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

FROM the many writers who were invited to speak at the forum Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 2011, there was a writer who received a warm welcome in Indonesia: Tariq Ali, writer, novelist, film director and editor of the political journal The New Left Review. The authors and activists Indonesia so enthusiastic discussions with Tariq Ali.

Wearing a shirt without a collar of 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, which addresses the issue of global political situation and the Islamic world. "Saudi Arabia is not a representation of Islam," said Tariq Ali. He invited the audience see that Islam is growing in Indonesia, providing a space in democracy.
Sunken eyes appeared 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 US Senate. Janet Steele, of George Washington University, which is also known as pengampu narrative journalism in Indonesia, the conversation turned to cast sharp questions.
From Ubud green Tariq Ali flew to Jakarta to give a lecture entitled "Conflicts Antarfundamentalisme" Salihara Community, Tuesday, October 11th, 2011 ago, still in the series UWRF. Tariq Ali had issued a controversial book and draw the public's attention, "Conflicts Between Fundamentalist". This book presents two poles fundamentalist face to face. One party under the command of US President Geoge Bush, who invaded Iraq and waging a war against terrorism, whereas the opposite 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 from Cornell University, Ben Anderson, who wrote about President Suharto's obituary, published in the journal New Left Review. Ben Anderson has also translated two Eka short stories published in the journal "Indonesian". Tariq Ali familiar with Ben Anderson (both are 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 "Beautiful That Luka" and "Tiger Man".
In the meeting, Tariq Ali spoke about the political situation. Among others on the plan next book, "The Future of America". Also talked about why the leaders of the Indonesian Communist who killed until now has not been found graves, whereas in other countries it began to unfold.
Besides chatting political situation, Tariq Ali also happy to share anecdotes from his travels to visit 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 make trouble reports to superiors. The driver ended up laughing.
He also talked about the collection of the National Art Museum. In the first room, he saw a painting of Kim Jong-il was a baby. The second room, there is a painting of Kim Jong-il teenagers. The third room, there is a painting of Kim Jong-il was married, and so on.

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

Ahead of Tariq Ali's return to England, Rheiner activist and historian Farid Himar or Fay successfully invited talk at the restaurant Tjikini 17, Jakarta, Wednesday, October 12, as reported by Wilson Obrigados following:

17 Tjikini crowded restaurant. Tariq Ali appeared overheated sitting in a chair classic retro white sofa. Exactly at 16.00 hrs, 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 large-scale actions in Pakistan. Tariq Ali, who lives in exile because of his political opposition back to Karaci in Pakistan. From the airport Tariq Ali immediately following the mass action. Suddenly Islamic political groups attacked the right wing mass party. Things shocked Tariq Ali is a call from the leader of the attackers who said "We will slaughter you like in Indonesia".
After coming back from the action Tariq Ali wondered. "What about in Indonesia? Why the right-wing Islamic groups attacked the progressive mass and was about to do the same thing as 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 of communists by the army and Islamic militias organized, supported, facilitated ole army. This theme also makes it interested to know more in all matters concerning the events of 1965 and the accompanying human tragedies. Even in conversation, Tariq Ali had asked about 1965 political prisoners in concentration camps Buru and how so that he could visit there. Tariq Ali closeness with communist ideology is not new.
"My father was a communist," said the author of a historical novel about the 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 was known for decades as an activist and writer critical of capitalism and its support of 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 reference when talking about the movement. So a bit odd to me, when people in Indonesia just put this great intellectual "just as a novelist". Incidentally indeed novel tetraloginya historical background which has been translated into Indonesian edition.
Tariq Ali was born in Lahore in 1943. His family had a progressive background. As acknowledged by him that his father was a communist supporter. She 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 articles regularly 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 control every aspect of the language, producing documentaries and became a screenwriter for theater and film.
Opened the discussion by inviting activists victims of the events of 1965 Martin Aleida.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 within a country, due to peritwa 1965 is not reflected in the works of contemporary artists Indonesia after 1965. Martin as a humanitarian gesture back sue bearer "that Universal Humanism" which later grew into the orbit of the new order of power politics.
"Fear and Trauma is the biggest success of the Suharto", said Tariq Ali. The events of 1965 and the humanitarian tragedy that followed is the root cause "Indonesian art does not develop after the events of 1965". The only well-known author of Indonesia which he did 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 Kopassus abduction victim to challenge Tariq Ali. "Pramoedya had died a few years ago, so there may 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 spokesman for the victims of humanitarian events of 1965?" Challenge Mugiyanto it apparently responded positively by Tariq Ali. In a chat while enjoying dinner with historian Hilmar Farid (Fay) Tariq Ali seemed interested in writing regarding the 1965 events.
The same thing also expressed by Eka Kurniawan who questioned the tendency of "privatization" in the spaces of art and art centers. Eka also sued most writers in Indonesia that has no stance on power repression of writers such as the authors Wiji who was kidnapped by the army and are unknown until now.
According to Tariq Ali tendency to be harmful in the world of writing is "Salaryism", as a result of privatization in the work of writing. The commercial publishers only care about profit (business) sales circulation of books and the author who "sold in the market". As a result of the famous writer, writes for oriented "salary" he would receive. According to Tariq Ali, after the marginalization of literature "socialist realism" and the production of books by socialist countries are only a memory, the literary world is now controlled by the "market realism". "In a culture in Western countries now have the benefit of a market or market realism decisive and dominant," said Tariq Ali. So do not be surprised if Harry Potter sequel 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 which is also a topic of discussion is about the social movements and the experience of Latin America. Social movements and political alternatives in Indonesia is not only small but also still fragmented. While the crisis of capitalism today does not become knowledge at the grassroots. Social movements spread everywhere but the problem is fragmented and transferring knowledge about the crisis to the grassroots, thus exposure Jemi activists of PRP. Different events actually happening in Latin America as an alternative political and social movement into a political movement progressive, mengusai government and an alternative outside the hegemony of neoliberalism. "What lessons can be drawn from movements in Latin America and what are the limitations that must be addressed for the movement in Indonesia," said Jemi.
In Latin America, particularly in Bolivia and Venezuela social movements and political alternatives to neoliberalism became deadly attack "Due to directly attack the dominance of multinational companies", said Tariq Ali. Direct attack to 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 multinationals who control 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 public 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 movements. "The mass movement can not be replaced by social networks", said Tariq Ali firmly. In Bolivia greatest strength is the organization of coca farmers, who are mostly descendants of indian, native of Bolivia. Tariq Ali then told how the effectiveness of the mass movement defeated the interests of neoliberalism in the case of control of the water by a multinational company in Bolivia. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets against privatization and advancing social pegelolaan for water resources. Multinational corporations and even then defeated.
The mass movement has also become an important foundation for the 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 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 surrounded the presidential palace and demanded Chaves returned. The next day the coup was foiled. Chaves 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 of the military. 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 which you mean?" Said the soldier trumpeter.
"The new president who replaced Chavez," said the General.
"I just blew the trumpet for president Chavez", "said the soldier trumpeter.
"If you want to blow the trumpet for the new president, Blow OWN generals," said the soldier, handing 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 delegating power to community councils are thousands of them in Venezuela. These councils are a form of direct democracy in which the people who determine all matters relating to the needs and future. Something that does not happen in Indonesia. Here the leaders of the party oligarchy empower, family and group to get the maximum economic advantage and continue to rule extended to the grandchildren hinga 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 its relationship with social movements and political alternatives.
"NGO civil society to speak only in 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 financed for the benefit of the donor.
One of the concerns that also emerged from the participants is about the responsibility of intellectuals in political change. According to Usman Hamid, intellectuals can not remain silent, but need political action to bring about change. But the problem in Indonesia for political struggle choice is to go through the corrupt mainstream parties. Usman who was shocked to be spoken for major parties seem 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 who opposed the government being a pioneer issues ororiterianisme democracy against the Chinese government. "But unfortunately most of them do so from the United States. "The intellectuals who want to make a change must take part in a broader social movement. "That must be created now is organic intellectuals who have connections with mass movements and political alternatives," said Tariq Ali.
Tariq Ali's statement further confirms that intelktual not a superman who can make 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 prefer instant way through, into the mainstream parties with the illusion will bring change from within.
The talks were serious but relaxed it seems to be quite draining Tariq Ali. It's known, in a narrow time in Jakarta he was interviewed here and there and give the discussion. Fay then close the session. Tariq Ali sipped cold beer heineken served and ordered dinner while continuing casual chat. The participants are split into various tables inside the restaurant Tjikini 17. Some people ask for an autograph book of novel Tariq Ali. Tariq Ali finally had to return to his hotel in Kemang. Either we'll get lucky again when the arrival of a progressive intellectual class Tariq Ali. (Ska, from various sources)
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