Indonesia: A beacon for the Arab Spring, a triumph over dictatorship and extremism

David Cameron today lavished praise on Indonesia - the country with the world's largest Muslim population - hailing it as a model to the Muslim world.

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David Cameron today lavished praise on Indonesia, hailing it as a model to the Muslim world; the country with the world’s largest Muslim population, a democracy, free and true, with religious freedom enshrined in its constitution – the ultimate example for the aspirant Arab Spring nation throwing off the yoke of tyranny.

Coat-of-Arms-of-Indonesia-Garuda-PancasilaHe told students at Jakarta’s Al-Azhar University:

“What Indonesia shows is that in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, it is possible to reject this extremist threat and prove that democracy and Islam can flourish alongside each other.

“That’s why what you are doing here is so important, because it gives heart to those around the world who are engaged in the same struggle.”

Cameron called the country’s transition from the regime of Soeharto – who resigned in 1998 – to today’s modern democracy an “extraordinary journey”, one which sees Indonesia with a higher proportion of female politicians (27.3 per cent) than Britain (21 per cent).

Of the current despots terrorising their countries, the prime minister focused on Syria’s President Assad, describing him as one of the world’s “dangerous foes” to be consigned to history, like slavery and apartheid, that subjugate populations and deny them their destiny:

“Where cries for reform are being resisted and the people are being repressed – just as they are today in Syria – we must oppose the authoritarian. Because the longer Assad stays, the more dangerous things become for his people and the greater the likelihood of a bloody civil war…

“Wherever vision of democracy and citizenship has been advanced, it has encountered dangerous foes. From slavery in America to the civil rights movement a century later. From apartheid in South Africa to the situation in Syria today.”

The likes of Assad, he said, were part of the four major threats to democracy: authoritarian leaders, corrupt elites, extremists and tribalists.

Crucially, on Islamist extremists, whose rise across the region threatens the democratisation of the Middle East, he said:

“There is a problem across the globe with Islamist extremism, which is a political ideology supported by a minority…

“[We must condemn] extremists – some of whom are violent – and all of whom want to impose a particular and very radical, extreme version of Islamism on society to the exclusion of all others. And this total rejection of debate and democratic consent means they believe that democracy and Islam are incompatible.”

Adding of the emergence of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt:

“The world will expect them to live up to the commitments they have made to protect the rule of law for all citizens, to defend the rights of the Coptic Christians and minority groups and to accept that democracy means they will be held accountable in the courts, and that they should not pervert the democratic process to hold on to power should the will of the people change.”

 


See also:

2012 – the year the world must wake up to Christian persecution 8 Jan 2012

Shahbaz Bhatti assassination: Who will stand up to the extremists now 2 Mar 2011

A “new” age of Christian persecution? 23 Jan 2011


 

Egyptians, Indonesians, Syrians… humans, deserving of the right to vote, to live free from terror, free from fear, free to shape their future. Standing up in defence of these values, be it in Libya or soon in Syria, is not only the right thing to do but is in our national interest; we do indeed all breathe the same air, all cherish our children’s future, and are all mortal.

As the prime minister today said, the only way is democracy, the only way is Indonesia:

“What Indonesia is showing is that it is possible to develop a democracy and a modern economy that neither compromises people’s security, nor their ability to practice their religion. Indeed, far from endangering safety, prosperity and religious identity, it is democracy that helps to ensure them.

“And this has huge implications for others around the world seeking the same fundamental freedoms, in places like Egypt, Iran, and Syria. Indonesia’s transformation is not just vital to its own future, prosperity and security – if Indonesia can succeed, it can lead the world in showing how democracy can offer an alternative to the dead-end choice of dictatorship or extremism.”

 


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18 Responses to “Indonesia: A beacon for the Arab Spring, a triumph over dictatorship and extremism”

  1. freiahill

    Indonesia: A beacon for the Arab Spring, a triumph over dictatorship and extremism: http://t.co/jPdYQows by @ShamikDas

  2. Shamik Das

    Indonesia: A beacon for the Arab Spring, a triumph over dictatorship and extremism: http://t.co/jPdYQows by @ShamikDas

  3. Sean Earner

    Indonesia: A beacon for the Arab Spring, a triumph over dictatorship and extremism: http://t.co/jPdYQows by @ShamikDas

  4. leftlinks

    Left Foot Forward – Indonesia: A beacon for the Arab Spring, a triumph over dictatorship and… http://t.co/5A3j5okZ

  5. Trakgalvis

    RT @leftfootfwd: Indonesia: A beacon for the Arab Spring, a triumph over dictatorship and extremism: http://t.co/vHbRMYll by @ShamikDas

  6. Spir.Sotiropoulou

    RT @leftfootfwd: Indonesia: A beacon for the Arab Spring, a triumph over dictatorship and extremism http://t.co/IBms4vI0

  7. Anonymous

    Where would the world be without the wisdom of David Cameron?

  8. Mr. Sensible

    I am in agreement with Cameron on this.

  9. Political Planet

    Indonesia: A beacon for the Arab Spring, a triumph over dictatorship and extremism: David Cameron today lavished… http://t.co/1hTg39Po

  10. 45 Apples

    RT @leftfootfwd: Indonesia: A beacon for the Arab Spring, a triumph over dictatorship and extremism: http://t.co/nXf2V3Pk by @ShamikDas

  11. Benjamin Mackie

    BACK IN THE REAL WORLD:

    “West Papuan activists voiced outrage. Annexed by the Suharto dictatorship in 1969, the region has seen decades of human rights abuses including arson, torture and massacres at the hands of Indonesian forces.

    As recently as October, three people were killed and 90 injured after police in armoured carriers opened fire on peaceful protesters, while just last month five men were jailed for three years on charges of treason for organising the event…

    Mr Cameron became an unlikely celebrity among West Papuans on the 2010 campaign trail, when he said exiles in his electorate had described a “terrible situation.”

    The comment, coupled with a meeting with exiled separatist leader Benny Wenda, sparked celebrations across West Papua as news spread of the coalition’s election win.

    Villagers gathered to wave pictures of Mr Cameron before reporters, while political prisoners Buchtar Tabuni and Victor Yiemo were pictured holding a “Congratulations David Cameron” placard – against the bars of their cell.

    The Free West Papua Campaign described the PM’s sales pitch as “one of the worst outcomes imaginable.

    “How can David Cameron meet Benny Wenda and describe the situation in West Papua as ‘terrible’ when it was Benny’s village that was bombed by British-made BAE Systems Hawk jets which continue to be sold to Indonesia?

    “This really is one of the worst outcomes imaginable of David Cameron talking about Indonesia.”

    Campaign Against The Arms Trade co-ordinator Kaye Stearman said Britain had a “terrible record” in the wake of the Hawk jets.

    Britain had already approved £48m worth of Indonesian sales since 2008, including £33m in parts for aircraft, helicopters and drones.

    “Now Cameron is to sell even more weaponry to a country which, although ostensibly a democracy, is still prosecuting a largely hidden war.”

    Morning Star

  12. Benjamin Mackie

    “West Papuan activists voiced outrage. Annexed by the Suharto dictatorship in 1969, the region has seen decades of human rights abuses including arson, torture and massacres at the hands of Indonesian forces.

    As recently as October, three people were killed and 90 injured after police in armoured carriers opened fire on peaceful protesters, while just last month five men were jailed for three years on charges of treason for organising the event…

    Mr Cameron became an unlikely celebrity among West Papuans on the 2010 campaign trail, when he said exiles in his electorate had described a “terrible situation.”

    The comment, coupled with a meeting with exiled separatist leader Benny Wenda, sparked celebrations across West Papua as news spread of the coalition’s election win.

    Villagers gathered to wave pictures of Mr Cameron before reporters, while political prisoners Buchtar Tabuni and Victor Yiemo were pictured holding a “Congratulations David Cameron” placard – against the bars of their cell.

    The Free West Papua Campaign described the PM’s sales pitch as “one of the worst outcomes imaginable.

    “How can David Cameron meet Benny Wenda and describe the situation in West Papua as ‘terrible’ when it was Benny’s village that was bombed by British-made BAE Systems Hawk jets which continue to be sold to Indonesia?

    “This really is one of the worst outcomes imaginable of David Cameron talking about Indonesia.”

    Campaign Against The Arms Trade co-ordinator Kaye Stearman said Britain had a “terrible record” in the wake of the Hawk jets.

    Britain had already approved £48m worth of Indonesian sales since 2008, including £33m in parts for aircraft, helicopters and drones.

    “Now Cameron is to sell even more weaponry to a country which, although ostensibly a democracy, is still prosecuting a largely hidden war.”

    Morning Star

  13. Geoff, England

    It’s a shame Cameron doesn’t have any plans for extending democracy to England, a mere 85% or so of the Divided Kingdom’s population. Before he lectures the rest of the world on the importance of democracy, he should get his own house in order.

  14. Anonymous

    Little Englander, making light of murder might be your idea of fun, but it’s not mine.

  15. Geoff, England

    Making light of murder isn’t my idea of fun, either, so I don’t indulge in such behaviour. I wasn’t commenting on the regime in Indonesia. I was commenting on Cameron’s hypocritical and nauseating grandstanding on the world stage. Read what other people write, instead of what you think they write.

  16. Anonymous

    Except, of course, the article is about Indonesia.

    And you’re dodging the fact that you just called this country a tyranny – as Indonesia used to be. I’m sure you’ll say that’s not what you meant either, of course.

    FPTP has major problems with representation, but it’s not Tyrannical! Meanwhile, the EU parliament is PR so it’s more representative, and…

  17. Neil

    RT @leftfootfwd: Indonesia: A beacon for the Arab Spring, a triumph over dictatorship and extremism: http://t.co/nXf2V3Pk by @ShamikDas

  18. Should we be concerned about Egypt’s new president? | Left Foot Forward

    […] See also: • Indonesia: A beacon for the Arab Spring, a triumph over dictatorship and extremism 12 Apr […]

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