Suharto, the Model Killer, and His Friends in High Places

Suharto, the Model Killer, and His Friends in High Places

by John Pilger

In my film Death of a Nation, there is a sequence filmed on board an Australian aircraft flying over the island of Timor. A party is in progress, and two men in suits are toasting each other in champagne. “This is an historically unique moment,” says one of them, “that is truly uniquely historical.” This is Gareth Evans, Australia’s foreign minister. The other man is Ali Alatas, principal mouthpiece of the Indonesian dictator, Gen. Suharto. It is 1989, and the two are making a grotesquely symbolic flight to celebrate the signing of a treaty that allowed Australia and the international oil and gas companies to exploit the seabed off East Timor, then illegally and viciously occupied by Suharto. The prize, according to Evans, was “zillions of dollars.”

Beneath them lay a land of crosses: great black crosses etched against the sky, crosses on peaks, crosses in tiers on the hillsides. Filming clandestinely in East Timor, I would walk into the scrub and there were the crosses. They littered the earth and crowded the eye. In 1993, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Australian Parliament reported that “at least 200,000” had died under Indonesia’s occupation: almost a third of the population. And yet East Timor’s horror, which was foretold and nurtured by the U.S., Britain, and Australia, was actually a sequel. “No single American action in the period after 1945,” wrote the historian Gabriel Kolko, “was as bloodthirsty as its role in Indonesia, for it tried to initiate the massacre.” He was referring to Suharto’s seizure of power in 1965-1966, which caused the violent deaths of up to a million people.

To understand the significance of Suharto, who died on Sunday, is to look beneath the surface of the current world order: the so-called global economy and the ruthless cynicism of those who run it. Suharto was our model mass murderer – “our” is used here advisedly. “One of our very best and most valuable friends,” Thatcher called him, speaking for the West. For three decades, the Australian, U.S., and British governments worked tirelessly to minimize the crimes of Suharto’s Gestapo, known as Kopassus, who were trained by the Australian SAS and the British army and who gunned down people with British-supplied Heckler and Koch machine guns from British-supplied Tactica “riot control” vehicles. Prevented by Congress from supplying arms directly, U.S. administrations from Gerald Ford to Bill Clinton provided logistic support through the back door and commercial preferences. In one year, the British Department of Trade provided almost a billion pounds worth of so-called soft loans, which allowed Suharto to buy Hawk fighter-bombers. The British taxpayer paid the bill for aircraft that dive-bombed East Timorese villages, and the arms industry reaped the profits. However, the Australians distinguished themselves as the most obsequious. In an infamous cable to Canberra, Richard Woolcott, Australia’s ambassador to Jakarta, who had been forewarned about Suharto’s invasion of East Timor, wrote: “What Indonesia now looks to from Australia … is some understanding of their attitude and possible action to assist public understanding in Australia….” Covering up Suharto’s crimes became a career for those like Woolcott, while “understanding” the mass murderer came in buckets. This left an indelible stain on the reformist government of Gough Whitlam following the cold-blooded killing of two Australian TV crews by Suharto’s troops during the invasion of East Timor. “We know your people love you,” Bob Hawke told the dictator. His successor, Paul Keating, famously regarded the tyrant as a father figure. When Indonesian troops slaughtered at least 200 people in the Santa Cruz cemetery in Dili, East Timor, and Australian mourners planted crosses outside the Indonesian embassy in Canberra, foreign minister Gareth Evans ordered them destroyed. To Evans, ever-effusive in his support for the regime, the massacre was merely an “aberration. ” This was the view of much of the Australian press, especially that controlled by Rupert Murdoch, whose local retainer, Paul Kelly, led a group of leading newspaper editors to Jakarta, fawn before the dictator.

Here lies a clue as to why Suharto, unlike Saddam Hussein, died not on the gallows but surrounded by the finest medical team his secret billions could buy. Ralph McGehee, a senior CIA operations officer in the 1960s, describes the terror of Suharto’s takeover of Indonesia as “the model operation” for the American-backed coup that got rid of Salvador Allende in Chile seven years later. “The CIA forged a document purporting to reveal a leftist plot to murder Chilean military leaders,” he wrote, “[just like] what happened in Indonesia in 1965.” The U.S. embassy in Jakarta supplied Suharto with a “zap list” of Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) members and crossed off the names when they were killed or captured. Roland Challis, the BBC’s south east Asia correspondent at the time, told me how the British government was secretly involved in this slaughter. “British warships escorted a ship full of Indonesian troops down the Malacca Straits so they could take part in the terrible holocaust,” he said. “I and other correspondents were unaware of this at the time…. There was a deal, you see.”

The deal was that Indonesia under Suharto would offer up what Richard Nixon had called “the richest hoard of natural resources, the greatest prize in southeast Asia.” In November 1967, the greatest prize was handed out at a remarkable three-day conference sponsored by the Time-Life Corporation in Geneva. Led by David Rockefeller, all the corporate giants were represented: the major oil companies and banks, General Motors, Imperial Chemical Industries, British American Tobacco, Siemens, U.S. Steel, and many others. Across the table sat Suharto’s U.S.-trained economists who agreed to the corporate takeover of their country, sector by sector. The Freeport company got a mountain of copper in West Papua. A U.S./ European consortium got the nickel. The giant Alcoa company got the biggest slice of Indonesia’s bauxite. America, Japanese, and French companies got the tropical forests of Sumatra. When the plunder was complete, President Lyndon Johnson sent his congratulations on “a magnificent story of opportunity seen and promise awakened.” Thirty years later, with the genocide in East Timor also complete, the World Bank described the Suharto dictatorship as a “model pupil.”

Shortly before he died, I interviewed Alan Clark, who under Thatcher was Britain’s minister responsible for supplying Suharto with most of his weapons. I asked him, “Did it bother you personally that you were causing such mayhem and human suffering?”

“No, not in the slightest,” he replied. “It never entered my head.”

“I ask the question because I read you are a vegetarian and are seriously concerned with the way animals are killed.”

“Yeah?”

“Doesn’t that concern extend to humans?”

“Curiously not.”

Source: http://www.antiwar. com/pilger/ ?articleid= 12279 January 28, 2008

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Australians advised to stop seeing Indonesia as “abnormal country”

05/27/08 21:05

Australians advised to stop seeing Indonesia as “abnormal country”


Brisbane (ANTARA News) – The Canberra-based Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) on Tuesday launched its latest research report urging the Australian public and policymakers to see democratic Indonesia as “a normal country”.

The report titled “Seeing Indonesia as a normal country: Implications for Australia ” contained the findings of research conducted by two noted Indonesian affairs analysts, Professor Andrew MacIntyre and Dr Douglas E Ramage.

MacIntyre and E.Ramage said Australia needs to understand the new stable landscape of Indonesia as a result of positive changes that it has made as a more democratic and pluralistic country.

“Thinking of Indonesia as a `normal` country allows us to see it through new eyes. It`s a useful analytical lens that lets us see some new opportunities and imperatives, ” they said.

Present-day Indonesia was a stable, competitive electoral democracy which was playing a constructive role in the regional and broader international community, they said.

In the 68-page report, they made a number of specific policy recommendations to Australia , such as a new approach to engagement with the military and a geographic shift within the country of its development assistance programs.

“We now know what Indonesia is probably going to look like over the next decade. In the absence of radical disjuncture, Indonesia will be a middle‑income developing country making slow headway in lifting living standards and consolidating democratic governance,” they said.

As citizens of a lively democracy, Indonesians shared important political values with Australians, MacIntyre and E.Ramage said.

“This is good news, but it`s also very probable that neither Indonesia`s circumstances nor its bilateral relationship with Australia will become dramatically better over the next five to ten years. Although it would be better if Indonesia`s economy grew faster than we see today, and its democratic consolidation and governance reform advanced more strongly, those things are unlikely to happen.”

The current trajectory was likely to be as good as it would get over the next decade or so, they said.

With regard to Indonesian leaders, MacIntyre and E.Ramage said incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono`s record of leadership remained the best and was “unlikely to be beaten” over the next decade though his achievements were under appreciated.

Despite the need for Australia to see Indonesia through new eyes, it would also remain important to recall old insights. One of the oldest remains that the Australian policymakers should grasp was “the fundamental pluralism of Indonesia “, they said.

The fundamental pluralism of Indonesia was even a very old truth whose age was much older than the Republic of Indonesia and even the Netherlands East Indies.

” Indonesia has always been a fundamentally pluralist society; its geography and history ensure this. There have been some terrible and deadly exceptions, but pluralism remains the bedrock fact of Indonesian society,” they said.

The argument of pluralistic Indonesia needs to be re-emphasized because of two main reasons. The first reason was that Australians have lost sight of it in recent years and suspected the emergence of militancy and zealotry in the archipelago and the second was the fact that the new democratic world of `normal Indonesia , its underlying social diversity would be “the foundation of pluralistic politics”, they said.

In response to the ASPI`s research report, spokesperson of the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra, Dino Kusnadi, said it did not only raise a new hope for Australia to have a new lens in seeing Indonesia but it was also a confirmation for what Ambassador Hamzah Thayeb had consistently and repeatedly conveyed about the New Indonesia to the Australian public since he was posted in Canberra.

Prof.Andrew MacIntyre`s and Dr.Douglas E Ramage`s research findings had confirmed the truth of Ambassador Hamzah Thayeb`s consistent statements on vibrant and democratic Indonesia, he said.

Thus, in facing the New Indonesia, Australians need to update their ways and change their old yardstick, Kusnadi said.

Andrew MacIntyre is professor of political science and director of the Australian National University`s Crawford School of Economics and Government, while Dr. Douglas E Ramage is the Asia Foundation`s Country Representative in Indonesia.

ASPI is an independent, non-partisan policy institute. The Canberra-based research center was founded by the Australian government to provide fresh ideas on the country`s defense and strategic policy choices. (*)

COPYRIGHT © 2008

http://www.antara. co.id/en/ arc/2008/ 5/27/australians -advised- to-stop-seeing- indonesia- as-abnormal- country/

 

 

It’s improving, but there’s a long way to go

 

YESTERDAY’S release of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s report Seeing Indonesia as a Normal Country is timely, coming 10 years after the overthrow of the Suharto regime and just ahead of Kevin Rudd’s visit to Jakarta next month. By mapping the progress made over the past decade, the authors lay to rest some of the alarmist reporting about Indonesia as a breeding ground for Islamic fundamentalism and a nation struggling to control multiple separatist movements. But the title of the report is misleading. Though Indonesia is in no danger of becoming a failed state, it doesn’t serve anyone’s policy objectives to pretend that Indonesia should be seen as “normal” – whatever “normal” means in the context of international relations.

Indonesia has made remarkable progress towards becoming a more open, democratic and economically advanced society. The stifling uniformity of Suharto’s New Order has gone, but the same old elite still controls many levers of political and economic power. As the report acknowledges, Indonesia suffers from “globally chart-topping levels of corruption”. Judicial reform has been “often piecemeal and highly uneven”. Bowing to political pressure, courts often fail to uphold convictions of senior officials. Human rights violators often go unpunished. Rampant corruption, the weak application of the rule of law and regulatory uncertainty have been deterrents to foreign direct investment. Though inflows have picked up, Southeast Asia ‘s largest economy attracted only $US10.3billion in FDI last year. By comparison, China approved $US35billion in FDI in the first four months of this year. Half of Indonesia ‘s population lives on less than $US2 a day, with as many Indonesians living in poverty as the rest of East Asia put together, excluding China . In a country of more than 220 million people the number of taxpayers stands at a paltry 3.3 million. Despite forecasts of economic growth reaching 7 per cent this year, Indonesia still lags well behind the other tiger economies of Asia such as Vietnam , China and India . Unemployment hovers around 10 per cent. Government spending on health and education relative to GDP is lower than in most other Asian countries.

The debate over whether Indonesia should be seen as a normal country masks more important policy issues for Australia . Our shared concerns for maintaining security and promoting economic prosperity require Australia to maintain a close and constructive relationship with all levels of the Indonesian Government. The Rudd Government’s foreign policy priorities, particularly the new emphasis being given to China at the expense of our traditional allies such as Japan and India , have yet to be fully understood in the region. Engaging with Indonesia requires appreciating its complexities, sensitivities and vulnerabilities. Pretending things are normal risks misreading the inner workings of our most important neighbour.

http://www.theaustr alian.news. com.au/story/ 0,25197,23769458 -25209,00. html

 

US Military’s Middle East Crusade for Christ

US Military’s Middle East Crusade for Christ

by Robert Weitzel

“They are proselytizing not on behalf of the Constitution of the United States . . . but rather on behalf of some sort of fanatical view of end times. And they are using our army to affect that.” -Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson

Last August the watchdog group Military Religious Freedom Foundation foiled a Pentagon plan that would have allowed the shipment of “freedom packages” to soldiers and Marines in Iraq. The parcels were put together by the fundamentalist Christian ministry, Straight Up, and contained Bibles, proselytizing tracts in English and Arabic, and the apocalyptic “Left Behind” computer game, in which Christian Tribulation forces convert or kill infidels-nonbelieve rs, Muslims and Jews.

On May 1 the Senate approved the promotion of Brigadier General Robert L. Caslen Jr. to Major General. Currently the commandant of cadets at West Point, he will become the commander of the 25th Infantry Division. He is also president of the stridently fundamentalist Officer’s Christian Fellowship, whose vision is a “spiritually transformed military, with ambassadors for Christ in uniform, empowered by the Holy Spirit.”

General Caslen was promoted despite the Defense Department’s recommended disciplinary action against him and several other senior military leaders because they had “improperly endorsed and participated with a nonfederal entity while in uniform” by participating in a promotional video for the Campus Crusade For Christ’s Christian Embassy, an evangelical organization that ministers to Beltway politicians and sponsors weekly Bible studies at the Pentagon.

According to the DoD Inspector General’s report, one of the generals involved “asserted that Christian Embassy was treated as an instrumentality of the Pentagon Chaplain’s office for over 25 years, and had effectively become a ‘quasi federal entity.’” Arguably, he believed his participation in the video was in the line of duty.

Considering both the Pentagon’s evangelical proclivity and a 2006 Pew survey which found that of the major religious groups in America, evangelicals have the most negative views of Islam and Muslims, the U.S. sniper who was recently caught using the Quran for target practice in the Baghdad neighborhood of Radhwaniya might be excused for thinking the book was a legitimate target upon which to perfect his craft . . . excused for thinking he was acting in the line duty.

And is it any wonder that with evangelicals and fundamentalists at the very top of the military’s officer corps — to say nothing of their Commander in Chief — that an enlisted Marine was passing out Christian “witnessing coins” inscribed in Arabic at a checkpoint in Fallujah? One side of the coin asked, “Where will you spend eternity?” An evangelical favorite, John 3:16, was on the flip side.

Sheik Adul-Rahman al-Zubaie, a tribal leader in Fallujah who was outraged by the Marine’s proselytizing said, “This event did not happen by chance, but it was planned and done intentionally.”

While the Marine’s proselytizing is not the official policy of the predominately Christian force occupying the predominately Islamic Iraq, it was done “in the line of duty” with a wink and a nod from his chain of command. Think Abu Ghraib!

From Fort Jackson, the Army’s largest basic training facility, where trainees are encouraged to attend Campus Crusade’s weekly “God’s Basic Training” programs, to the U.S. Air Force Academy where students are pressured to attend the Crusade’s weekly “cru” (short for crusade) Bible study, American military personnel are, as Campus Crusade’s Scot Blom gloats, “government paid missionaries” when they complete their training.

As the demands of fighting a perpetual war against “radical Islam” begins to strain both the military’s resources and the country’s resolve, the Pentagon has begun outsourcing larger chunks of the war to private contractors. Predictably, our “government paid missionaries” have become more expensive and much less controllable or accountable.

The Bush administration’s favorite contractor, Blackwater, is the most powerful private army in the world. It commands thousands of mercenaries in Iraq and Afghanistan, has over a billion dollars in government contracts, and enjoys complete immunity from prosecution for its theater of operations’ conduct.

Blackwater’s founder, Erik Prince, a staunchly conservative Catholic, has also served on the board of directors of Christian Freedom International, a crusading missionary organization operating in the overwhelmingly Islamic countries of Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq. Prince envisions an evangelical “end time” role for his warriors: “Everybody carries guns, just like Jeremiah rebuilding the temple in Israel — a sword in one hand and a trowel in the other.”

No one in the last decade has contributed more to end time, apocalyptic evangelism than John Hagee, a televangelist seen by millions of viewers weekly and pastor of the 19,000-member Cornerstone Church. Hagee preaches that in order to bring about the Second Coming of Christ and the Rapture of true believers, Islam first has to be destroyed.

In a 2006 interview with National Public Radio’s Terry Gross, Hagee told her, “Those who live by the Quran have a scriptural mandate to kill Christians and Jews.” He went on to claim that there are 200 million Muslims waiting for the chance to attack Israel and the United States. From his pulpit, Hagee makes it clear to his congregation and the radio and television audience what they can expect from American Muslims if such an attack ever took place: “While American Muslims live in America, 82 percent are not loyal to America and are not willing to fight and defend America.”

In his book, “Jerusalem Countdown – A Warning to the World,” Hagee warns that the war between Islam and the West “is a war that Islam cannot and must not win.”

John Hagee is not just a mad evangelizing prophet. He is the mad evangelizing prophet who is courted by a war president, a hawkish presidential candidate and members of Congress from both parties. His Islamophobic bilge has trickled down from Capital Hill, through the labyrinthine corridors of the Pentagon, and into the chamber of a sniper’s rifle and the hand of a Marine guarding a checkpoint in Fallujah.

Officers in the military are expected to lead by example. Enlisted personnel are expected to follow that example. If the recent incidents at Radhwaniya and Fallujah are not just the acts of renegades, then the chain of command seems to be working the way it was designed.

Robert Weitzel is a contributing editor to Media With a Conscience. His essays regularly appear in The Capital Times in Madison, WI. He can be contacted at: robertweitzel@ mac.com

 

http://www.commondr eams.org/ archive/2008/ 06/09/9510/

Hard-liners ambush Monas rally

The Jakarta Post ,  Jakarta   |  Mon, 06/02/2008 10:20 AM  |  Headlines

Members of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) attacked activists at the National Monument (Monas) in Central Jakarta on Sunday afternoon, leaving 34 injured.

National Alliance for the Freedom of Faith and Religion (AKKBB) activists had entered the Monas area to commemorate the 63rd year of Pancasila state ideology, when they were confronted and beaten by FPI members, Adj. Sr. Comr. Suharna of the Jakarta Police told The Jakarta Post.

“We had warned the alliance about a possible clash with Islamic groups who would be staging a protest against the fuel price increases at the same time, but they insisted on going anyway,” he said.

The AKKBB earlier announced the event to the public through newspapers, saying they endorsed pluralism and urged everybody not to be intimidated by people who threatened practitioners of different beliefs, as in the case of the Ahmadiyah Islamic sect.

Thousands of Ahmadiyah followers in the country have lived under threat after the sect was declared blasphemous by several hard-line groups.

“We were warned by the police that the Hizbut Tahrir Islamic group would also be holding a protest here but we did not know that FPI members would be among them,” AKKBB event coordinator Nong Darol said.

She said that after being warned, the alliance decided to hold the event for only an hour at Monas and then march on to the Hotel Indonesian traffic circle.

“We were shocked when FPI members chased and beat us with bamboo sticks, mostly those who were already inside Monas. We ran away but they had already hurt many people,” she said.

When contacted, Nong was accompanying Mohammad Guntur Romli to surgery at Army Central Hospital in Central Jakarta. Guntur’s cheek bone was fractured by blows from FPI members wielding sticks.

FPI spokesman Munarman told radio reporters the incident was in reaction to the alliance’s offensive statement in several newspapers last Tuesday.

Abdurrohman Djailani of the FPI said the group would be available for a press conference at its headquarters in Petamburan, West Jakarta, on Monday.

No one was arrested in the incident. Jakarta Police chief Sr. Comr. Budi Winarko told reporters he would arrest perpetrators beginning Monday.

“Arresting them at the scene would have worsened the situation as it could have triggered bigger riots. We have already gotten video tape evidence from reporters and will arrest them in the following days,” he said.

He said 1,200 police officers were at the scene when the clash occurred.

The attack was quickly condemned by human rights activists, politicians and Muslim organizations Muhammadiyah and Nahdatul Ulama (NU).

“The NU opposes any violence for any reason. There is no religious justification that tolerates violent actions. I urge the government to immediately take proper measures against the perpetrators. If the state ignores this case, its authority will be destroyed and more anarchy will emerge,” Masdar Farid Masudi of the NU said.

Din Syamsudin, chairman of the country’s second-largest Muslim organization Muhammadiyah, voiced similar concerns.

“This action is not in line with Islamic teachings and will tarnish Islam’s image. It is a crime that must be prosecuted. I hope everyone can control him or herself and avoid violence and anarchism,” he said.

The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) also condemned the attack, saying it urged President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to turn his attention to the incident and asking the police to arrest FPI members involved in the violence. (ind/alf)

Indonesia’s fragile diversity

Indonesia’s fragile diversity
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 

The bloody sectarian conflict in Maluku first erupted in 1999 [EPA]

Parts of Indonesia descended into religious violence right after Suharto’s fall.

 

Ten years on, the country is now enjoying a relative religious harmony but frictions remain in some pockets.

 

In fact, the International Crisis Group says communal tensions represent the biggest danger to peace in Indonesia in its recent report.

 

Al Jazeera’s Step Vaessen travels to Maluku province for a closer look.

 

 

Wounds barely healed, there is grief again in the remote Indonesian province of Maluku .

 

 

The wife and 6-year-old granddaughter of Jance Patiasina could not escape when they came under attack by a gang from a nearby village.

 

“My wife ran out of the house holding our granddaughter in her arms,” he recalls. “They we both butchered to death with knives cutting off parts of their heads.”

 

Three churches and more than 60 houses were burned down – the attack triggered by a dispute over land ownership between neighbouring Christian and Muslim villagers.

 

The brutality of the attack has brought back painful memories of the bloody sectarian conflict that first rocked Maluku in 1999.

 

For centuries Muslim and Christian communities had lived peacefully side-by-side in what were once known as the Spice Islands .

 

Traffic trigger

 

But in 1999 a minor traffic accident in the provincial capital, Ambon , triggered bloody clashes that quickly escalated and spread across the province.

 

Over the following four years more than 10,000 people were killed.

 

Jance Patiasina lost his wife and
granddaughter to attackers

An unpublished investigation report obtained by Al Jazeera says the Indonesian military played an important role in stirring up the violence.

 

The clashes were a stark illustration of the fragility of the Indonesian nation.

 

Stretching across 13,000 islands, Indonesia is one of the most diverse countries in the world, encompassing more 300 ethnic groups who speak 365 different languages.

 

While the national motto is “unity in diversity”, when clashes do break out that unity can be tested to its limits.

 

In 2003 a peace deal finally brought an uneasy end to the bloodshed in Maluku.

 

Now Muslims and Christians mix once again on the streets of Maluku and in busy markets across the province.

 

The city of Ambon – at one time a battleground for Muslim and Christian gangs – has been rebuilt. Bullet holes in the walls bear silent witnesses to a traumatic past.

 

Fragile peace

 

Peace may have returned, but the scars of the conflict are still fresh.

 

In an effort to prevent the conflict from starting again, humanitarian organisations have introduced what they call an early warning system.

 

Christians and Muslims play football
together to help promote peace

“Peace is still fragile, our wounds are not cured yet,” says Ikhsan Tualeka, a local social worker.

 

“We have to watch out for early signs of fresh resentment to prevent violence from happening again.”

 

To help break down boundaries a special team of football players has been formed.

 

Nine Muslims and nine Christians play together in what team member Jeffrey Nashir says is an example to the rest of the country that religious harmony is possible.

 

“We want to become an example for the rest of Indonesia that we can live in peace together, Muslims and Christians, like we always have,” he says.

 

But Jance Patiasina will need more time before he can face his Muslim neighbours again.

 

“I thought those attackers were my friends,” he says. “I don’t understand why they did this to my wife and granddaughter. “

 

So far the attack on Jance’s village has proved to be an isolated incident and the peace process, while strained, remains intact.

 

But nobody in the village understands why more was not done to prevent Muslims and Christians from attacking each other again.

 

With religious harmony threatened once again, the government will have to do everything it can to make sure that this conflict between a Christian and Muslim village is contained soon.

 
 

Source: Al Jazeera http://english. aljazeera. net/NR/exeres/ 1D2A3373- 1E3C-4D40- 87A2-7D3EFCDC849 0.htm

Benedict XVI and Future Hope

Pope  Benedict XVI will visits USA on April 15-20, 2008. Benedict XVI will disembark with a message to strengthen the faith, hope and love of U.S. Catholics, said one of the nation’s bishops.

“He is not just another player in a global game of power politics,” Bishop Wenski continued. “He is not a politician but the Bishop of Rome and the universal pastor of the Catholic Church. This is not to say that he does not have his pulse on the world. […] Benedict XVI will address the U.N. as a religious leader, a moral leader — but a uniquely informed one. And just as he will have something to say to Catholics, he will have something to say to the U.N. and the world”, as Zenit quoted.

“Much of the turbulence in world politics today stems from the detachment of faith from reason and the loss of faith in reason,” the prelate contended. “Like John Paul II before him, he will draw upon his faith to defend reason. In doing so, this Pope who began his career as a professor, will no doubt reintroduce world leaders to the universal moral law.

“This law written on the human heart and therefore knowable to human reason constitutes that ‘grammar’ of dialogue necessary for men and nations to build together a future of hope.”

I hope that pope will be a strong religious leader with strong moral law. He should keep a better dialogue with other religions without lost of the truth of Catholic teachings.  If we try to view world globally, the world really need a strong leader with strong virtues. God bless the pope. (Pormadi/ Zenit.org)

Responses to ‘Fitna’ film

Geert Wilders is a die-hard masochist who enjoys dispensing “Dutch treat”.
NENNETH CHEN
Jakarta

Muslims only wonder why Wilders disrupts the quiet of others while he is never interrupted. I think he is just seeking fame for himself by sacrificing the peace. Congratulation, Wilders. See you in hell.
HM SABAR SS PRAYA
Jakarta

In fact the protests against the anti-Islam film have been going on not only at Jakarta’s Dutch Embassy but also at the Dutch Consulate in Medan.

It is not a matter of maturity or immaturity of Indonesian Muslims, but the feeling of togetherness and brotherhood with Westerners, mainly Europeans, as a part of the global community that should be maintained.

The incorrect opinion on Islam must be buried to create a global life of harmony.
ABDUL RAHIM
Tangerang, Banten

The less violent protests against Fitna do not indicate the growing maturity of Indonesian Muslims. It indicates the growing faithless of them.
RIZWAN DARMAWAN
Bandung

Being a Muslim, I hate people who humiliate Islam without any knowledge about it. Fitna is mockery, reflecting the producer’s madness for popularity.
SUYADI
Jambi

I’m a Christian and absolutely condemn Fitna as made based on like and dislike. I hope Muslim clerics still continue to give cool and fresh sermons (da’wah).
L.L. BIE
Purwodadi, Central Java

I think Fitna will hurt Muslims and it may spark conflicts.
SETYO DEWI UTARI
Bandung

The government bans Fitna, but Ahmadiyah followers in many areas like Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara and Kuningan, West Java, still get harassed even by officials of local governments.
RIKA
Jakarta

Until now, seven mosques belonging to Ahmadiyah Muslims, located in Kuningan, West Java, are still closed by the local government, claiming for the sake of safety.

It is ridiculous. While the government and Muslims in this country condemn the film Fitna, they still allow violence against Ahmadiyah followers.
GUNAWAN AHMAD
Tangerang

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/node/165689