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Max Lane speaking at May 22 book launch of the Indonesian language edition of UNFINISHED NATION organised by the publishers, the REFORM INSTITUTE. About 500 people attended the function in the Gren Melia Hotel, Jakarta which also launched the Institute's new magazine. Below is a newspaper report of the launch translated by James Balowski.

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Max Lane - Indonesia, an unfinished revolution

Suara Pembaruan Daily - May 23, 2007, page 1 and 14

The national liberation of the people of Latin
America, which has been inspired by the people’s
struggle in Venezuela led by President Hugo Chavez,
should be able to inspire similar methods and
ideologies in the Indonesian national struggle.

Millions of Latin American people have been inspired
by the developments in Venezuela when the people
there succeeded in winning back their wealth and
culture from the grip of the United States.

“I can imagine a struggle such as this could become
the backbone of a political culture in Indonesia,
that is one based on a populist ideology”, said
Australian author Max Lane during the launch of his
new book “An Unfinished Nation: Indonesia, Before
and After Suharto”. Published by the Reform
Institute, Lane’s book together with the journal
Reform Review was launched at the Grand Melia Hotel
in Kuningan, South Jakarta, on Tuesday May 22.

Lane is absolutely convinced that by taking up these
two weapons, that is the method of mass struggle
along with an ideology of national revolutionary
struggle, the struggle to liberate the people of
Indonesia will find the answers to move forward.

“If this happened, Indonesia will become the
Venezuela of the Asia region, and would provide an
inspiration for the Asian people”, said Lane in a
discussion that also included speakers Benyamin F.
Intan (executive director of the Reformed Center for
Religion and Society), Yudi Latief (executive
director of the Reform Institute) and political
analyst Daniel Dhakidae.

Lane is of the view that almost all nations are born
out of revolutions that involve the ordinary people.
This can be seen from the experiences in Britain,
France and the US.

If studied closely, the birth of the Indonesian
nation was also the result of revolution. Kartini,
who came to the fore through her modern
revolutionary and feminist thinking, early
nationalist figures such as Tirto Adhisuryo, and
Indonesia’s founding President Sukarno, were all
figures that were involved in the Indonesian
revolution.

But according to Lane, the national revolution as a
process that gave birth to Indonesia as a nation was
not in fact completed. “The process froze”, said
Lane in conclusion. It was only after the Kedung
Ombo [land dispute] case in Java sprang up in 1989
that the struggle being carried out by students,
farmers and the urban poor was restarted. “The
Kedung Ombo case became one fragment of a major
process that proceed until the fall of Suharto and
his New Order regime”, said Lane.

The result of this process was that the people took
up the very weapon that was used to win
independence, that is the method of mass struggle.
“By taking up mass actions again, the Indonesian
people became strong and ready to voluntarily take
to the streets to demand their rights and [fight
for] their interests. This is one of the rich
lessons of the national revolution that needs to be
taken up again”, he asserted.

There are still many rich revolutionary lessons that
need to be resurrected including the ideology of
populism that is contained in the writings and works
of Kartini, Tirto Adhisuryo, Sukarno, and others in
the political as well as literary world.

Unfortunately, great works such as Sukarno’s
“Nationalism, Islam and Marxism”, or the works of
nationalist figures such as Sutan Sjahrir, Muhammad
Natsir and HOS Cokroaminoto, have never been read by
Indonesian school children. “How can Indonesia
confront the threat of the West if the rich lessons
of its own national revolution are unknown by the
nation?”, he asked.

Daniel Dhakidae added that in Indonesia, the words
revolution and nationalism have become forgotten.
This short-term collective memory has made us soon
forget all kinds of events. The reformasi movement
of 1998 has been forgotten, as if it took place
centuries ago. The violence that took place in the
month of May that year has just been passed by
without any resolution, whereas reformasi only took
place nine years ago.

Likewise also in addressing globalisation, we have
forgotten the aspect of nationalism. By way of
example, Dhakidae said that schools in Jakarta
require communication in English, but do not allow
their students to speak Indonesia. “We have
overlooked the fact that globalisation must be
accompanied with values or national dignity that is
born though its language”, he said. [SP/Elly
Burhaini Faizal]

[Translated by James Balowski.]

SUARA PEMBARUAN DAILY
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Indonesia, Revolusi yang Belum Usai

embebasan nasional rakyat Amerika Latin, yang terinspirasi perjuangan rakyat Venezuela dipimpin Hugo Chavez, selayaknya dapat mengilhami pula metode dan ideologi perjuangan nasional Indonesia.

Jutaan rakyat Amerika Latin terinspirasi proses di Venezuela ketika rakyat di sana berhasil merebut kembali kekayaan dan kebudayaan mereka dari cengkeraman AS. "Saya membayangkan perjuangan semacam itu bisa jadi tulang punggung kebudayaan politik di Indonesia, dengan dilandasi ideologi kerakyatan," ungkap Max Lane, penulis Australia dalam acara peluncuran bukunya "Bangsa yang Belum Selesai: Indonesia, Sebelum dan Sesudah Soeharto" yang diterbitkan Reform Institute, sekaligus peluncuran jurnal Reform Review, Selasa (22/5).

Max sangat yakin, dengan memegang dua senjata, yakni metode perjuangan aksi serta ideologi perjuangan revolusi nasional, perjuangan pembebasan rakyat Indonesia akan menemukan-jawaban selanjutnya.

"Kalau hal itu terjadi, Indonesia akan menjadi Venezuelanya wilayah Asia, dan akan memberikan inspirasi bagi masyarakat Asia," ungkap Max dalam diskusi yang juga menghadirkan pembicara Benyamin F.Intan (Direktur Eksekutif Reformed Center for Religion and Society), Yudi Latief (Direktur Eksekutif Reform Institute), serta Daniel Dhakidae.

Max berpendapat, hampir semua bangsa lahir dari hasil revolusi yang melibatkan rakyat. Ini terlihat dari pengalaman Inggris, Prancis dan AS.

Jika dicermati, lahirnya sebuah bangsa sebagai hasil revolusi juga terjadi di Indonesia. Kartini yang tampil dengan revolusi pemikiran modernnya, Tirto Adi Soerjo (TAS), hingga Soekarno, adalah figur-figur yang terlibat dalam revolusi di Indonesia.

Tetapi, Max mencermati, revolusi nasional sebagai proses yang membentuk Indonesia sebagai sebuah bangsa ternyata belum selesai. "Prosesnya membeku," Max menandaskan.

Barulah sejak Kasus Kedung Ombo di Jawa mencuat tahun 1989, perjuangan yang dilakukan mahasiswa, petani, dan rakyat miskin kota, dimulai lagi. "Kasus Kedung Ombo menjadi sepenggal proses utama yang berjalan hingga kejatuhan Soeharto dan rezim Orde Barunya," kata Max.

Hasil dari proses tersebut adalah direbut kembalinya senjata yang dipakai untuk kemerdekaan, yaitu metode perjuangan aksi massa. "Dengan merebut kembali aksi massa, rakyat Indonesia menjadi tangguh dan bersedia dengan sukarela turun ke jalan untuk menuntut hak dan kepentingannya. Itu salah satu kekayaan revolusi nasional yang perlu direbut kembali," tegasnya.

Masih banyak kekayaan revolusi yang perlu digali kembali termasuk ideologi kerakyatan yang terkandung dalam tulisan-tulisan karya Kartini, TAS, Soekarno, dan lain-lain dalam bidang politik maupun sastra.

Sayangnya, karya-karya besar seperti tulisan Soekarno "Nasionalisme, Islam dan Marxisme," atau karya Sutan Sjahrir, Muhammad Natsir, HOS Cokroaminoto, tidak pernah dibaca anak-anak sekolah Indonesia. "Bagaimana Indonesia bisa menghadapi ancaman Barat itu jika hasil kekayaan revolusi nasionalnya sendiri tidak diketahui oleh bangsanya?" ia mempertanyakan.

Daniel Dhakidae menambahkan, di Indonesia, kata revolusi dan nasionalisme, sudah sayup-sayup. Ingatan kolektif yang pendek membuat kita cepat melupakan segala peristiwa. Reformasi 1998 cepat terlupakan, sepertinya peristiwa itu berlangsung berabad-abad lalu. Kekerasan yang berlangsung pada bulan Mei berlalu begitu saja tanpa ada penyelesaian, padahal reformasi baru terjadi sembilan tahun lalu.

Begitu pula dalam menyikapi globalisasi, kita melupakan aspek nasionalisme. Ia mencontohkan, sebuah sekolah di Jakarta yang mengharuskan komunikasi dalam bahasa Inggris, tidak memperkenankan murid-muridnya berbahasa Indonesia. "Kita mengabaikan bahwa globalisasi harus diiringi dengan harkat atau martabat bangsa yang lahir lewat bahasanya," ujarnya. [SP/Elly Burhaini Faizal]


From http://www.suarapembaruan.com/News/2007/05/23/index.html - appears page one of the hard copy of SUARA PEMBARUAN daily newspaper, May 23.

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