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Tariq Ali and Janet Steel at UWRF 2011 forum (photo: ska / jb)

OF the many writers who were invited to speak at forums Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 2011, there was a writer who got rave reviews in Indonesia: Tariq Ali, writer, novelist, film director and editor of the political journal The New Left Review. Indonesian writers and activists are so enthusiastic discussion with Tariq Ali.

Wearing a shirt without a collar burgundy colored pants faded jeans, Tariq Ali spoke to the audience on the main program Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF) in Neka Museum, Ubud, Bali, which addresses the issue of global political situation and the Islamic world. "Saudi Arabia is not a representative of Islam," said Tariq Ali. He invited the audience to see Islam growing in Indonesia that provide space on democracy.
Sunken eyes appear tired but did not dampen his sense of humor when discussing the administration's foreign diplomacy Barack Obama and tough negotiation on the level in the United States Senate. Janet Steele, of George Washington University, which is also known as the custodian of narrative journalism in Indonesia, turn the conversation to cast your detailed questions.
From Ubud green Tariq Ali flew to Jakarta to give a lecture entitled "Conflicts Antarfundamentalisme" Salihara Community, Tuesday, October 11, 2011 ago, still in the series UWRF. Tariq Ali never issued a controversial book and draw the attention of the world public, "Conflicts Between Fundamentalist". This book presents two fundamentalist poles facing each other. One party under the command of President Geoge Bush, who invaded Iraq and waging a war against terrorism, while the opposite side is led by Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda leader Tandzim. Terror, violence and wars of the last decade must emerge from this battle of two sides. Two people called the great figures of contemporary fundamentalist.
On that occasion Tariq Ali met with Eka Kurniawan, a young writer who dikenanalnya of writing an Indonesian observer of Cornell University, Ben Anderson, who wrote about President Suharto's obituary, published in the journal New Left Review. Ben Anderson has also translated two short stories published in the journal Eka "Indonesia". Tariq Ali familiar with Ben Anderson (both very active in writing in New Left Review), and through the writing and translation of Ben, Tariq Ali Eka Kurniawan know the name of the author of the novel "Beauty That Wounds" and "Tiger Man".
During the meeting, Tariq Ali spoke about the political situation. Among other plans regarding the next book, "The Future of America". Also talk about why the leaders of the Indonesian Communist killed until now has not found his grave, whereas in other countries it began to unfold.
In addition to talking politics, Tariq Ali also enjoys sharing anecdotes from his travels visited communist countries. In North Korea, said he, the driver who drove him back and forth often stopped for some time. When he asked for what, the driver replied: to think. Finally he said to the driver: never mind, you do not have to stop-stop, I will not bother to make a report to your boss. The driver finally burst out laughing.
He also tells about the collection of the National Art Museum. In the first room, he saw the paintings of Kim Jong-il was a baby. The second room, there is a painting of Kim Jong-il teens. The third room, there is a painting of Kim Jong-il are married, and so on.

Tariq Ali and Janet De Neefe, founder and director of the festival UWRF (photo: ska / jb)

Tariq Ali's departure, to the UK, activists and historians Himar Rheiner Farid or Fay succeeded him at the restaurant to discuss Tjikini 17, Jakarta, Wednesday, October 12, as reported by Wilson Obrigados following:

17 Tjikini crowded restaurant. Tariq Ali seems too hot to sit in a chair retro classic white sofa. Exactly at 16.00 pm the discussion can begin. Fay open and guide the discussion with Tariq Ali.
Tariq Ali's first introduction to Indonesia began in 1967 when the mass-progressive movement is conducting a massive action in Pakistan. Tariq Ali, who lives in exile because of his political opposition to Karaci back in Pakistan. From the airport Tariq Ali immediately follow mass action. Suddenly, the right-wing political group Islamic mob to attack the group. Things that make shock Tariq Ali is a call from the head of the attacker who said "We will slaughter you like in Indonesia".
After coming back from the action Tariq Ali wonder. "What about in Indonesia? Why the right-wing Muslim mob attacked a group of progressive and want to do the same thing like in Indonesia? "This is the background that makes him interested in Indonesia. Later he discovered that in 1965 there has been a slaughter of millions of people who accused the communists by the army and Islamic militias organized, supported, facilitated ole army. This theme also makes it interested to know more on everything related to the events of 1965 and its accompanying human tragedy. Even in the chat, Tariq Ali was asked about Concentration camps Political prisoners on Buru Island in 1965 and how that he could visit there. Tariq Ali's proximity to the communist ideology is not new.
"My father was a communist," said the author of a historical novel about Islamic civilization, which has been translated into Indonesian by Anton Kurnia and Atta Verin, among others, "The Book of Saladin", "Stone Woman" and "A Sultan in Palermo"
Tariq Ali for decades was known as an activist and writer who are critical of capitalism and its support for various progressive movements in various parts of the world who are looking for a new way to get out of the orbit of neoliberalism. So do not be surprised if progressive political developments in Bolivia and Venezuela became one of the models that he made a reference when talking about the movement. So it's rather odd to me, if people in Indonesia just put this great intellectual "just as the author of the novel". Incidentally it tetraloginya novel historical background that has been translated into Indonesian edition.
Tariq Ali was born in Lahore in 1943 His family has a progressive background. As admitted by him that his father was a communist supporter. He was educated in Pakistan and then went on to Oxford. Harsh political stance he show his opposition to the military dictatorship. As a result, he was banned from returning to Pakistan and became the exile in London, England. Since the 1960s he had become one of the intellectual movement that tekemuka left. He writes a regular article for the Guardian newspaper and became editor of the leading journal New Left Review left. He also became a political commentators whose opinions and writings published in various parts of the world. Since 1984 he has written six novels that have been translated every aspect of the language, produces documentary films and became a screenwriter for theater and film.
Discussion opened by inviting activists victims of the 1965 Martin Aleida.Martin is an author who had been imprisoned as a result of October 1965 peritiwa Martin suggests keherananya why human tragedy, one of the largest in the world in a country, as a result of peritwa 1965 are not reflected in the works of contemporary artists Indonesia after the 1965 re-sue Martin as bearers of humanitarian attitude "that Universal Humanism" which then grow in the orbit of the new order of power politics.
"Fear and Trauma is the biggest success of Suharto", said Tariq Ali. 1965 and the human tragedy that followed is the root cause "Indonesian art did not develop after the events of 1965". The only well-known Indonesian author who thinks not terkoptasi by fear and trauma is Pramoedya Ananta Toer, people who are victims of the military dictatorship of Suharto (and the opponents of universal humanism camp, pen.). With populeritas work and he was once a candidate for the Nobel literature "Pramoedya can be the spokesperson for the events of 1965 to raise the issue internationally."
Mugiyanto, an activist Ham abductee Kopassus challenged Tariq Ali. "Pramoedya had died a few years ago, so there might be a spokesman for the 1965 case you are one of the well-known writer and intellectual and bepengaruh internationally, what if you become a spokesperson for victims of humanitarian events in 1965?" Challenge Mugiyanto was apparently responded positively by Tariq Ali. In a chat while enjoying dinner with historian Hilmar Farid (Fay) Tariq Ali seems to be interested in writing regarding 1965.
The same thing also expressed by Eka Kurniawan who questioned the tendency of "privatization" in art spaces and art centers. Eka also sued most writers in Indonesia, which does not have a stand on power through repression of writers like the author Wiji kidnapped by soldiers and are unknown until now.
According to Tariq Ali's tendency to be harmful in writing is "Salaryism", as a result of privatization in the works of writing. The commercial publishers only care about profit (business) sales circulation of books and the authors who "sold in the market". As a result of the well-known author, writing as oriented to the "salary" will he receive. According to Tariq Ali, after the marginalization of literature "socialist realism" and the production of books by the socialist countries are only a memory, the literary world is now controlled by "market realism". "In a culture in Western countries today the market or market interests realism decisive and dominant", said Tariq Ali. So do not be surprised if a sequel to the Harry Potter novels became a best seller in the West and in various parts of the world. "Sorry, I've never read it," said Tariq Ali honest.
Warm theme that was also a topic of discussion is about social movements and Latin American experience. Alternative social and political movements in Indonesia are not only small but also is still fragmented. While the crisis of capitalism today do not become knowledge at the grassroots. Social movements spread everywhere but the problem is fragmented and transferring knowledge about the crisis to the grassroots, so exposure Jemi activists of PRP. Different events that actually occurred in Latin America as a social and political movement into a political movement progressive alternative, and an alternative government mengusai beyond hegemony of neoliberalism. "What lessons can be drawn from movements in Latin America and what limitations that must be addressed for movement in Indonesia," said Jemi.
In Latin America, particularly in Bolivia and Venezuela's social movements and political alternatives to neoliberalism into the deadly attack "Because directly attack the dominance of multinational companies", said Tariq Ali. Direct attack on the dominance of multinational companies in Latin America is strongly associated with political power. The political elite-pro-neoliberalism in the party, the bureaucracy and the military are agents of multinational control of the state. "Because of the socialist movement under Morales took over political power in Bolivia" said Tariq Ali.
In Venezuela, according to Tariq Ali, Chavez Bolivarian government of "using money from oil production which previously controlled the elites to the people's welfare programs such as education, health, housing and basic needs of the people. "
Basic foundation of political power in Bolivia and Venezuela is well-organized mass movement. "The mass movement can not be replaced by social networking", said Tariq Ali firmly. In Bolivia greatest strength is the organization of the coca farmers who are mostly Indian descent, a native of Bolivia. Tariq Ali then tells how the effectiveness of the mass movement beat interests of neoliberalism in the case of the control of water by multinational companies in Bolivia. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets against privatization and failed to manage a social advance for water resources. Multinational corporations and even then defeated.
Mass movement is also becoming an important foundation for escort 'victory' and political power when the progressive forces in the coup by the military in the case of Venezuela. As president Chavez wins case through democratic elections and was ousted by the military. During the days of military rule and raised the puppet president. Hearing Chavez in a coup hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets and surrounded the presidential palace demanding Chaves returned. The next day the coup was foiled. Chavez was taken by the Bolivarian army back to his palace.
About this coup Tariq Ali tells a story. When successful coup against Chavez, a general call soldiers to blow the trumpet as a sign has been elected president of the puppet army. He then pointed seoang soldier who was standing with his trumpet.
"Blow the trumpet for our new president," said the general
"The new president-general that where you mean?" Said the soldier trumpeter.
"The new president who replaced Chavez," said the General.
"I just blew a trumpet to president Chavez", "the soldier said trumpeter.
"If you want to blow the trumpet for the new president, Blow OWN generals," the soldier said, handing him a trumpet to the generals.
In terms of the leadership of the movement in Venezuela and Bolivia, "leaders empower people power", said Tariq Ali. I know exactly how Chavez delegate power to community councils are thousands of them in Venezuela. These councils are a form of direct democracy where the people who determine all matters relating to the needs and its future. Something that does not happen in Indonesia. Here the leaders of the party oligarchy empower, family and group to gain maximum economic benefit and continue ruling hinga extended to the grandchildren to hijack democracy and blunt the power of the people.
Some participants, though in a different way also raised the issue of the role of NGOs and their relationships with social movements and political alternatives.
"NGO speak only of civil society in the narrow interpretation," says Tariq Ali. In the case of Latin America as expressly stated by Tariq Ali that NGOs actually made to immobilize the movement of people, do depoliticization and run projects funded for the benefit of the donor.
One of the concerns that emerged from the participants is also about intellectual responsibility in political change. According to Usman Hamid, the intellectual can not remain silent, but must do a political action to bring about change. But the problem in Indonesia for his choice of political struggle is entering through mainstream parties are corrupt. Usman who was shocked to groom large party seemed to realize that the major parties are corrupt condition is not 'best way' to the political struggle for intellectual today.
"Intellectual diminishing critical", said Tariq Ali. These symptoms occur in nearly all parts of the world, even in Latin America, most of the traditional intellectual is precisely opposite to the movement of people. Except in China, many intellectuals who opposed the government into a democratic pioneer issues ororiterianisme against the Chinese government. "But unfortunately most of them do it from America. "The intellectuals who want to make a change must take part in a broader social movement. "That must be created now is an organic intellectual who has a connection with the mass movement and political alternatives," said Tariq Ali.
Tariq Ali's statement further confirms that intelktual not a superman who can make the changes alone or only with others of his people, but should be part of a mass movement and the development of alternative political force. Something that is rarely found in Indonesia. Most activists would rather by way of instant, into the mainstream of the party with the illusion will bring change from within.
The talks were serious but relaxed it seems enough to drain energy Tariq Ali. It's known, in a narrow time in Jakarta he interviewed here and there and give a discussion. Fay then closed session discussion. Tariq Ali sipping cold beer heineken served and ordered dinner while continuing casual chat. The participants have been split into various tables in the restaurant Tjikini 17. Some people ask for an autograph dibuku Tariq Ali's novel. Tariq Ali finally had to go back to his hotel in Kemang. Either we'll get lucky again when coming progressive intellectual Tariq Ali's class. (Ska, from various sources)
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