Tariq Ali and Janet Steel in forum UWRF in 2011 (photo: ska / jb)
OF the many writers who were invited to speak at forums Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 2011, there was a writer who gets a warm welcome in Indonesia: Tariq Ali, writer, novelist, film director and editor of the political journal The New Left Review. Indonesian writers and activists so enthusiastic discussion with Tariq Ali.
Wearing a shirt without a collar in red wine faded jeans pants, Tariq Ali spoke to the audience on the main program Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF) in Neka Museum, Ubud, Bali, to discuss issues of global politics and Islamic world. "Saudi Arabia is not a representative of Islam," said Tariq Ali. He invited the audience sees Islam who grew up in Indonesia, which gives space to democracy.
His eyes were sunken seem 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 U.S. Senate. Janet Steele, of George Washington University, which is also known as the custodian of narrative journalism in Indonesia, turn the conversation to cast sharp questions.
From Ubud green Tariq Ali flew to Jakarta to give a lecture entitled "Conflicts Antarfundamentalisme" Community Salihara, Tuesday, October 11, 2011 ago, still in the series UWRF. Tariq Ali has 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 U.S. President Geoge Bush, who invaded Iraq and waging 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 great figures fundamentalist is called today.
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 the New Left Review), and through the writings and translations of Ben, Tariq Ali Eka Kurniawan know the name of the author of the novel "Beautiful That Wound" and "Tiger Man".
In the meeting, Tariq Ali spoke about the political situation. Among others, the plan 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, he said, the driver who drove him back and forth frequently 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 told me about the collection of the National Art Museum. In the first room, he saw the painting of Kim Jong-il was an infant. The second room, there is a painting of Kim Jong-il teens. The third room, there is a painting of Kim Jong-il was married, and so on.
Tariq Ali and Janet De Neefe, founder and director of the festival UWRF (photo: ska / jb)
Ahead of Tariq Ali's return to England, Rheiner activist and historian Farid Himar or Fay succeeded him at the restaurant to discuss Tjikini 17, Jakarta, Wednesday, October 12, as reported 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 acquaintance with Indonesia began in 1967. When the mass-progressive movement are conducting large-scale action in Pakistan. Tariq Ali, who lives in exile because of political opposition back into Karaci in Pakistan. Tariq Ali from the airport immediately following the mass action. Suddenly Islamic right-wing political group attacking the mass group. Things shocked Tariq Ali is a call from the head of the attacker as saying "We will slaughter you like in Indonesia".
After coming back from the action Tariq Ali wonder. "What about in Indonesia? Why is Islam the right wing 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. Then he learned that in 1965 there has been a slaughter of millions of people who were accused by the army and the communist militias organized Islam, supported, facilitated ole army. This theme also makes it interested to know more on everything concerning the events of 1965 and the accompanying human tragedy. Even in conversation, Tariq Ali was asked about the concentration camps Political prisoners on Buru Island in 1965 and how can he be able to visit there. Tariq Ali's closeness with communist ideology is not new.
"My father was a communist," says the author of a novel about the history of 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 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 is rather odd to me, if people in Indonesia just put this great intellectual "just as the author of the novel". Incidentally indeed novel tetraloginya 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 exiles 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 is also the opinion of political commentators and his writings published in various parts of the world. Since 1984 he has written six novels that have been translated every aspect of the language, producing documentary films and became a screenwriter for theater and film.
Discussion opened by inviting activists victims of the 1965 event Aleida.Martin Martin is an author who had been imprisoned as a result of peritiwa October 1965. Martin suggests keherananya why human tragedy, one of the largest in the world in a country, as a result of peritwa 1965 is not reflected in the various works of contemporary Indonesian artists after 1965. Martin as a humanitarian gesture again sued bearers "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. Events of 1965 and the human tragedy that followed is the root causes "of Indonesian arts do not flourish 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 1965 event raised 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 a world renowned author and intellectual and bepengaruh internationally, what if you become a spokesperson for victims of humanitarian events of 1965? "Challenges Mugiyanto it seems positive response by Tariq Ali. In a chat while enjoying dinner with historian Hilmar Farid (Fay) Tariq Ali seems interested in writing regarding the events of 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 Wiji author who was kidnapped by the army and are unknown until now.
According to Tariq Ali's tendency to be harmful in the world of writing is "Salaryism", as a result of privatization in the works of writing. The commercial publishers only care about profit (business) sales and circulation of the book in which the author "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 the "market realism". "In a culture in Western countries today is the interest of the market or market realism decisive and dominant", said Tariq Ali. So do not be surprised if the sequel to Harry Potter novel 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 still fragmented. While the crisis of capitalism today is not a grassroots knowledge. Social movements spread everywhere but the problem is fragmented and transferring knowledge about the crisis to the grass roots, so exposure to 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 outside the hegemony of neoliberalism. "What lessons can be drawn from movements in Latin America and what are the limitations that must be overcome 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", says Tariq Ali. Directly attack 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 that were previously controlled by the elite for 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 are 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 coca farmers who are mostly Indian descent, a native of Bolivia. Tariq Ali then tells how the effectiveness of the mass movement of defeating the interests of neoliberalism in the case of control of water by multinational companies in Bolivia. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets against privatization and promoting social pegelolaan for water resources. Multinational corporations and even then defeated.
The mass movement has also become an important foundation for escort 'victory' and political power when the progressive forces in the coup by the military in the case of Venezuela. Like the case of president Chavez who won through democratic elections and a coup by the military had. During the day the ruling military and the president lifted the doll. 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 horn.
"Blow the trumpet for our new president," said the general
"The new president-general where you mean?" Said the soldier trumpeter.
"The new president replaces Chavez," said the General.
"I just blew a trumpet to president Chavez", "the soldier said trumpeter.
"If you want to blow the trumpet for a 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 boards are a form of direct democracy where the people who determine all matters relating to the needs and its future. Something that is not the case in Indonesia. Here the leaders of the party empowered oligarchs, family and group to gain maximum economic benefit and continuous power hinga extended to the grandchildren to hijack democracy and blunt the power of the people.
Some participants, though in a different way also raised issues about the role of NGOs and their relationships with social movements and political alternatives.
"NGOs in civil society to speak only a narrow interpretation," said Tariq Ali. In the case of Latin America explicitly stated by Tariq Ali that NGOs actually made to paralyze 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 the responsibility of intellectuals 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.
"Critical Intellectuals on the wane," said Tariq Ali. These symptoms occur in nearly all parts of the world, even in Latin America, most of the traditional intellectual in fact at odds with the people's movement. Except in China, many intellectuals were opposed to government being a pioneer of democracy issues ororiterianisme against the Chinese government. "But unfortunately most of them do it out of America. "The intellectuals who want to make a change must take part in a wider social movement. "That should be created now is an organic intellectual who has a connection with the mass movement and political alternative," said Tariq Ali.
Tariq Ali's statement further confirms that intelktual not a superman who can make the changes alone or only with other clan, but must be part of a mass movement and the development of alternative political force. Something that is rarely found in Indonesia. Most activists would rather via instant way, the party entered into the mainstream 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 sipped 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 the book of Tariq Ali's novel. Tariq Ali finally had to go back to his hotel in Kemang. Either we'll get lucky again when the arrival of a progressive intellectual Tariq Ali's class. (Ska, from various sources)