Friday, April 12, 2019

"Andreas Harsono is one of the most knowledgeable, experienced, high-profile and courageous of reporters and commentators on contemporary Indonesian society."

Monash University Publishing on Race, Islam and Power


Andreas Harsono meliput dampak dari tsunami 2014 di Aceh. Ombak raksasa tersebut membunuh lebih 100,000 orang dan mengakhiri perang selama tiga dekade antara Gerakan Acheh Merdeka dan Indonesia lewat perjanjian damai Helsinki pada Agustus 2015. ©Hotli Simanjuntak

Media dan Jurnalisme

Majalah Pantau
Saya pernah bekerja sebagai wartawan buat The Jakarta Post, The Nation (Bangkok) dan The Star (Kuala Lumpur). Pada 2000, selama delapan tahun, saya menyunting majalah Pantau soal media dan jurnalisme dari Jakarta.

Saya ikut mendirikan Aliansi Jurnalis Independen, Institut Studi Arus Informasi, South East Press Alliance (Bangkok) and Yayasan Pantau. Pada 1999-2000, saya belajar jurnalisme bersama Bill Kovach di Universitas Harvard. Saya makin sering meneliti dan menulis persoalan jurnalisme.


Buku dan Laporan

Monash University Publishing 2019
Saya menerbitkan dua antologi –Jurnalisme Sastrawi (2005) bersama Budi Setiyono dan “Agama” Saya Adalah Jurnalisme (2011)—serta beberapa laporan soal hak asasi manusia termasuk Prosecuting Political Aspiration: Indonesia’s Political Prisoners (2010) serta In Religion’s Name: Abuses Against Religious Minorities in Indonesia (2013). Pada 2019, saya menerbitkan buku Race, Islam and Power. Ia sebuah cerita perjalanan yang diramu dengan riset soal hak asasi manusia.

Hak Asasi Manusia

Filep Karma
Sejak 2008, saya bekerja sebagai peneliti buat Human Rights Watch, salah satu organisasi hak asasi manusia paling berpengaruh di dunia, dengan tanggungjawab soal Indonesia. Banyak menulis soal kebebasan beragama, kebebasan pers, prinsip non-diskriminasi.

Ia membuat saya banyak menulis soal diskriminasi terhadap minoritas agama di Indonesia: minoritas dalam Islam termasuk Ahmadiyah dan Syiah; minoritas non-Islam namun agama-agama yang dilindungi di Indonesia termasuk Protestan, Katholik, Buddha, Hindu dan Khong Hu Chu; minoritas agama kecil termasuk aliran kepercayaan maupun agama baru macam Millah Abraham.

Minoritas gender --termasuk perempuan serta LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer)-- juga sering saya bahas. Secara geografis saya juga banyak menulis minoritas etnik macam Aceh, Kalimantan, Jawa, Maluku, Timor serta Papua.

Perjalanan

Chiang Mai 2018
Saya sering menulis cerita perjalanan. Saya pernah jalan dari Sabang sampai Merauke, dari Miangas sampai Rote, lebih dari 70 lokasi di Indonesia. Saya mencatat, merekam dan menulis soal tempat menarik, kisah sedih, orang menarik ... tentu saja juga makanan.

Saya juga sering menulis perjalanan di negeri jauh, dari Eropa sampai Amerika, praktis berbagai kota besar di Asia Tenggara. Paling menarik bila berjalan seorang diri, sering memakai perjalanan buat berpikir, membaca dan berbagi.

Cerita

Blog ini juga banyak memuat cerita remeh, tapi menarik, setidaknya bagi keluarga saya, soal pengalaman hidup saya, dari kegembiraan sampai kesedihan, dari kawan sampai adik, mungkin juga musuh. Saya selalu tinggal di Pulau Jawa --Jember, Lawang, Malang, Salatiga, dan Jakarta-- namun pernah bermukim di Phnom Penh dan Cambridge. Banyak cerita muncul dari semua tempat ini. Saya menganggap diri saya "orang Jakarta." Kedua anak saya lahir di Jakarta.

Hari Imlek 2019
Isteri saya, Sapariah Saturi, kelahiran Pontianak, pindah ke Jakarta buat bekerja. Kami juga punya rumah di Pontianak.

Saya juga sering mengunjungi New York, praktis setiap tahun. Ia kota perdagangan paling besar di dunia. Mungkin kawan saya di luar Indonesia, paling banyak di kota New York. Saya juga banyak kenal sudut New York sehingga banyak cerita juga muncul dari New York.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

"Race, Islam and Power" Book Commendations

"I have long anticipated a book that gives this kind of perspective on Indonesia: half journalistic, and half exploration through various literature, woven together in a narrative resembling a travelogue. This has enabled Andreas to gaze into some frequently-overlooked corners, such as his dialogues with pilgrims visiting Sukarno’s grave, or with the step-sibling of Aceh’s charismatic leader. With this approach he has the freedom to delve into some big conflicts, such as the Indonesian revolution and the tragedy of 1965, but also local sectarian conflicts that are breaking out everywhere. It's an extraordinary testimony of the interrelationship that results when power intertwines with racial and religious sentiments."

Author Beauty Is a Wound and Man Tiger

"‘There’s never been a book so thoroughly covering various sufferings and violence in the vast Indonesian archipelago. Andreas Harsono uncovered the black veil that wraps gross human rights violations as well as religious and ethnic violence in Indonesia. He moves from one tribe to another, from Sabang to Merauke, shocking our humanity. He visited mass graves, framing them in this book. It’s about the importance of upholding human rights in governing Indonesia. His moral message is very clear, stop all violence, never again!"
Professor, Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University, Jakarta

"A masterful craft of eye-witness narration."
Professor, Monash Herb Feith Indonesian Engagement Center, Melbourne


"President Suharto’s resignation in May 1998, after three decades in power, triggered political changes in multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multilingual Indonesia. Many ethnic and religious groups demanded more of a say in their political, economic and cultural domains. Some of them became involved in bloody conflicts. Andreas Harsono captured those efforts to find a new equilibrium with his travelogue."
Australia Director, Human Rights Watch

"Andreas Harsono is a human rights defender with a deep understanding of Indonesia, spending decades in his research and writing on various mass violence. He’s often misunderstood. Many Indonesians consider him a “traitor” or “a foreign agent”. In Papua, he’s often seen to be a supporter of West Papua independence but some see him to be a “government adviser”. I have known him since 2008 when he was visiting my prison in Jayapura, writing and campaigning to release many Papuan political prisoners. He’s actually a true Indonesian patriot who wants to see Indonesia’s pimples and gangrenes to be cured. He dares to take the risk – arrests, detention even murder – to write what he believes: that Indonesia should act on these serious human rights abuses. This book is all about that."
West Papua independence activist, jailed for 11 years (2004-2015)

"Andreas Harsono is not well known to the public but he is very well known among a small network of human rights activists, dissident scholars, Indonesian journalists, and foreign correspondents. He is often the fixer behind their stories – unacknowledged, unassuming, unselfish. Now he has shown just what a superb chronicler he is in his own right."
Professor, University of New South Wales

New Book on Ethnic, Religious Violence

Government Repression and Communal Attacks in Post-Suharto Era

(Jakarta) – Political changes in post-Suharto Indonesia have triggered ethnic and religious violence across the country, says a book by Andreas Harsono, a veteran Indonesia researcher for Human Rights Watch, that was published today.

The 280-page book, Race, Islam and Power: Ethnic and Religious Violence in Post-Suharto Indonesia, was published by Monash University Publishing a week before Indonesia’s general elections on April 17, 2019. Harsono spent five years travelling around Indonesia, from the westernmost island of Sabang to its easternmost city of Merauke in West Papua, from Miangas Island in the north, near the Philippines border, to Ndana Island, near the coast of Australia. Harsono’s journey took him to more than 90 locations, including 41 small towns and 11 remote islands. Many of those locations were the sites of either state or communal violence.

“Indonesia is not only the largest country in South East Asia – but also the most populated predominantly Muslim country in the world,” said Nathan Hollier, the director of Monash University Publishing. “We hope this book will contribute to a deeper understanding of the social dynamics on the ground within this highly diverse, complex, and important nation.”

President Suharto’s momentous resignation in May 1998, after three decades in power, triggered political changes in multiethnic, multireligious, and multilingual Indonesia. Many ethnic and religious groups promptly tried to find new equilibrium, demanding more say in their political, economic, and cultural domains. Some became involved in bloody conflicts within their borders.

Harsono spent 15 years researching and writing his book, documenting how race and religion have come to be increasingly prevalent within Indonesia’s politics. He estimates that at least 90,000 people were killed in mostly communal violence in the decade after Suharto’s departure.

Today, impunity remains a huge problem in Indonesia. Many candidates for local and national office in the upcoming election, including a presidential candidate, Prabowo Subianto, and a vice presidential candidate, Ma’ruf Amin, were implicated in notorious human rights abuses but never brought to justice.

“When Andreas Harsono returned from his Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University in 2000, he introduced long-form reporting in Indonesia, writing and editing literary news reports,” said Elaine Pearson, Australia director at Human Rights Watch. “In 2008, he joined Human Rights Watch, researching human rights violations across Indonesia. He combines his literary reporting skills and human rights training in this travelogue, seamlessly integrating his visits to many mass graves with academic analysis.”

Human Rights Watch is an international organization with its head office in New York, working in nearly 100 countries, uncovering facts that create an undeniable record of human rights violations. Its staff are experts on the countries and human rights topics that they cover. Some have published books to reflect at greater length on relevant themes and events.

Monash University Publishing is the publication arm of Australia’s largest university with four campuses in Victoria (Clayton, Caulfield, Peninsula, and Parkville), one in Selangor (Malaysia), and one in Johannesburg (South Africa). Monash also has a training center in Prato (Italy), a research academy in Mumbai (India), and a collaboration with China’s Southeast University in Suzhou (China). It publishes books on humanities and social sciences, specializing in Asian Studies and the study of Australian history, culture, and literature.

The book is divided into seven chapters and an epilogue. Each chapter centers on a major island in Indonesia:

Sumatra: Aceh militants fought against Indonesian rule since 1976. Many outer islands, such as Sumatra, had to adopt Javanese culture if they wanted to get financial support from the government in Jakarta. But the devastating 2004 tsunami in Aceh, led to a peace agreement between militants and the Indonesian government, ending the three-decade conflict. Aceh also adopted Shariah (Islamic law), introducing discriminatory regulations against religious and gender minorities.

Kalimantan: In 1997, ethnic Dayak militants killed ethnic Madurese, who originally came from Madura Island. In 1999, a bigger massacre took place around Sambas, western Kalimantan, in which ethnic Malay militants killed about 3,500 Madurese settlers. In 2001, that deadly ethnic violence spread to Sampit in central Kalimantan, where Dayaks killed about 2,500 Madurese settlers.

Sulawesi: Ethnic Minahasans rebelled against Indonesia in the 1950s. This Christian-majority area has managed to avoid the sectarian violence experienced in neighboring Moluccas provinces and around Lake Poso in Central Sulawesi.

Java: Indonesia’s most populous island but also the arena where Islamists and Indonesian nationalists have battled over the philosophical basis for the country since the 1920s. The idea of formalizing Sharia took root then, resulting in discrimination against religious and gender minorities, and challenging the idea of Indonesian nationalism. After Suharto’s fall, Islamist politicians in Java revived the idea of recreating Indonesia as an Islamic state. They wanted to change the Constitution to obligate Muslims to follow Sharia, proposed bans on non-Muslim leaders in majority Muslim areas, sought greater enforcement of Sharia provisions, and pressed for nominating candidates sympathetic to Islamist objectives. Some extremist Islamists have used violence to advance their agendas, including bombings in Jakarta and Bali in 2002 and 2005 that killed hundreds of people.

The Moluccas: These islands were the scene of the bloodiest violence in post-Suharto Indonesia between 1999 and 2005. The violence took place on the islands of Ambon, Halmahera, Tidore, and Ternate, involving at least 3,000 militants from Java under the Laskar Jihad group.

Lesser Sunda Archipelago: These islands span from Timor in the east to Bali, near Java. Those living in the archipelago have experienced violence, especially in East Timor, which was under Indonesian occupation until a United Nations-organized referendum in May 2002. The Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor documented at least 102,800 deaths under Indonesian occupation.

West Papua: The history of West Papua centers on racism, human rights abuses, and the manipulation of the 1969 Act of Free Choice. The American mining company Freeport-McMoRan has long played a role that has affected conditions for indigenous people in Papua and West Papua provinces.