R20, Gus Dur, and World Peace

Is there anything more beautiful than peace? Is there anything cooler than ‘unity in diversity’? Or is there anything better than humanity?

The beauty of humanity is now being echoed throughout the world from a forum of world religious leaders in Bali, Indonesia.

If the humanist figure KH Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur) were still alive, the grandson of the founder of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) would smile, or even be proud, because the gathering of interfaith leaders in the world on November 2-3 2022 was his dream.

Gus Dur who served as the fourth President of Indonesia was also a religious and pluralist figure. However, he preferred the phrase “The humanist died here” written on his tombstone.

When delivering testimony to Gus Dur’s 11th Haul at the East Java PWNU Building, East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa stated that Gus Dur preferred to be called a humanist (humanitarian figure), because tolerance existed when a person’s humanity side was more dominant.

Gus Dur’s humanism side had been spread to foreign countries. In the United States, he once said, “in my country, I protected minorities, so please protect minorities in your country as well.”

With his humanism value, the General Chairperson of the Nahdlatul Ulama Executive Board (PBNU), KH Yahya Cholil Staquf (Gus Yahya), ensured that the conduciveness of the life of the nation and state will continue to run.

Gus Dur’s view was also promoted at the G20 Religion Forum (R20) in Nusa Dua, Bali, November 2-3, 2022. The event gathered religious leaders with main participants from other countries including  G20 member countries and non-G20 member countries. Indonesia was the initiator and the host of the first R20 forum.

A total of 32 countries confirmed to attend with 338 participants, 124 from abroad. The forum presented 45 speakers from five continents, including Rabbi Prof Alan Brill (the United States), Rabbi Prof Silvina Chemen (Argentina), Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah (Nigeria), Elder Gary E Stevenson (the United States), H Imam Addaruqutni (PP Muhammadiyah), KH Ulil Abshar Abdalla (PBNU), and a series of inspiring women.

These human values were mentioned by the Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) while attending the virtual opening of the G20 Religion Forum (R20). According to Jokowi, religious figures from different religions have been a major part of Indonesia’s struggle for independence.

These different religious figures also became the main part to unite Indonesia in 1945. Indonesia was united by tolerance and unity, namely Bhinneka Tunggal Ika or unity in diversity. Mutual cooperation across religious leaders who are united in diversity and diversity has become the pride of Indonesia.

Different religious figures are also important to make the government’s development programs a success, such as the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic with mosques, churches, temples, monasteries, and pagodas, as community literacy centers.

Moreover, R20 is also important to prevent identity issues and limit the spread of group hatred and violence.

Minorities are being heard

The R20 forum was positioned to use religions as a solution, not a problem. Jewish rabbi Silvina Chemen appreciated the Plenary Session 4 G20 R20.

Chemen expressed her appreciation to the organizers of R20 for providing space for minorities to be heard. She is a female rabbi, a minority in the male-dominated rabbinical world who lives in Argentina, which is not the strongest country in the world. As a minority, she felt appreciated.

The R20 Forum initiated by PBNU has provided space for people who need to be heard to unite and become stronger, as well as providing space for people to provide answers to various difficulties currently being faced by the world.

Religion can contribute to humanity through many things, not limited to worship/activities in their respective places of worship. Through this forum, all return to deepening the teachings of the ancestors and the teachings of their respective beliefs to seek points of peace, justice, and humanity. Each human being must be able to live without distinguishing each other.

R20 was also considered as a strategic forum by Professor Ahmet T Kuru from the United States University of San Diego. He said that minorities often experienced discrimination and exclusion from the majority. This happened in various places with diverse ethnicity and religion.

Therefore, the fulfillment of the rights of minority communities is one thing that can become a solution for the realization of world peace. The fulfillment of minority rights is really promising.

If religion can play its role, it can function as a solution to human problems, not as a problem.

Kuru saw that there had been efforts to realize the vision, whether from Judaism, Islam, or other religious groups. This can be seen from the presentations of each delegate on the traditions of Judaism, (Christian), Mormons, and Islam in fulfilling the rights of minorities.

A similar statement was also conveyed by the Director of Beit Midrash for Judaism and Humanity, Rabbi Yakov Nagen from the United States. He was grateful to be in the R20 event which was an important forum to bridge various religious viewpoints in various parts of the world. For the Middle Eastern people who have suffered so much, they needed religion to unite the people.

Rabbi Nagen, who currently also serves as Director of The Blickle Institute, believes that the collaboration between PBNU and the Muslim World League (MWL) in initiating R20 is the main gateway to achieve global peace, including in the Middle East.

R20 has brought hope and peace in reducing various conflicts between humans, ethnicities, and religions in the name of religion, even though religion teaches dialogue and peace with fellow humans. The differences are natural laws to get to know each other. Moreover, Indonesia has proven that unity actually brings progress, including Bali which is known as Hindu Island that opens for all religions.


Source: Antara News

Indonesian, Japanese firms sign MoU for biomass supply

The Indonesian Embassy in Japan has facilitated the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between   PPT Energy Trading (PPT ET)  of Japan and  PT. Agro Industri Mandiri, and  PT Inti Persada of Indonesia for the supply of biomass.

In addition, the embassy also facilitated the inking of an MoU between  PT Riu Mamba Karya Sentosa and PT Alam Bumi Cemerlang in Fukuoda, Japan, on Friday, to conduct a study for the construction of wood pellet   plant.

“The Indonesian Embassy in Tokyo is always ready to become a bridge for various cooperation opportunities,” Indonesian Ambassador to Japan Heri Akhmadi noted in a statement on Saturday.

Indonesia is blessed with abundant  biomass. With large forestry industry, the country is one of the biggest wood product exporters in the world, he noted.

Indonesia’s export of palm oil shell to other countries such as Japan for biomass raw material also showed an upward trend, he continued.

This upward trend offers major opportunities for cooperation between Indonesia and Japan specifically in the  renewable energy sector . Through the collective effort the two countries will be able to reach their carbon neutrality target.

Along with the government’s commitment to convert diesel power plant (PLTD) to biomass power plant (PLTBm) and high demand for biomass in Japan, Akhmadi believes that the opportunity for cooperation  in the energy sector is  wide open

Chairman of Kyudenko Corporation Matsuji Nishimura also underlined the importance of renewable energy development plan for decarbonization in accordance  with Japan’s commitment.

To this end, he deemed the cooperation with Indonesia, which has a wide Energy Plantation Forest area, to be very important.

Meanwhile, Head of Pertamina East Asia Agus Witjaksono noted that the cooperation will focus on biomass energy since Indonesia has a large biomass resources for Japanese market.

“With the inking of MoU  between PPT Energy Trading with Indonesian partner, we expect to contribute more to supplying biomass from Indonesia to Japan,” he remarked.


Source: Antara News

6.1-magnitude quake jolts southwest of Sitaro Islands

A 6.1-magnitude earthquake jolted southwest of Ondong, Sitaro Islands, North Sulawesi Province, on Sunday morning, according to the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG).

The epicenter of the earthquake, which struck at 07.30 WIB (West Indonesia Standard Time), was located at sea, about 69 kilometers southwest of Ondong at a depth of 255 kilometers, the agency stated in a press statement.

The tremor was felt by people in North Morotai at Modified Mercalli Intensity (MMI) scale III and Ternate at MMI scale II .

An earthquake of MMI II was felt by some people and resulted in the hung light articles shaking, while an eartthquake of MMI III could be felt indoors akin to the movement of a truck..

No immediate report was received of casualties or injuries.

Indonesia lies on the Ring of Fire along the north-eastern islands adjacent of New Guinea and the Alpide belt along the south and west from Sumatra, Java, Bali, Flores, and Timor.

The motion of the fault generates numerous small earthquakes on a daily basis.


Source: Antara News

Riau Islands Governor urges residents to be wary of Omicron XBB

Governor of Riau Islands Ansar Ahmad has urged residents to be wary of the Omicron XBB subvariant of COVID-19 and continue to implement the health protocol to avoid the virus infection.

According to the governor, residents’ compliance toward the health protocol has declined as most of them did not wear masks in public places.

“If there are 10 people in a single room, only three to five people that wear a mask at most,” Ahmad who concurrently Head of the Riau Islands COVID-19 Handling Task Force stated here on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Spokeperson of the Riau Islands COVID-19 Handling Task Force Tjetjep Yudiana said that the Omicron XBB subvariant may have entered Riau Islands’ territory.

“If we analyze the COVID-19 rapid infection, this (may occur because of) the Omicron XBB,” he explained.

Wearing a mask is one of the efforts to prevent the COVID-19 coronavirus infection, he informed.

To this end, he reminded residents to wear a mask while carrying out activities in public places to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19 attack.

“Based on the experience of COVID-19 patients, all of us have already learned how painful it is to be infected with COVID-19,” he remarked.

“When we are suffering, we isolate ourselves to prevent infecting the virus to others. I think that everyone do not want to get infected with COVID-19,” he continued.

Within the last two weeks, COVID-19 active cases in Riau Islands increased from 36 to 101. Batam has 73 cases, Tanjungpinang has five cases, Bintan has 14 cases, and Karimun has nine cases.

“We need to be wary of Omicron XBB, a COVID-19 subvariant. This virus infects more easily even though it is not too dangerous,” he noted.


Source: Antara News

BKKBN provides health management training to Afghanistan delegations

The National Population and Family Planning Agency (BKKBN) provided training on mother and child health as well as family planning service program management to 38 delegates from Afghanistan.

The training entitled Capacity Building on Maternal Health, Children, and Family Welfare Program for the Afghan delegations has been held in Yogyakarta from November 4 to 11, 2022, according to press statement from BKKBN, Sunday.

Head of BKKBN Hasto Wardoyo noted that the training is part of the Indonesian government’s donation toward Afghanistan to help the country improve its citizens’ welfare.

The training is expected to help in improving the capacity of Afghanistan’s regulators or administrators in managing mother and child health as well as family planning policy and service program, he said.

“We represent Indonesian government in urging the Afghanistan government to consider the issue of stunting for a better future of their nation’s successors,” he remarked.

Yogyakarta Health Office Head Pembajun Setyaningastutie said that participants not only receive materials in the class, but also conduct field visit to learn mother and child health as well as family planning service program practice.

Participants’ assistant Matiullah noted that economic and social condition plays a major role in the decline of health service quality in Afghanistan and the unequal geographical condition and population spread exacerbate the circumstance.

He expects that delegations from Afghanistan can receive valuable experience while participating in the capacity development training.

“We recruited the training participants through judicious selection so that they can turn the training result to be a model for mother and child health as well as family planning service quality development,” he remarked.


Source: Antara News

Youngsters should have basic digital technology skills: Minister

Younger generation should have a basic digital technology capability in welcoming the society 5.0 era, Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture Muhadjir Effendy stated.

“Younger generation should master digital technology to welcome the society 5.0 era as an update that places human as the main component (of the society),” he said in a statement, Saturday.

He highlighted three main skills that the younger generation should have in welcoming the society 5.0 era. This include the ability to solve complex problems and become problem solver for themselves and many others.

The second involves the ability to think critically, not just in the classroom, but also in society to develop social awareness, while the third relates to the capability to be creative.

To support this, the government continues to distribute and expand internet network connection across all of Indonesia, he said.

In addition, the government implements digital technology as a learning media and strengthen the relevancy of education with the working world.

“Several of these aspects become a key factor for Indonesia to expedite the entry toward digital economy and utilize it,” he remarked.

The minister also highlighted the importance of digital literacy as a crucial factor in anticipating technology abuse.

“Literacy in this case is not just about technology mastery, but also provide knowledge to the people on correct technology utilization,” he explained.

Improving digital literacy should be coupled with character strengthening and education, especially for students.

“The government’s entire effort to improve the quality of human resources is to welcome sovereign, developed, fair, and prosperous Golden Indonesia 2045,” he said.

The younger generation must be capable of becoming an informed, noble, adaptive, and collaborative individuals to welcome the changes in the world that rapidly occur, he noted.

“To realize this, education plays an important role in welcoming the society 5.0 era. Moreover, the involvement of every party is necessary, starting from teachers to parents,” he remarked.


Source: Antara News

G20: Pos Indonesia moves to guarantee postal, logistics services

PT Pos Indonesia (Persero) has ensured that all postal and logistics services run smoothly ahead of and during the G20 Summit in Bali from November 15 to 16, 2022.

Director of courier and logistics business at Pos Indonesia, Siti Choiriana, said that PosAja has a great mandate of contributing to the provision of quality infrastructure and post, courier, and logistics services during the G20 activity.

“We believe that the G20 Summit will be able to have a positive impact (and support the vision) for a better shared future,” she added in a statement issued in Jakarta on Saturday.

Choiriana, also known as Ana, said that Pos Indonesia has prepared 756 employees at 146 service points spread across all G20 locations.

In addition, it has arranged 36 cars, 2 large six-wheeled cars, and 228 motorcycles that can be used to support logistics and mail distribution during the G20 Summit.

“The service network reaches up to 228 countries and all domestic areas,” Choiriana informed.

She further said that Pos Indonesia, as a state-owned company engaged in postal services and delivery, is also committed to helping realize the carbon neutrality target of the Indonesian government through the use of electric vehicles and solar power plants (PLTS).

As part of this commitment, at least 100 vehicles at the post office in Bali area will switch to electric vehicles and their electrical energy will be sourced from solar power. Currently, the post office in Bali has as many as 30 electric vehicles.

The company is committed to ensuring low vehicle emissions and the use of renewable energy to demonstrate Indonesia’s seriousness in carrying out the energy transition program to the world, she said.

“Agreement for total in Bali. We are trying to immediately approach the vehicle (target) so that all motorcycle operations in Bali can be carried out,” she added.

The G20 Summit in Bali is the culmination of the series of G20 events that have been taking place since the end of 2021. At the summit of the conference, President Joko Widodo will directly chair a meeting attended by the leaders of G20 countries.


Source: Antara News

After Kanjuruhan tragedy, Indonesia pursues football transformation

The Kanjuruhan stadium stampede in Malang district, East Java, on October 1, 2022, which left 135 people, including 43 children, dead, 93 seriously injured, and 484 lightly wounded, has emerged as one of the deadliest disasters in world football history.

Two separate investigations—one conducted by the joint independent fact-finding team (TGIPF) formed by the Indonesian government and another by the National Commission of Human Rights (Komnas HAM)—have confirmed that the use of tear gas by the police triggered the deadly crowd crush.

Their findings are in accordance with information provided by eyewitnesses and survivors of the stampede.

TGIPF, which was headed by Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, Mahfud MD, submitted the results of its investigation to President Joko Widodo on October 14. Meanwhile, Komnas HAM shared the results of its investigation with the press on November 2.

“This has indeed been our standing point from the start. Tear gas was the main trigger for the deaths, injuries, or trauma,” a member of the commission, Choirul Anam, said at a press conference in Jakarta on November 2.

The police fired tear gas 45 times during the incident, according to another Komnas HAM member, Beka Ulung Hapsara.

The Kanjuruhan stampede occurred following a football match between Arema FC of Malang and Persebaya of Surabaya. Only supporters of Arema were present at the stadium during the match, as supporters of Persebaya were not allowed into the stadium due to security concerns.

Chaos broke out at the stadium when several Arema supporters stormed the pitch after the team lost 2–3 to Persebaya.

The Malang police, who were supported by military personnel in guarding the match, tried to restore order by firing tear gas, among other measures.

On October 20, Minister Mahfud said that the police and the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) were equally responsible for the incident.

Based on its investigation, the TGIPF made 12 recommendations, including undertaking a transformation of Indonesian football, implementing new security procedures, and carrying out stadium renovations, which the government said it will pursue promptly with the support of the world football governing body, Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).

The team also recommended that PSSI chairman Mochamad Iriawan, a retired police general, resign to take moral responsibility for the incident.

Since October 24, the Indonesian Police have detained six suspects. They include Malang Police’s operation division head, a local commander of the East Java Police’s Mobile Brigade, and the head of Malang Police’s public order unit. They also include three civilians from the football match’s organizing committee, namely PT Liga Indonesia Baru president director, chief of Arema FC’s organizing committee, and a security guard at Kanjuruhan stadium.

On October 15, head of the Indonesian Police’s public relations division, Inspector General Dedi Prasetyo, said that the police will no longer use tear gas in stadiums.

“We will prioritize stewards for (stadium) safety in the future. We will no longer utilize tear gas and other crowd control equipment that could provoke spectators in stadiums,” Prasetyo added.

Support from FIFA

The Kanjuruhan tragedy shocked the world, including FIFA, which prohibits the use of tear gas in football stadiums.

“This is a dark day for all involved in football and a tragedy beyond comprehension. I extend my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims who lost their lives following this tragic incident,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said on October 1.

President Widodo, who visited Kanjurahan Stadium on October 5 and also met with the victims of the stampede at Malang hospital, told the media that he had ordered an audit of all football stadiums in Indonesia to prevent a recurrence of the tragedy.

He further said that he had spoken to the FIFA president on October 3 to discuss the incident.

Following the telephonic conversation, Widodo received a letter from FIFA stating that Indonesia will not be subjected to sanctions over the Kanjuruhan incident.

“Based on the letter (from FIFA), Alhamdulillah (thank God), Indonesian football is not liable to a sanction,” the President said on October 8.

He informed that FIFA and the Indonesian government will set up a football transformation team that will have an office in Indonesia during the football transformation process.

FIFA will help transform Indonesia’s football in five aspects, including football stadiums’ safety and security standards and police’s football match security procedures.

Infantino arrived in Indonesia on October 18 to meet President Widodo and PSSI head Iriawan to further discuss the transformation of Indonesian football.

Prior to meeting Widodo, Infantino was greeted by Youth and Sports Minister Zainudin Amali as well as State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Minister Erick Thohir, a businessman and former owner of Inter Milan, who reportedly played a significant role in lobbying FIFA following the Kanjuruhan incident.

It was later announced that FIFA has allowed Indonesia to organize the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup as scheduled.

“All aspects of the preparations (for the U-20 World Cup) until its implementation must be ensured to run (smoothly) as well as to be handled properly and professionally according to FIFAs standards,” Widodo said at a joint press conference with Infantino after their meeting at the Presidential Palace.

The statement reemphasized that Indonesia still holds the right to host the FIFA U-20 World Cup. Earlier, several parties had raised concerns that the right may be revoked in the aftermath of the Kanjuruhan incident.

In addition, Widodo said that he expected Infantino’s visit to serve as a momentum for improving the Indonesian football system.

He informed that during the meeting, he and Infantino discussed the Kanjuruhan tragedy in detail and the latter expressed deep sympathy and concern over the incident.

“We agree that this tragedy is a very important lesson for Indonesian football and also for the world of football. Don’t let this incident happen again, don’t let the joy of the football match spectators end in sorrow and disaster,” he remarked.

They also agreed on the need for a complete transformation of Indonesian football, including ensuring that all aspects of matches meet the security standards set by FIFA.

“Both players and spectators must be safe. Thus, we agreed to review the feasibility of the stadiums and apply technology to help mitigate various potentials that endanger spectators and players,” Widodo said.

On the same occasion, Infantino voiced FIFA’s readiness to work with the Indonesian government to ensure the successful implementation of the 2023 U-20 World Cup, which will take place from May 20 to June 11, 2023. Around 24 countries are expected to participate in the competition.

Infantino also emphasized that the FIFA team is not merely visiting Indonesia, but will stay in the country to ensure that the spirit of transformation of Indonesian football is applied thoroughly.

Widodo also announced that Kanjuruhan Stadium will be demolished and a new stadium will be built at the site in accordance with FIFA standards.

“FIFA has lauded (our plan) for Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, which we will demolish and rebuild according to FIFA standards,” he said while delivering the joint press statement.

A month has passed since the Kanjuruhan tragedy, but the tears of the families and friends of the victims are yet to dry.

Devi Athok Yulfitri on November 5 could not hold back tears when he visited the graves of his daughters, Natasya Debi Ramadani (16) and Naila Debi Anggraini (13), and his ex-wife Debi Asta (35)–who were killed in the stampede.

He visited the graves as six forensic doctors of East Java’s Indonesian Forensic Doctors Association (PDFI) prepared to conduct an autopsy on the siblings as part of the investigation into the tragedy.


Source: Antara News