Rev. Elice Higginbotham,
Member, Executive Committee, East Timor and Indonesia Action Network
The “World Statesman Award,” and the New York-based Appeal of Conscience Foundation that proposes to make the presentation on May 30 at a (what else?) gala fundraising dinner, evoke scarcely a sign of recognition among the general public almost anywhere – quite unlike, for example, SBY’s recent achievement of knighthood at the hand of the Queen of England, an honor with considerable international cultural resonance. The recognition by the Queen generated, in conversation among Indonesians, either enthusiastic approval or uproarious derision, but little else.
On the other hand, “Appeal of Conscience” and “World Statesman” have touched a nerve.
No day has gone by in recent weeks without a public statement or news release, a newspaper, TV, blog or other internet reference, and public demonstrations have included faces and voices, particularly religious ones, that seldom appear in public, still more rarely together. Human rights activists, NGOs, Christians and Muslims are united in their effort to make the Appeal of Conscience Foundation aware that it has made a grave mistake.
ETAN has joined the protest.
I recently attended a service by the under-threat GKI Yasmin church. One of the church leaders spoke about their ongoing effort to bring before the Appeal of Conscience the folly of its decision to promote SBY as a "statesman" of world renown, which gave me the opportunity to talk about ETAN's petition and other organizing endeavors, which received claps and cheers.
ETAN is circulating a petition opposing the award and plan a demonstration - should the award go ahead - for May 30 in New York City at the hotel where the gala will take place.
SIGN THE PETITION