Indonesia this morning
January 1, 2010
Fifi Aleyda Yahya: What is your lasting impression of Gus Dur?
Wimar Witoelar; Well, on this New Year's Day we also remember that this is the start of a decade.What strikes me now is that we are starting to reap the fruits of his efforts.
Fifi: Which are?
Wimar: First of all, if you were Chinese then you must remember that ten years ago you could not walk free with your head held high.. you could not celebrate Chinese New Year nor could you carry a Chinese name. If you were Christian or Catholic you would tremble whenever you had a ceremony in church. And the elections which we held, of which we are very proud in the world, are the fruits of our democracy. Also, the fact that the military are now law-abiding and very good citizens are the fruits of reform. Gus Dur started a few things, many things which are important, in the beginning of the last decade, for which he suffered politically but from which the nation benefited greatly. What we are enjoying now is nothing more than the fruits of the seeds that he planted in the term of his presidency.
Fifi: How do you think his bold ideas will last? How?
Wimar: I think they will last for a long time. He has sacrificed himself for them. He did not place importance on his position as president. That is why he did not succumb to the deal making, attempts to build coalitions with political parties, but instead stood by his principles. He was ousted by the parliament, by the armed forces, by the media. In fact he was greatly insulted in those days. But now the nation lost him, Metro TV appreciates him, President Yudhoyono appreciates him, and certainly the world appreciates him. For him, he said, it is a small price to pay. he give up your position for the sake of the growth of his ideas. People accept his ideas now, even though he is no longer with us physically.
Fifi: Many of his ideas were ahead of his time. Who do you think will carry on his ideas in the future?
Wimar: Well, ideas which are good will carry themselves. Your story is great if it is true. Your story is great if it is consistent. And your story will be told by many story-tellers if it is well understood. There are many people in Indonesia now who are carrying the story. Well, unfortunately they are not in the parliament, they are not in the media, they are not in the government. But they are among the Indonesian people. You will find his story of pluralism and democracy in facebook, in twitter, in the young people, among students. So we are a nation going forward. WE have to be grateful to Gus Dur for that.