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

OF the many writers who were invited to speak at the forum Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 2011, there is 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. The authors and activists Indonesia so enthusiastic discussions with Tariq Ali.

Wearing a shirt without a collar burgundy pants faded jeans, Tariq Ali spoke to the audience on the main program Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF) in Neka Museum, Ubud, Bali, which addressed the issue of the global political situation and the Islamic world. "Saudi Arabia is not a representative of Islam," said Tariq Ali. He invited the audience sees Islam growing in Indonesia, providing a space in democracy.
Sunken eyes 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 US 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 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 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 the two sides fight it. Two major 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 are very active in writing in the New Left Review), and through writing and translation Ben, Tariq Ali Eka Kurniawan know the name of the author of the novel "Beautiful That Luka" and "Tiger Man".
During 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 found his grave, whereas in other countries it began to unfold.
In addition to talking politics, Tariq Ali also happy to share anecdotes from his travels to visit communist countries. In North Korea, he said, the driver who drove 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 a report to your boss troublesome. The driver finally burst out 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 teens. The third room, there is a painting of Kim Jong-il has been married, and so on.

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

Towards the return of Tariq Ali to the British, 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 seems overheated sitting in a chair white classic retro sofa. Exactly at 16:00 PM discussion can begin. Fay open and guide the discussion by Tariq Ali.
Tariq Ali's first introduction to Indonesia began in 1967. When the mass-progressive movement is conducting large-scale action in Pakistan. Tariq Ali who lived in exile because of his political opposition back to Karaci in Pakistan. From the airport Tariq Ali immediately following the mass action. Suddenly, right-wing Islamic political groups attacked the mass party. Things that make shock Tariq Ali is a call from the head 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 Muslim right wing attack group of progressive mass and want to do the same as in Indonesia? "Here's 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 on everything concerning the events of 1965 and the accompanying human tragedy. Even in conversation, Tariq Ali was asked about the concentration camp in 1965 Political prisoners in Buru and how so that he could visit there. Tariq Ali's closeness with communist ideology is not new.
"My father was a communist," said the author of the 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 known 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 the progressive political developments in Bolivia and Venezuela became one of the models that he made reference when talking about the movement. So it is rather strange 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 has 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 regular articles 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, producing documentaries and became a screenwriter for theater and film.
Discussion opened 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 in a country, as a result of 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 Soeharto," said Tariq Ali. The events of 1965 and the human tragedy that follows is a root cause "Indonesian art did 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 became victims of the military dictatorship of Suharto (and the opponents of universal humanism camp, pen.). With populeritas work and he who had been a candidate for the Nobel literature "Pramoedya can be the spokesperson for the events of 1965 raised the issue internationally."
Mugiyanto, an activist abducted Ham Kopassus challenged Tariq Ali. "Pramoedya had died a few years ago, so there might be a spokesman for the case of 1965. You are a writer and intellectual well-known and internationally bepengaruh, what if you become a spokesperson for victims of humanitarian events in 1965?" The challenge Mugiyanto it apparently responded positively by Tariq Ali. In a chat while enjoying dinner together 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 who do not have the attitude of power through repression of writers such as author Wiji kidnapped by soldiers 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 of "sold in the market". As a result of the famous writer, writing as oriented to "salary" will he 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 the market or market realism decisive and dominant," said Tariq Ali. So do not be surprised if a 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 which is also a topic of discussion is about 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, activist Jemi thus exposure of PRP. Different events actually happening in Latin America as a social and political movement into a political movement progressive alternative, mastered and become an alternative government 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 the 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 to the dominance of multinational companies in Latin America 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 "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 descendants of indian, native of Bolivia. Tariq Ali then tells how the effectiveness of the mass movement defeated 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 promote social pegelolaan for water resources. Multinational corporations and even then defeated.
The mass movement has also become an important foundation for escort 'victory' and progressive forces when political power in a military coup in the case of Venezuela. Like the case of the president Chavez won through democratic elections and was ousted by the military. During the days of military rule and raised 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", "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 has delegated power to community councils that are thousands of them in Venezuela. These boards 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 obtain maximum economic advantage and continue to 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 its relation to social movements and political alternatives.
"NGOs only talk of civil society in a narrow interpretation," said Tariq Ali. In the case of Latin America as expressly stated by Tariq Ali that NGOs actually made to paralyze the movement of people, do depoliticization and execute projects financed for the benefit of the donor.
One of the concerns that have also emerged from the participants is the responsibility of intellectuals in political change. According to Usman Hamid, intellectuals can not remain silent, but must do a 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 Intellectual diminishing," 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 people's movement. Except in China, many intellectuals who opposed the government became a pioneer issues ororiterianisme democracy against the Chinese government. "But unfortunately most of them do so from America. "Intellectuals who want to make a change must take part in a broader social movement. "That must be created today are organic intellectuals who have a connection 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 with the illusion party will bring change from within.
The talks were serious but relaxed it seems quite draining Tariq Ali. It's known, in a narrow time in Jakarta he fro interviewed and provide discussion. Fay then closed the discussion session. Tariq Ali sipped cold heineken beer served and ordered dinner while continuing a casual chat. The participants have been split into various tables in the restaurant Tjikini 17. Some people ask for an autograph book of novel Tariq Ali. Finally Tariq Ali had to go back to his hotel in Kemang. Who knows when we'll get lucky again the arrival of progressive intellectual Tariq Ali's class. (Ska, from various sources)
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