Author: Pat Walsh

  • INTERNATIONAL

    Ahok is innocent and Indonesia needs him

    • Pat Walsh
    • 15 May 2017
    11 Comments

    Did he denounce Islam as 'evil' like the American evangelist Franklin Graham? Did he publicly denounce God as 'stupid' like Stephen Fry? On the contrary. Ahok is deeply respectful of Islam and has many Muslim supporters. The affair has done a serious disservice to Indonesia, presenting it as fanatical, racist and sectarian. While these perceptions are unfair, the affair also reveals some aspects of contemporary Indonesia that are obscured by Canberra's often lavish praise of our important neighbour.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Swept into the milky past

    • Pat Walsh
    • 17 May 2016
    2 Comments

    The sound of my old yard broom, worn bristles rasping the brick path, wet with last night's rain, picks at a faint memory that grows louder with each stroke, and carries me back across borders of seasons, lives and landscapes, to a time of rubbing gumboots sucking through the quickmud, hands hugging mugs of steaming tea, the uphill heartbeat of the engine, the baby bleating of hungry calves, voices cussing and coughing, and the scrape of yard brooms pushing back the tide of muck ...

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Search for truth continues 50 years after Indonesia's purge

    • Pat Walsh
    • 01 October 2015
    2 Comments

    Like Tony Abbott before him, Malcolm Turnbull is slated to make Jakarta one of his first overseas ports of call as prime minister. His visit will occur as calls grow louder in Indonesia and elsewhere for the truth to be told about the massacres of up to 1 million Indonesians 50 years ago this October. It is assumed that at the time Canberra did not protest the massive miscarriage of justice and international law that occurred. It can now compensate in a small way for that silence by making public what it knew.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Indonesia shows its ugly side with regressive executions

    • Pat Walsh
    • 29 April 2015
    16 Comments

    Indonesia is a country of great promise with a significant, maybe crucial, contribution to make to our troubled world. As a very large, pluralist, Muslim-majority democracy it offers a template for other societies in transition. President SBY was acutely aware of this opportunity and through his democracy forums and other initiatives did much to re-brand Indonesia in this positive light. All this good work is being undone by the anal, small-town thinking the executions represent.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Nice guy Jokowi a death penalty strong man

    • Pat Walsh
    • 04 February 2015
    17 Comments

    The execution of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran is expected to take place on Nusakembangan, a prison island off Central Java. Visitors there are greeted by a sign which translates: 'They are not criminals, just lost people, and it is never too late to repent'. To be executed after you repent, however, is certainly too late. It also diminishes Indonesia. But let’s not write Indonesia off.     

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    New Indonesian president offers hope for West Papua

    • Pat Walsh
    • 01 September 2014
    4 Comments

    Since its foundation as a modern state in the 1940s, Indonesia has been plagued by a series of conflicts that have threatened the dream of a united republic, inflicted grievous human rights violations and poisoned perceptions of the place, not least in Australia. Only West Papua, perhaps the most complex and intractable of them all, remains. 

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Indonesia's new paradigm must include the past

    • Pat Walsh
    • 29 July 2014
    10 Comments

    The day after the result of Indonesia's presidential election was announced, I joined crowds of excited Indonesians in central Jakarta to celebrate Jokowi's election as Indonesia's seventh president. Did you see the rainbow? asked a supporter. I hadn't, but even if the heavens had opened and soaked everybody to the skin, it would have been taken as another sign that God too had voted for Jokowi.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Australia should be worried about a Prabowo presidency

    • Pat Walsh
    • 07 July 2014
    3 Comments

    Both candidates for Indonesia's 9 July presidential election – Jokowi and Prabowo – have said Australia does not seem to trust Indonesia, but they would continue President SBY’s good neighbour policy. Prabowo later repeated this assurance to the media and diplomats. His message is that Australia and the international community have nothing to worry about from a Prabowo presidency. The prospects are very different. 

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Nailing Indonesia's next president

    • Pat Walsh
    • 24 June 2014
    9 Comments

    On 9 July, Indonesians will vote on their next president by punching a hole in a ballot paper with a large nail. Timor-Leste used the same system for its historic independence ballot in 1999. The issues differ of course but the choices to be made are equally stark. Democratic development and human rights in Indonesia will either advance or regress depending on who is nailed next month.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Abbott's mixed messages for Indonesia

    • Pat Walsh
    • 03 October 2013
    15 Comments

    I suspect that Abbott's visit has left Indonesians with a poor impression of Australia. Dewi Fortuna Anwar, political adviser to Indonesia's Vice President Boediono, described the Abbott asylum seeker policy as 'callous'. Abbott's heavy handedness also contrasts sharply with the sensitive way Jakarta's popular governor, Jokowi, is managing complex change, for which Indonesians feel genuine enthusiasm.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Indonesia gives a Gonski

    • Pat Walsh
    • 24 July 2013
    3 Comments

    Like Australia's Gonski reforms, Indonesia's initiatives are designed to give its economy a competitive edge by upgrading its human resources. But the changes also have the potential to radically transform Indonesia in other ways. Future generations who have been encouraged to think for themselves, to question and to criticise will be very different citizens to their forbears.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Kevin Rudd and Indonesia's Obama

    • Pat Walsh
    • 04 July 2013
    10 Comments

    Rudd's visit to Jakarta this week will be judged on the outcome of asylum seeker discussions. But he needs also to send a clear message about Australia's hopes for next year's presidential elections. Candidates include a former military commander with a dubious human rights record, and a civilian being described as Indonesia's Obama.

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