dinsdag 19 november 2013

Small talk about big questions: Elga Sarapung in Utrecht

Last week, 13 and 14 November 2013, Elga Sarapung was in Utrecht, on het way to the WCRP meeting in Vienna. We had a long chat about recent developments in Indonesia in the guest house of the Protestant Churches in Utrecht and a dinner with some 12 people in the house of Jootje Wawoeroentoe, in Oegstgeest. Below a picture of the tabel in the house of Jootje, with Jasper Slob besides Elga and Jootje. At Jootje'place Elga has a more structured story, telling about the half-way politics of SBY, promising defense of freedom of religion for all people, but in fact a uite selective policy of seeking the easiest way. Leaving Ahmadiyah and the strange but lively new Shi'a community in Madura seeking their own rescue, allowing Front Pembela Islam, the Muslim Maffia, to burn houses, kill people. DIAN stand for interreligious and human rights issues: for the latter she concentrated on Papua, where three meetings have taken place between the Papuan advocates of Papua Land of Peace and representatives of the army and the central government.
In a private conversation Elga gave much more details about many figures: not the great ideas, but the individual players ask for attention, because so much depends on the individual figures. She gives much more information than one easily may get from reading the Jakarta Post or UCAN on the internet, or talking with other individuals.
The wordt minister in the SBY-government is without doubt minister of religion Suryadharma, who was leader of the small Muslim party P3, and still works as if he is a party-man. He asked for the hard line against Ahmadi-believers, he only asked Shi'a people in Madura to 'return' to orthodox Sunni Islam. He does not defend the religious minorities, but only looks at his own religious family. He was a successful advocate for more money for madrasah education, not to the best development of children in poor region, as a way to their development in society, but only as a power base: more money means more jobs and a larger clientele.
Holland Taylor is a rich American who 'helped' Gus Dur and Syafii Ma'arif to write and publish the famous book Ilusi Negara Islam, but he is manipulating, building a network and power for himself and his LibforAll movement. He married a Javanese lady from the Borobudur region and lives now in Yogyakarta. Elga once was asked to have an interview with him. She had only one hour and he refused: he needed more time, but did not propose an agenda. His agenda is not really clear. Who is behind him? Is there someone behind him? CIA? It is difficult to believe that such an individual has a cultural mission (tolerance, harmony between people) for people in a foreign country and then works on his own. Elga does not know the details about him. At least it is clear that circles of Muhammadiyah and NU are now hesitant about his role and some regret the publication of the book in 2009.
Said Aqil Siraj is a good person, promotor of interreligious relation within NU, but the PKB party has been split into three fractions. Syafii Maarif has problems with his health and was for heart problems in a hospital, but is reciovering now and just left th hospital.
Heru Prakoso SJ was for a long time in Rome, where he finished his PhD. He is now finding his place and position in Indonesia. At one occasion (debate about a dissertation of a religious nun Beyond Pluralism, at Driyarkara in Jakarta, the nun is India, lives in Indonesia; concentrated on K√ľng and Husayn Nasr) he was somewhat arrogant, did not yet find the right tone. Also among the pluralists themselves it is sometimes difficult to find the right harmony. They are also just human beings!
10 December is Hari HAM, the Day of Human Rights. 013 has been declared as Tahun Kebenaran, the year of (respecting, finding, recognizing) thruth. This is sometimes difficult. For the about one million people who were killed in the aftermath of the 30 September Movement, there is still much problem to tell the turth. There is an anti-Communist movement, FAKI, Forum Anti Kommunisme Indonesia wants to continue the hard actions against 'Communists'. But there is also a Masyarakat Anti-Kekerasan in Yogyakarta: against hardline Muslims and freedom for common people to seek their own rule, right or wrong.
The Catholics often seek their own method, are afraid of losing independence while working together with others. ICRS in Yogyakarta has the cooperation of UGM, of the Muslims of UIN and the Protestants of Duta Wacana, but the Catholics do not join this international programme. Archbishop Suharyo, while still in Semarang, pushed the Catholics to cooperate in DIAN, but now in Jakarta he seeks the big hotels and is not a strong defender of human rights against all these politicians. The same must be said of Romo Benny Susetyo. It is the same with Pak Machasin who was at a party of Suryadharma, blaming Ahmadi Muslim for their own fate, and kept silent.
Relation may be complicated: Prabowo was instrumental in the position of Jokowi as Governor of Jakarta. He has a younger brother who is a Christian and is very rich, but Probowo also has a record of use of violence, of killings and manipulation.
Not only the election for a new president in 2014 is coming. There must also be a new leader of PGI, because Yewangoe has already served two periods. Who are the candidates? Not Aritonang or Gerrit Singgih are on the list, but Henriette Hutubarat Lebang (Eri), now serving at CCA in Chiangmai, is for Elga a good candidate. Another is John Ruhulessi of the Ambonese/ Moluccan Church.
It is quite peculiar to hear that Elga with many of these persons is in SMS, or now Facebook contact and follows her basic metwork of several hundred people very close.
We talked als about Din Syamsuddin and Ibu Hartati, of the Walubi, national Buddhist organization, who is now in jail for corruption. A Buddhist monk said, that this could be a time of grace for her because in prison she will be have time enough for meditation. Din Syamsuddin is in Indonesia itself not the most open person for other religions. The harsh fatwa's against pluralism were under his leadership of the MUI in 2005. But he is able to curb the hardliners within Muhammadiyah, where he takes a middle position. Outside Indonesia he is a quite different person: open, the great advocate of peace talks and interelligious harmony. So has was in Rome/Assisi, in South Korea, Busan, at the great assembly of the WCC and he will so be now at the WCRP meeting in Vienna.
His further goals?
The Indonesian Ambassador in Washington is now lobbying for SBY to become the successor of Ban Ki-Moon as general secretary of the UN. Maybe he can full this job? God knows, but Elga knows quite a lot as well.

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