Thursday, May 11, 2017

An Indonesian oasis of progressive creativity emerges in culture city

Dr Max Lane, pictured here with Faiza Mardzoeki, talks about his project to establish a community and activist library for the student city of Yogyakarta in Indonesia. Video: Café Pacific

By David Robie in Yogyakarta

A VISION for a progressive activists, writers and researchers retreat in the lush outskirts of Indonesia’s most cultural city, Yogyakarta, is close to becoming reality.

Unfinished Nation ... one of Dr Max Lane's
many books.
The Indonesian Community and Activists Library (ICAL) is already an impressive “shell” in the front garden of Australian author and socio-political analyst, intellectual and consultant Max Lane, arguably the most knowledgeable English-language writer on Indonesian affairs.

Dr Lane, who has been writing and commenting about cultural and political developments in Indonesia, Philippines, Timor-Leste and his homeland since the 1970s, is delighted that completing the centre is so close.

“We have almost completed this building, the library, which will have a reading room, an office, and also some accommodation for those who would like to stay for a few days, or even longer to use the library,” he says, gesturing towards the empty rooms at the complex in the rice-producing and tourist village of Ngepas.

“The library will have about 4000 to 5000 books in the field of social sciences, humanities, history, feminism and so on.”

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Rave hospitality, but Indonesia fails West Papua with media freedom hypocrisy

Al Jazeera's coverage by Step Vaessen of the Papuan protest at WPFD2017 in Jakarta.

By David Robie in Jakarta 

INDONESIAN hospitality was given a rave notice this week for hosting World Press Freedom Day 2017, but it was also given a huge black mark for its “gagging” of free discussion over West Papua violations. 

Four days before the WPFD event got under way, prominent Papuan journalist Victor Mambor had warned in the New Internationalist that Indonesian double standards had imposed a silence over West Papua.

Even a Papuan protest outside the Jakarta Conference Centre venue was kept at the margins, ensuring most of the 1300 journalists, media academics and communication policy makers from 90 countries were unaware of the shocking press and human rights violations that continue almost daily in the Melanesian provinces of Papua and West Papua (collectively known as West Papua).

Al Jazeera broadcast the most comprehensive television report from its Jakarta bureau on media freedom and West Papua with both website and The Jakarta Post also carrying reports.

But for the rest, mostly silence.

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