Tuesday, September 2, 2014

1) SEAPA urges Indon gov’t: Free 2 French journalists in Papua

1) SEAPA urges Indon gov’t: Free  2 French journalists in Papua
2) French journalists face probable trial in Indonesia after Papua arrest
3) After a Fractious Election Between Prabowo and Jokowi, Animosity Lingers
4) Daniel Alexander’s gift  of giving

1) SEAPA urges Indon gov’t: Free  2 French journalists in Papua

INDEPENDENT media organizations in Southeast Asia on Tuesday urged the government of Indonesia to immediately release two French journalists who had been arrested and jailed in Papua province on Aug. 6, 2014 or for nearly a month now.
In a statement, the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) decried the continued detention by the Indonesias police of journalists Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat.
The two were filming undercover a documentary on the restive region of Papua for the French-German TV network Arte. They are now in their fourth week of detention.
Indonesian authorities have charged Dandois and Bourrat for allegedly misusing their visas citing that they entered Indonesia with tourist visas but conducted journalism work in Papua.
Foreign journalists covering the conflict in Papua are routinely barred from entering by the Indonesian government.
SEAPA said that according to the police, Dandois, a veteran video documentary maker, was arrested in Wamena with three members of an “armed criminal gang”, government’s euphemism for the separatist Free Papua Movement (OPM). There is yet no information on how Bourrat, a videographer, was arrested, SEAPA said.
The authorities had also seized the video footage, audio recordings, and phones of the two journalists.
Papua’s provincial police have accused the two of supporting the separatists, saying “we can prove that they are not journalists.” They will reportedly face up to five years in prison and pay US$42,000 in fine.
Both journalists are now detained at the Jayapura immigration office, SEAPA said. Foreign journalists who are caught entering Papua are usually deported immediately.
“We view both the detention of Dandois and Bourat and the ongoing ban on foreign journalists in Papua as blatant violations of Indonesia’s own Press Law (U.U. 40, 1999),” SEAPA said.
The extended detention of Dandois and Bourrat without any clear legal proceedings is illegal, SEAPA stressed. “Indonesia’s authorities must make clear what charges the duo are facing and must also justify their continued detention.”
According to SEAPA. “it is important for the government of Indonesia to use the Press Law in handling the case, as it protects freedom of the press in the country, guarantees against censorship, prohibitions and restrictions of the media, and its right to access information.”
Bourrat and Dandois are established journalists who were working as members of the media at the time of their arrest. “Journalists must not be restricted from covering conflict and other sensitive topics, which is a valid ground for refusing to inform government of their mission,” SEAPA saod.
In using the visa issue as a ground for the duo’s detention, SEAPA said, “it is impractical, and more importantly, potentially restrictive for governments to require journalists visas for visiting journalists.”
SEAPA voiced support for the the letter that the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) sent on Aug, 11, 2014 to the Indonesian Press Council confirming that the detained journalists were working for recognized and reputable French media.
AJI had also requested the Indonesian Press Council to do its best to secure the release and drop the charges against both journalists.
The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, AJI, the Institute for Studies on the Free Flow of Information of Indonesia (ISAI), and the Thai Journalists Association (TJA) are founding members of SEAPA.


2) French journalists face probable trial in Indonesia after Papua arrest

The lawyer for two French journalists arrested in Indonesia’s Papua, said on Tuesday they are likely to go on trial. If convicted they face up to five years in jail. Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat were detained in early August while making a documentary in the restive eastern region, for Franco-German TV channel Arte.

They are accused of breaking immigration laws, as they did not have journalist but only tourist visas.
Indonesia is deeply sensitive about journalists covering Papua, where a low-level insurgency against the central government has been ongoing for decades. Jakarta rarely grants visas for foreigners to report independently in the region.
Foreign reporters detained for illegal reporting in Papua have in the past been swiftly deported. However Aristo Pangaribuan, the lawyer for the French journalists, said Tuesday that a trial was looking likely.
Dandois was detained at a hotel in the city of Wamena with members of separatist group the Free Papua Movement (OPM), and Bourrat was detained shortly afterwards.
The OPM has been at the forefront of the fight against the central government in the resource-rich but poor, ethnically Melanesian region.

3) After a Fractious Election Between Prabowo and Jokowi, Animosity Lingers

By Kennial Caroline Laia & Raja Humuntar on 12:35 am Sep 03, 2014
Dissatisfaction: Jokowi’s narrow win means nearly half the people who voted will have to accept a president who wasn’t their choice

Jakarta. The lingering resentment from Indonesia’s bitterly contested presidential election has for weeks now seen politicians from the camp of losing candidate Prabowo Subianto continue to wage a war of words against President-elect Joko Widodo.
But the sense of disappointment hasn’t been limited to Prabowo’s inner circle.
Nearly two months after the July 9 election, even after the official announcement of Joko’s victory — later confirmed by a Constitutional Court ruling — many grass-roots supporters and sympathizers of Prabowo remain deeply dissatisfied with the outcome, and have not been shy about expressing their bitterness and cynicism, and the occasional smear, toward the president-elect.
“Do those who supported Jokowi [in the election] repent now? Those who haven’t, hopefully they will soon,” a homemaker in Tangerang wrote on her Facebook page last week, referring to Joko by his nickname.
The post carried a link to a media report that said Joko had asked outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to raise subsidized fuel prices before the end of his term in office, so as to ease the constraints on the incoming administration’s budget.
Sites like Twitter abound with criticism of Joko. On Tuesday, for instance, a Twitter user wrote: “It’s now your call. Do you want to be led by Joko Widodo, a corruptor, a communist, a liar, and a foreign stooge?”
Another user, meanwhile, tweeted, “Let’s congratulate Jokowi on September 30, [as the] president of G30S/PKI,” referring to the alleged coup attempt blamed on the now-defunct Indonesian Communist Movement (PKI) on Sept. 30, 1965.
The weeks leading up to the presidential election were indeed marked by a seemingly concerted smear campaign against Joko, who saw his lead in the polls of more than 30 points whittled down to single digits by balloting day, particularly among conservative Muslim voters who bought into claims that he was, variously, Christian, Jewish, ethnic Chinese, a communist, and a capitalist US agent.
But even after the General Elections Commission (KPU) announced him the winner of the election with 53 percent of the vote, and after the Constitutional Court, in its final and binding verdict, rejected the Prabowo camp’s allegations of massive poll fraud, the negative sentiments toward Joko did not stop, in stark contrast to how quickly animosities subsided after the 2004 and 2009 presidential elections.
Besides the continuing wave of criticism from grassroots voters, more prominent names such as 1998 pro-democracy activist Sri Bintang Pamungkas have also continued to voice their rejection of the election results.
Sri, who in March staged a rally at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta to reject Joko’s candidacy, last week said that he intended to thwart Joko and Vice President-elect Jusuf Kalla’s inauguration at the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) on Oct. 20.
“We will collect thousands of people to occupy the MPR building [during the inauguration ceremony],” Sri said on Friday as quoted by Solopos.com.
“Besides being a puppet, Jokowi is likely an agent for the Republic of China. How could Indonesia be led by an agent and a puppet? Just by kissing the hand of the American ambassador he already looks like a real puppet,” he added.
‘Three circles’
Hamdi Muluk, a professor of political science at the University of Indonesia, noted that this year’s election differed from previous ones in the degree that it polarized the voting public.
He said Prabowo’s supporters could be grouped into “three main circles.” The first is the “hard-liners, namely the elite from the parties in Prabowo’s coalition.”
The people in this circle have a direct interest in ensuring victory for Prabowo, and their ideas have been taken into consideration in every step that Prabowo has taken, Hamdi said.
The second circle is the volunteers. They declared their support for Prabowo and persuaded others to do the same. The final circle is the sympathizers, who voted for Prabowo but did not actively attempt to sway others to also vote for him.
“When the results of the quick counts were released, the first and second circles expressed their rejection. Meanwhile, the third circle began to fall silent and tended not to speak out,” Hamdi told the Jakarta Globe.
“After the KPU’s July 22 announcement, the third circle began to take the neutral path, but the rejection by the first circle flared up, leading to increased religious and racial sentiments.
“Finally, after the ruling by the Constitutional Court and [the rejection of Prabowo’s lawsuit] by the State Administrative Court, the third circle became disappointed, especially with the non-statesmanlike attitude displayed by Prabowo. The second circle also appeared to begin to re-evaluate their own attitudes, while the first circle remain determined to continue to strive for Prabowo.”
Hamdi said the lingering rejection among some of Prabowo’s supporters at the grassroots level could be the result of mobilization by the first circle. Elites in the first circle inevitably have the money and power to mobilize the masses in their favor, he said.
‘Heal the rift’
Eva Kusuma Sundari, a legislator from Joko’s Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), also blamed the political elites from the rival camp for letting the deep resentment and dissatisfaction grow among Prabowo’s supporters.
“The key lies with the parties’ elites. They shouldn’t capitalize on [the lingering dissatisfaction]. Instead, they should motivate their supporters to ease the sentiments,” she told the Globe on Tuesday.
Eva added that the deep negativity was expected to end eventually.
“The so-called democratic festivity of the election is over. Now our job is to heal the rift among Indonesians for the sake of this nation’s unity. Any issues related to smear campaigns must be eliminated. They shouldn’t continue, they must be stopped,” she said.
“It is now up to the politicians of this country to show statesmanship to unite our people,” she added.
Hanta Yudha, the director of the Pol-Tracking Institute, a political think tank, echoed the statements, saying the elites played a significant role in ending this issue that had polarized Indonesians.
“Things like smear campaigns are inevitable in a democratic country like Indonesia. The continuing smears on social media are a form of dissatisfaction from Prabowo’s supporters,” he said. “However, rather than continuing to badmouth Joko and not move on, it’s better for our people to get engaged by monitoring the incoming government’s performance in implementing policies and fulfilling campaign promises. That’s surely more important.”
Hanta said he expected the smear campaigns to gradually diminish after Joko’s government began working.
“I’m quite sure that such sentiments in social media will die down, especially after the cabinet is formed. There will likely be parties from [Prabowo’s] Merah Putih coalition jumping ship to Joko’s camp.”
He added that Joko and his transition team shouldn’t have to spend time and energy addressing criticism of the president-elect, but rather focus on forming the cabinet and managing the priority list of programs.
But the “first circle” of Prabowo supporters appear unwilling to give up, announcing that they were seeking a judicial review with the Supreme Court of a KPU regulation “that we consider to be a violation of [a higher] law,” Didi Supriyanto, a lawyer for the campaign team, said as quoted by Okezone.com.
The motion is expected to be in vain, given that the Constitutional Court, and not the Supreme Court, is the sole arbiter of election disputes. With their options at the judiciary seemingly exhausted, members of Prabowo’s coalition are now turning to the legislative branch of government by pushing to set up a special committee at the House of Representatives to look into allegations of electoral fraud.
Golkar Party politician Agun Sudarsa said setting up the committee would be the best way to ease the sense of dissatisfaction plaguing the camp.
“The Constitutional Court had little time to thoroughly study all the documents, so [the ruling upholding Joko’s victory] is not substantial. The House committee will be able [to seek] substantial justice, without a deadline,” he said on Friday, as quoted by JPNN.com.
4) Daniel Alexander’s gift  of giving

Harry Bhaskara, Contributor, Brisbane | People | Tue, September 02 2014, 11:00 AM
How can a river contain so much water when its upstream spring is just a trickle?
This question was in Daniel Alexander’s mind when he traversed the great Mahakam River in East Kalimantan many years ago.

After tracking the 1,000 kilometer-long river to its primary water spring, he found the answer that was to become his life philosophy.

The spring inspired him to turn his life into an act of giving. His choice was to give education to less-privileged children in Papua under the aegis of the Pesat Foundation.

Starting with one school in Nabire 20 years ago, the foundation now has dozens of schools spanning 11 provinces.

“Eighty percent of the schools adopt a free education system,” Daniel recently told a group of 40 Indonesian students at a Griffith University campus in Brisbane.

So how did all of this happen?

“The water spring taught me to keep enough to support my family. I returned the rest to the community through the school program,” said the educator-cum-social worker.

The explained that the trickle of water from the upstream spring received additional water from other springs as it headed out to sea. More water came from the river’s tributaries and from the rain, swelling the volume of water that made the river, Daniel said.

The lesson was, he said, whatever is given back to the community, it will only grow manifold.

“A hundred years from now, nobody will ask you how much money you have or what kind of car are you driving. Instead, people will ask what you have done for others,” said Daniel, who was born in the East Java capital of Surabaya in 1956.

Anjar, a PhD student in environmental science, said she was fascinated by the analogy. “I never thought that way,” she says, ”although I often scaled rivers as part of my research.”

Daniel asked his campus audience what would happen if the spring and the tributaries refused to give water back to the river?

“Floods will occur,” the students replied.

Daniel said: “The most difficult thing to say in this world is to say ‘I have enough’. The failure to say ‘I have enough’ is the biggest sin of humanity.”

According to him, many people felt they never had enough and kept on adding to whatever they had accumulated.

He viewed floods as a metaphor for a world abundant with promises of wealth.

His practice of giving back has won him the attention of thousands of students over the years.

“Six of them now have doctoral degrees. Hundreds of them are university graduates,” said Daniel who first went to Papua in 1993.

Born into a poor family, Daniel grew up with a determination to lessen the suffering of others. He worked his way up to eventually study and live in Australia, which he did from 1985 before moving to Papua.

Asked why he chose Papua as his starting point, he said he found the contrasts in the eastern-most province of Indonesia to be unbearable.

“The province is so rich and yet the people are so poor,” Daniel said.

A student asked if he had ever burned out in his 20 years work.

“Never. On the contrary, I get more spirited from one day to another,” he said.

However, in one of the poorest regions of Indonesia, offering an opportunity for children to go to school is barely enough.

The offer has to be complimented with an assurance that the children will have good food to sustain their health.

Another challenge is to introduce the culture of learning in a community where schooling is an alien concept. Parents often do not believe in education and prefer their children to work.

Daniel chose to set up a dormitory, with children between the ages of four and seven from around Nabire comprising the first batch of students.

Daniel said he believed children had talent from the day they were born.

“Children are like arrows that are longing for the care and love of their parents,” he said.

He believed no child was born evil, echoing the ideas of world-renowned author and educator Dorothy Nolte.

“Only bad environments and bad upbringings turn a child evil,” he said.

This was the reason why, he said, he often went to prisons to ask whether the inmates had children.

“The chances are that these kids have stopped going to school because their imprisoned parents can’t afford to pay the school fees,” he said.

In that case, he said, the foundation would take care of them.

Daniel said he was a regular visitor to about 40 percent of prisons in Indonesia.

“Once I was summoned by the Law and Human Rights Ministry. It turned out that they only wanted to see me because my name was often being mentioned by many prison staff,” he laughed. 

His penchant for visiting prisons earned him the nickname “the collector of nasty people” among his colleagues, as those he usually helped out were drug users and repeat offenders. He even became a victim of theft a day after he brought one freed prisoner home.

“I lost everything, including my new laptop and camera, but never mind. I took it easy,” he said casually as if it was not a big deal.

Daniel lives in Nabire with his wife Lucy Luise Tanudjaja, an Indonesian who lived in Canada before her marriage to Daniel. The couple is childless.

“I married late,” he said. “It was not easy to find someone who liked to live in a remote area. Perhaps this is the reason we are childless, but I have thousands of kids now.”

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