to cover the so-called aurah. Aurah is mostly hair, but sometimes it is interpreted as chest, as hips. One-fifth of Indonesia have different levels of regulation. In some areas, women cannot wear long pants; they have to wear long skirts. In other areas, the hijab is appropriate if it covers the neck. But other areas regulate the thickness and the color of the hijab, and they have to cover the chest, in some areas even longer, covering the hips. There is an ongoing campaign to say, "We need to wear hijab"—many Indonesian women are now wearing hijab, but they say, "This is not Shari'i hijab," a hijab which is in accordance with the Sharia. That is one good indicator.

But at the same time we also see the rise of violence against women and girls, gang rape. We also see ridiculous regulations, like banning women to straddle a motorcycle, because if a woman straddles a motorcycle, they believe it will stimulate sexual whatever from men who see them straddling a motorcycle. Of course, it is ridiculous. In some areas, like in Aceh in northern Sumatra, they ban women from dancing, including traditional dancing.

Of course, at the same time, the Supreme Court refused a law petition to increase the minimum age of a girl to marry from 16 up to 18. Again, they recite the Quran.

Another issue is FGM, female genital mutilation. The government is now "regulating" that. Again, this is the legacy of President Yudhoyono, who decided to follow what the Ulema said, that FGM is positive. Of course, it is problematic.

Another thing is interreligious marriage is banned in Indonesia. It is strengthened. It comes from a 1974 marriage law. There was another lawsuit against this interreligious marriage ban, but the Supreme Court decided to uphold it.

AMBER KIWAN: Aside from the government and leadership and laws and policies, what are the attitudes you are seeing from the Indonesian people and civil society groups? Are you seeing changes in attitudes or any positive signs, like internal activism or anything like that?

ANDREAS HARSONO: Civil society in Indonesia is pretty strong. Of course, it involves a lot of Muslim organizations. We have Muslim groups like Gusdurian, after the name of Gus Dur, the nickname of the late president Abdurrahman Wahid. It is an organization which champions women's rights. We also have the National Commission on Women's Rights, which is a government body, very aggressive, very pro-women's rights, and also LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) rights.

Because of this, I am quite optimistic that Indonesia might not go down in a bottomless well, although I'm afraid that some provinces in Indonesia, especially Aceh in North Sumatra, but to a lesser degree also West Sumatra and West Java, are going into more and more formalization of the Sharia.

What does it mean? In principle, basically it means discriminating against women, LGBTs, and also discriminating against religious minorities, whether they are Muslim minorities—Shia, Ahmadiyya, Sufi—or discriminating against non-Muslim minorities, mainly Christians, because, unfortunately, it is the biggest minority in Indonesia, and also discriminating against traditional religion. This is what I am afraid might affect other regions within Indonesia.

Of course, at the same time, we have the influence of radical Islam coming from ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), from al-Qaeda. The number is not many—maybe only 2, 3, 5 percent of Indonesians believe in this kind of violent Islam, but 5 percent of 250 million people is still quite a lot.

AMBER KIWAN: Yes, it is.

We are just about at our time. Before we end, I wanted to see if you had anything that you thought is important that I missed, or anything to add, any last issues to discuss?

ANDREAS HARSONO: We are seeing a disheartening trend in Southeast Asia. In Thailand we see a military dictatorship. In the Philippines we see a Donald Trump-like politician elected president, Rodrigo Duterte. In Cambodia, a strongman, Hun Sen, has ruled the country for almost 30 years. In Malaysia we have Prime Minister Najib involved in corruption.

Southeast Asia is going into a new low nowadays. The fact that Indonesia is still having some positive steps forward is very important to be maintained and to be supported. That's why it is important for international leaders, especially from the United States or Europe, to help Indonesia moving forward, by pushing Indonesian leaders into the right direction, at the same time protesting and maybe behind closed doors telling the bad ones that they have to behave. If Indonesia can survive this new low in Southeast Asia, I hope in the next 10, 20 years it might affect the other countries in Southeast Asia, because, obviously, Indonesia is the largest country in the region.

It is also the denominators of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). If ASEAN can move forward, I think it is not only good for ASEAN members, also Indonesia, but also for the whole region, including the Pacific, China, the United States, Korea, Japan. But if there is a crisis in Southeast Asia, like what we had with the Vietnam War in the 1970s, 1960s, it will create another global problem.

AMBER KIWAN: Thank you so much. This has been fascinating. We really learned a lot, and I'm really glad that you were able to join us.

ANDREAS HARSONO: Thank you so much.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Ziarah ke Makam Abdurrahman Wahid


Kami sekeluarga ziarah ke makam Abdurrahman Wahid atau Gus Dur di pesantren Tebuireng, Jombang. Saya kenal Gus Dur sejak 1980an lewat dosen saya, Arief Budiman di Salatiga, yang juga kawan Gus Dur.

Ketika pindah ke Jakarta pada 1991, mulai bekerja sebagai reporter, saya lebih sering bertemu Gus Dur, termasuk ketika beliau sakit, namun sembuh, dan sesudah kejatuhan Presiden Soeharto, lantas sebentar di bawah Presiden B.J. Habibie, Gus Dur jadi presiden selama 22 bulan.

Saya pergi mengenang seorang kawan. Kami berangkat naik mobil sewaan dari Surabaya, sekitar tiga jam, mencapai gerbang Kawasan Makam Gus Dur.

Ada museum peradaban Islam dalam kawasan ini. Ia masih dalam tahan persiapan. Gedung museum sudah dibangun. Saya duga koleksi masih diatur. Ia belum dibuka buat umum.

Makam Gus Dur terletak jauh di dalam kawasan ini. Ia terletak bersama makam-makam lain keluarga besar pesantren Tebuireng. Ada papan nama, terbuat dari beton, mencantumkan nama-nama orang dalam pemakaman keluarga ini, termasuk kakek Gus Dur, Hasyim Asy'ari, salah satu pendiri Nahdlatul Ulama pada 1926.

Menariknya, ada puluhan kios dalam kawasan ini. Mereka menjual banyak kaos bergambar Gus Dur, serta berbagai gelar kepadanya. "Bapak Pluralisme" adalah gelar paling sering saya jumpai di berbagai kios ini. Saya heran dengan keinginan banyak orang menjadikan Gus Dur sebagai "pahlawan nasional." Kaos ini menunjukkan bahwa Gus Dur sudah jadi pahlawan rakyat. Dia tak perlu dimasukkan ranah negara.

Pahlawan adalah ranah rakyat. Ia tak perlu dimasukkan ke ranah negara karena justru akan timbul percekcokan. Soekarno termasuk "pahlawan nasional" tapi banyak orang tak suka Soekarno. Saya ragu misalnya apakah Soekarno dihormati di Papua? Saya percaya Gus Dur dihormati di Papua karena dia tak pernah melukai hati orang Papua. Ranah rakyat inilah yang harus diperjuangkan buat para pahlawan.

Menurut Pusaka Nasional, Indonesia kini memiliki 163 "pahlawan nasional" dari Tan Malaka sampai Mohammad Mangoendiprojo. Kalau nama mereka dijadikan nama jalan praktis orang tak mengenalnya kecuali beberapa tokoh yang memang terkenal.

Tan Malaka dan Alimin, dua tokoh komunis Indonesia, masuk dalam daftar "pahlawan nasional" zaman Presiden Soekarno. Rezim Orde Baru tak suka dengan keberadaan dua nama tersebut dalam daftar. Ini salah satu sisi buruk dari pahlawan dimasukkan ke ranah negara. Bila pemerintah tak suka dengan mereka maka jejaknya dihapus. Pahlawan seharusnya hak rakyat, hak swasta, tak perlu diatur oleh negara.

"Gitu saja kok repot" ucapan khas Gus Dur.

Saya praktis membaca hampir semua karya tulis Gus Dur. Kolomnya buat majalah Tempo pada 1982, "Tuhan Tidak Perlu Dibela," mungkin karyanya paling populer. Tak perlu diragukan bahwa Gus Dur adalah orang yang membaca banyak, pengetahuan luas, elok dalam argumentasi.

"Gitu saja kok repot" menunjukkan ketidaksabaran, sekaligus keluasan pengetahuan, Gus Dur, disampaikan dengan humor. Layak sekali bila ia dijadikan kaos.

Pemakaman ini buka 24x7. Artinya, ia selalu ramai dikunjungi orang. Beberapa pemilik kios mengatakan mereka juga buka 24 jam. Hari ramai adalah akhir pekan, Sabtu dan Minggu, serta hari libur.

Saya kaget melihat betapa banyak orang datang ziarah ke tempat ini. Lahan parkir mungkin cukup buat 100 buah bus. Kalau satu bus rata-rata 50 penumpang, lapangan parkir ini cukup buat 5,000 orang. Sebuah kunjungan tentu tak sepanjang hari. Jadi jumlah pengunjung bisa lebih dari 5,000 pada hari libur.

Makam Gus Dur terletak dekat pagar pembatas. Persis di sudut. Ia tak diberi batu nisan. Saya diberitahu penjaga bahwa ini makam Gus Dur. Banyak orang mendekati makam, berdoa atau sekedar diam.

Ada banyak bunga diletakkan di atas makam Gus Dur. Banyaknya orang yang mendatangi makam Gus Dur, apapun motivasi mereka, menunjukkan bahwa Gus Dur memang orang luar biasa. Dia banyak berpikir soal Islam, Indonesia, demokrasi, hak asasi manusia, terutama minoritas, serta kemajuan umat manusia. Dia salah satu cendekiawan Muslim terbesar abad XX.

Kaos ini bicara soal kuburan dan kesunyian namun makam Gus Dur jauh dari kesunyian.

Kaos Gus Dur juga dijual bersama kaos Hasyim Asy'ari, kakeknya yang ikut mendirikan Nahdlatul Ulama. Juga ada kaos khas anak muda termasuk band rock.

Ia dijual dalam berbagai ukuran, warna serta harga. Pemakaman ini akhirnya juga jadi sumber penghasilan buat cukup banyak orang di sekitar Jombang. Hitungan kasar saja, dari perdagangan kaos sampai makanan, setidaknya Rp 500 juta keluar di sini. Ia belum termasuk ongkos perjalanan. Saya bersyukur bisa mengenang Gus Dur dalam perjalanan ini.


Gus Dur memang hanya menjadi Presiden Indonesia antara Oktober 1999 dan Juli 2001, tak sampai dua tahun. Dia dipecat oleh Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat karena berbeda pendapat dengan berbagai kalangan elite di Jakarta, termasuk dengan militer serta beberapa partai politik.

Namun Gus Dur memainkan peran yang jauh lebih besar pada era dimana kepercayaan dunia internasional kepada Indonesia pasca-Soeharto pada titik yang sangat rendah dengan berbagai kekerasan, dari Aceh sampai Timor Timur, dari Ambon sampai Papua. Masa yang sangat sulit namun kekuatan moral Gus Dur membuat kekerasan tersebut tak membuat Indonesia ke dalam kesulitan lebih besar lagi.