Thursday, 31 December 2009

Farewell to Gus Dur, a Father of the Nation

Yesterday (December 30, 2009) Indonesians lost another charismatic figure, KH. Abdurrahman Wahid, also famously known as Gus Dur. He was our fourth President before being impeached and ended his period of presidency (read full story in English Wikipedia or in Indonesian Wikipedia)

Gus Dur was a very smart man who was probably an example of a man whose thinking cap is using a black box approaches. He was using basically his intuitive mind to settle his goals. It was the reason of his being a controversial leader. People did not really know his reasons.

1999 I voted for Megawati, but our voices for Ibu Mega could not bring her to the chair of appointed president. It was not a direct vote, so we are still depending on the parties' coalition in MPR (People's representatives). Those representatives had chosen Gus Dur as our fourth president. I've got foreign friends who questioned his capability as a president. I thought Indonesians were probably did not ready to have a woman president. I tried to explained to my friends why Gus Dur would also be a good president. One of my friends asked (due to his eye sight problem): "But, how could he do his presidential duty? Even an ambassador has a pile of reading tasks!" I just answered that he could do it with all the staffs around him. I also added that I'd been in a seminar where he was one of the speakers. I saw him fast asleep in a period of conversation. Yet, to my astonishment his comment on that specific conversation was not showing any remark that he was asleep. While watching TV One covering the preparation of his funeral, I heard someone remembering the same aspect of Gus Dur. He never really slept, yet he stole his sleep without loosing his alertness.

With more outlets of Indonesian citizen journalism today, I can gather more opinions. The one from an expert like Faisal Basri (uploaded in English in Kompasiana) or from a mere citizen (this one is in Bahasa Indonesia can be found in

Ex minister, Kusmayanto Kadiman, raised his voice as a citizen in Kompasiana in his writing "Bon Voyage Gus, We Love You Full!" (using the Indonesians most lovable phrase from the late mbah Surip). I agree that rumours should not become a big issue. The fact that he was buried as a Moslem, with a funeral attended by Moslems and non Moslems (both with sincere feeling of loosing him) shows that he is accepted as a great leader that goes beyond religious issues. Yes..., despite his being inconsistent and unpredictable he was doing a lot of pioneering steps towards pluralism and democracy (while at the same moment he might be seen as undemocratic for his black box way of approaches and for being stubborn). One example of mixed feelings towards his unreadable action (at the moment) can be read (in bahasa Indonesia) through this writing "Gus Dur dan Aceh".

Another important comment that I gathered through the television today is the importance of rehabilitating Gus Dur's name (for the reason of impeachment) which is more urgent than giving him a status as a national hero. I'm not sure how to do it without a judicial action, but seeing the content of both English and Indonesian wikipedia I think it is important to think it over before gathering 5.000.000 facebookers to support him as a national hero. Without rehabilitating his name, it would be normal if another question like this is popped out.

Thank you Gus Dur, you've been doing a lot during your short presidential period, and you've been planting more seeds of pluralism and humanity during your life time. You were not only serving us, Indonesian peoples, now you've also finished your good job serving the Creator.

1 comment:

Rediningrum Setyarini said...

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