donderdag 30 juni 2016

Frans Seda Lectures. Democracy as as way to designs one's own life and spirituality. Ayu Utami in Tilburg.

9 June 2016 the Frans Seda lectures were held (or should I say: celebrated?) in Tilburg, where he studies economy between 1950-1956. The series was initiated in the early 2010s. As a student of economy in Tilburg Frans Seda was really integrated in Dutch life. In his parish ha was a president of St. Mary Sodality, of the Saint Vincentius Society for the poor, but also of a students'  dispuut. The dispuut is a group where every year some 10-30 students become member. Also after graduation the alumni remain member of a dispuut. Besides informal meetings, lectures and festives meals, a dispuut also has social activities. In this case the Frans Seda Foundation was started from this group of alumni. I heard that one member of the dispuut had owned a vineyard in France, sold it and donated a quite substantial amount of money to the foundation.
The Frans Seda Foundation brings yearly some twenty young scholars (mature students, doctorandi) together. In 2014 I gave a talk at their meeting in Sint Michielsgestel under the label of "The Ten Utopias of Frans Seda" (it is found under ma postings at This year the theme was "the rise of democracy".
I gave a talk about the period 1900-1940, when education in Flores was spread by the Catholic missionaries, their pupils in the first five schools of Larantuka, Lela, Sikka and Maumere. I saw the life of Frans Seda, but also of many teachers as a way to realize a new design of life, travelling to otyher places, findings new jobs like pearl fisher, teacher, police officer, government official, member of the army, often outside Flores. Many of these teachers had to create respect for literacy, call pupils to schools, but they often found other jobs, opportunities to develop their personality.
Gerry van Klinken sketched the difficult development of democracy in Flores in the 1950s and 1960s. Jan Djong was for him a true star in the fight for more democracy against the rather authoritarian rule of Dom Thomas of Sikka. We know how much opposition he had to withstand and finally, in 1966 he was killed not because he was a terrorist or a communist, but because of the local politics that took opportunity of the army that sought victims. It caused in total the killing of at least 800 and perhaps even 2000 citizens in the region East of Maumere.
 Ayu Utami took much interest. Quite many Indonesians living in the Netherlands, had come for her. She continued her crusade aginst the (too) great influence and rigidity of the global, international religions in Indonesia and held a strong plea for more individual and personal pity, spirituality.
In her own words:
As for my own presentation, the title taken from my novel the 3M “Modern-ism/ity, Militarism, Monotheism”could be catchy enough. However, since Indonesia is leaving behind the militarism era, I would go a  bit further and talk about the “post Order” (both Old and New Order) challenges, and will focus on a set of topics I have been concentrating these last two years, which is another triad called 3R “Rasa, Reason, Religion.”
I heard some reactions from the audience. Especially quite a few from Indonesian offspring are very positive about her quite vague, but free and independent  vision of spirituality. Some Dutch comments consider it rather vague, individual and not realistic in the modern development of Islam, and also Catholicism in Indonesia where the general rules dominate and not so much individual freedom or liberal interpretation is allowed.

donderdag 2 juni 2016

Salafi and Da´wah activists to be converted at Radboud University, Nijmegen

This is the third report of a seminar at Nijmegen, Radboud University, 30 May 2016.
After a good lunch and some further individual conversations (important: we come together not just to listen to papers!), there was a third session.

Martijn de Koning is a researcher in Nijmegen in the field of Salafi activists. Now he likes to call these activists as protagonist of Da'wah. They prepare actions in a detailed way and after action they observe and stimulate the media covering of what they did. In fact terrorism had as goal to make people anxious and nervous and this is mostly not through the terrorist attack per se, but by the media covering.
After actions in Azerbayjan, Pakistan/Afghanistan, Chechnya (where activist could not really be involved in fighting), ISIS in Iraq and Syria could give activists from Europe a chance to do something in the battle field itself.
De Koning makes a distinction between three narratives: the apocalyptic, martyrdom and jihad as legitimate violence. De Koning had some forty contacts but his sources have dimished quickly in the last year. Some ten are in jail, some 15 killed in action in Syria, and most of the rest have left the ideals and became inactive.
 Martijn de Koning himself loooks more or less like a happy jihadi.
There was also a presentation of the team of the Ministry of Social Agffairs of the Netherlands, where people give trainings in methods to identify possible extremists or radicalized people. They published an Action programme for integral approach towards jihadism. It is a booklet of 36 pages, which is also available on the internet: The team cosists of 12 people who give courses and training to teachers, social workers.
Identifying possible radical citizens is difficult, more difficult is even to keep contact and try to prevent their trip to the battlefield. They also have a website:
One point of discussion was the 'poor knowledge of Islam' among people wanting to do something for Muslims. Not the objective knowledge, but the self-understanding is important.

It became clear this day, that encounters with radical Muslims arwe the most difficult field to do and to formulate as a strategy. Nevertheless the Dutch and Indonesian experts who came together this day plan a research proposal for the European Research Council in this field and hope that it may support their cooperation in the years 2017-2020.
One more impression. Left is Martijn de koning. Middle is Fitria Sari Yunianti, (Ph.D. candidate from the Ahmad Dahlan University of Yogyakarta) and right Jamilah Sailam from the Malang UIN, also a PhD student who had here their first international conference.