Sunday, September 18, 2011

Indonesian women stage skirt protest over rape remarks

BBC News, 18September 2011


Dozens ofIndonesian women wearing miniskirts have protested in Jakarta after the citygovernor blamed rapes on provocative clothing.

The citygovernor had said women should not wear
short skirts when using publictransport
The activistscarried signs reading "My miniskirt, my right" and "Don't tellus how to dress; tell them not to rape."

On Friday,Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo warned females not to wear short skirts on publictransport in order to avoid being raped.

He quickly apologised,but his comments were widely publicised.

Earlierthis month a woman was gang-raped in a minivan in Jakarta late at night.

"Weare here to express our anger. Instead of giving heavy punishment to therapists, the governor blamed it on women's dress. This is discrimination,"protest co-ordinator Chika Noya told AFP news agency.

There havebeen more than 100,000 cases of violence against women so far this year inIndonesia, 4% of which were rape cases, according to the country's NationalCommission for Women's Affairs.

Two titles for Indonesia in folkdance festival in Turkey

The JakartaPost, Jakarta | Sun, 09/18/2011

LabschoolKebayoran junior high school students who represented Indonesia in theinternational art and culture folkdance festival held in Bodrum, Turkey,brought home “best performance” and “best participant” titles.

The titleswere received by the Indonesian contingent in the closing ceremony on Saturdayevening local time, early Sunday morning Jakarta time.

“TheIndonesian contingent received awards in two categories, ‘best performance’ and‘best participant’ said parent Afrizal Akmal, as quoted by Antara news wire.

Afrizalsaid that the Indonesian team of 22 students performed several Indonesiantraditional dances, including Lenggang Nyai, Giring-Giring, Saman and Piringdances, to impress the audience during the week-long festival.

“All dancesturned the heads of the audience, especially energetic Saman dance, whichreceived great applause," he said.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Rawagede: still waiting for Dutch aid money

RNW, 13September 2011, by Michel Maas



Theyweren't allowed to call it reparation money or a compensation payment and ithad nothing to do with the 1947 massacre in Rawagede, but at the beginning of2009, the then Development Cooperation Minister Bert Koenders earmarked€850,000 for Balongsari, a small county in Java, Indonesia. It was developmentaid money and ostensibly had nothing to do with the fact that the village ofRawagede is also in Balongsari County.

On 9December 1947, Dutch troops rounded up and killed an estimated 431 men in theJavanese village of Rawagede. It was one of the worst massacres during the‘Dutch police action’ in the Dutch East Indies just after the Second World War.

It’s almost64 years later and the Dutch government still shies away from anyacknowledgement of guilt or hint of responsibility. It’s purely development aidmoney and not a reparations payment or compensation and it’s not for Rawagede,it’s for the entire county. The €850,000 was supposed to fund a school, amarket and expand the hospital in the village.


Some 30months have elapsed since the money was allocated but almost nothing has beenaccomplished. On the outskirts of the village, a rice paddy measuring aroundone hectare has been cleared but the school still hasn’t been built. The localauthorities say the building plans are ready and they’re just waiting for themoney. Sukarman say construction will begin as soon as they get the money. He’sthe chairman of foundation that has already built one school in Rawagede; itstands across the road from the cleared rice paddy and has some 800 studentsalready. Sukarman: “We built that school in just 3 months. The World Bank gavethe money to our local foundation and we could arrange everything directly”.

The Dutchdevelopment aid money is taking a different route: it’s not going to Rawagede,it’s not going to Balongsari, and it’s not even going to the district ofKarawang; it’s going to the interior ministry in Jakarta. The ministry isresponsible for deciding who can build a school and when. The Hague has signedan agreement with the Ministry and a portion of the money was transferred lastDecember. The local authorities have still not received any notification fromJakarta and they still have no idea when, or if, the project will be started.

The Dutchembassy in Jakarta has defended the bureaucratic maze, calling it ‘due care andattention’. Ambassador Annemieke Ruigrok: “All of the projects must have asustainable character and everything has to be carefully calibrated and theindividual projects need to be coordinated with each other. Due care andattention take time.” She added that the ministry is currently “working out thefinal details.”


It’s notclear what "working out the details" means, nor is there any sign of‘coordination’. Even though the local authorities have had their plans readyand waiting for the past 2 years, the ministry still hasn’t made any contactwith them.

Not all ofthe money that was allocated in 2009 is in Jakarta; €254,500 went to the DutchHivos foundation. The organisation has used some of the money to fundmicro-credit loans in Rawagede. Hundreds of people in the village – andhundreds of others in neighbouring villages – have taken advantage of the HIVOS microcredit loans. A total of €106,533 has been lent so far, while the restof the €850,000 is doing nothing for the people of Rawagede.

Hivos hasset a cooperative up and it now has 1247 members. It is supposed to be runningan organic shop and the Dutch foundation has so far funded it to the tune of€50,000. The head of the cooperative, Riyadi, acknowledges that the shop hasn’tyet been set up although a small gas canister business has gotten off theground. According to Riyadi, the €50,000 has been sent spent on operational costsand salaries.


Severalattempts to get compensation for the victims’ relatives were dismissed on thegrounds that the events took place so long ago that the charges had lapsed. OnWednesday, judges will issue a ruling on a case brought by four relatives ofRawagede victims; they are demanding an apology and compensation.

Theirlawyer, Liesbeth Zegveld, does not believe that the case has expired, sayingthat the Netherlands still handles cases dating from World War Two. If thejudges rule in favour of the plaintiffs, it could have huge consequences forthe victims - and their relatives - of other Dutch ‘police actions’ as theycould also claim compensation.