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Dewi Fortuna Anwar: Muslim’s Self-Denial on Terrorism

Dewi Fortuna Anwar: Muslim’s Self-Denial on Terrorism

Prof. Dr. Dewi Fortuna Anwar is one of Indonesian leading political analyst. I came to know her name the first time when she was a spokesperson of President BJ Habibie who stayed in office between 21 May 1998-20 October 1999. The first Indonesian President after the fall of 32-year authoritarian rule of President Suharto.

I think she’s the first spokesperson of any Indonesian president whose voices (literally) being heard on BBC or CNN interviews. The first interview by BBC was the one that impressed me a lot with her eloquent expression and her way of making argument.

So, when KBRI (Indonesia embassy) New Delhi told us, Indonesian student in India, that she’d like to deliver a sort of seminar to all of us in KBRI New Delhi and we were all invited, I was very excited. Apart from us, there are some Indian intellectuals and professors of Indian universities who were attending the meeting.

I also am very glad that my friend Ahmad Qisai who just finished his PHD degree got the honor to be a co-presenter along with her; a first and rare opportunity and experience for him which he’d remember for a long time for sure.

The paper she presented before us was previously conveyed in an international conference held by an Indian instititution. It discusses the brief history of Indonesia post-independent up till now with emphasis on some major changes of policies before and after reformasi (reform) movement led by Indonesian students across the country that led to the fall of Suharto’s regime.

Some interesting points are about the government policy on Islam and terrorism and why Indonesia’s voices, as the largest Muslims country in the world, were unheard of particularly during Suharto’s regime and post-Suharto; and why the current President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono seems starting to talk a lot about Islam, which I’d post specifically later on another post.

Bush as Dangerous as Bin Laden: British Survey

Many people from the third world countries — where Muslims are in majority or not such as India– think that America under Bush and/or Republican in particular are very dangerous to the world peace as far as US foreign policy goes. But none of those the so-called third world people think that they are not alone. Therefore when the people from nations closely related with US policy like Britain think similarly as it’s obvious from the poll conducted recently and released on Friday, it comes as a real surprise.

As reported by the Guardian, UK, America is now seen as a threat to world peace by its closest neighbours and allies, according to an international survey of public opinion published on Friday that reveals just how far the country’s reputation has fallen among former supporters since the invasion of Iraq.

“Luckily” for Bush he falls short of Bin Laden in terms of causing danger to the world peace:

He is outranked by Osama bin Laden in all four countries, but runs the close in the eyes of British voters: 87 per cent think the Al-Qaeda is a great or moderate danger to peace, compared with 75 per cent who think this of Mr. Bush.

Yet, as the world only super-power, he should be “proud” of outranked Kim Jong-il of North Korea and other world leaders dubbed by him as the axis of evils and terrorists:

Mr. Bush is seen in Britain as a more dangerous man than the President of Iran (62 per cent think he is a danger), the North Korean leader (69 per cent) and the leader of Hizbollah, Hassan Nasrallah (65 per cent).

Accurately, America as a whole is also put to blame, for choosing him democratically as their leader:

In Britain, 69 per cent of those questioned say they believe U.S. policy has made the world less safe since 2001, with only 7 per cent thinking action in Iraq and Afghanistan has increased global security.

As we can see from the table, it’s not only British who think so, other US allies like Canada and and even Israel–the carte blanche recipient of US nod on anything– worried:

The finding is mirrored in America’s immediate northern and southern neighbours, Canada and Mexico, with 62 per cent of Canadians and 57 per cent of Mexicans saying the world has become more dangerous because of U.S. policy.

Even in Israel, which has long looked to America to guarantee national security, support for the U.S. has slipped. Only one in four Israeli voters say that Mr. Bush has made the world safer, outweighed by the number who think he has added to the risk of international conflict, 36 per cent to 25 per cent.

I’m a bit surprised with the finding. As a blogger who sometimes blogwalks to other world blogs, I can’t see the same feeling and thinking in some of British bloggers. Well, at least not as expressed by their expats…

AGORAVOX The Citizen Media

Fatih Syuhud contribution to Agoravox FranceA few days back, I received email from an Editor of Agoravox – the Citizen Media. It’s similar to Global Voices in which I also start contributing. The difference is while the latter is set-up by a US institution (Harvard), the former comes from France.

In his email (sorry If I make mistake in citing the gender), he explained what Agoravox is all about:

As you may know AgoraVox is a “citizen newspaper” website and it has been one of the first European initiatives of this kind. The French edition started in May, 2005 and it has already 350,000+ visitors a month and 2,500+ contributing authors. Our authors pieces have been acclaimed by numerous media here in Europe, including Yahoo! which put our daily stories on their news section, and we really intend to follow this lead with the project in English, which started earlier this year.

And he also explained why he’s interested to invite me to join the community:

I am contacting you because we really appreciate your blog and we would be very happy and honored you be part of the English edition of AgoraVox.

We very much appreciate the quality of your writing and the originality of your entries and we strongly believe your blog, and you as an author, can take part in the launch of the English version of AgoraVox. Our intent is to favor the emergence of a new kind of independant expression, by putting together the best stories written by bloggers around the world.

My immediate response to the offer was a bit confused because I’ve just joined the Global Voices and nowadays my academic activities a bit more demanding, but at the same time it’ll be stupid on my part if I refused the goodwill offer. Luckily, the editor gives me two choices, either I contribute directly or let their editors pick some entries in this blog they consider appropiate to be included in their media. For the time being, I prefer the second choice although I don’t rule out the first one later.

But all and all, I am deeply grateful to the Agoravox editorial team for trusting me and the content of my blog to join their community. I always see the more exposure of this blog in international community will not only good for me as a person, for this blog as an expression tool, but on top of this all for Indonesia and inter-cultural understanding.

I truly appreciate your efforts, the editorial team, to invite someone from Indonesia a country with the most populous Muslims in the world yet is getting very little attention from the western media except for its terrorism and natural disaster news. I hope some other Indonesians who used to blog in English can join the community to make Indonesia better known to outside world and instead of complaining the western media bias against the East why we don’t give our voices heard and let’s see what happens.

You can see some of my posts which are also published in Agoravox here.

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