Comment by Made Supraitma
Made Supriatma is an independent scholar and regular contributor to IndoProgess.
Feb. 16, 2016 - Today, President Jokowi visited the city of San Francisco. He was in the United States to attend a consultation meeting between the government of the United States and ASEAN. The meeting was held in the city of Palm Springs. Jokowi then took time to stop in San Francisco, possibly to make up for his failure to pay a visit to the West Coast during his visit to the U.S. last year. At that time, he shortened his visit due to catastrophic wildfires.
This afternoon, he met with the people who are members of an organization called Diaspora Indonesia. There was also a protest on that occasion. They raised posters that shouted their concerns about some of the issues that should be considered by the president. One banner urged him to "Reject Reclamation Benoa Bay." Other issues included human rights violations in Papua, the oppressed religious minorities such as Ahmadis and Shias, and the LGBT issues that are now emerging. Incidentally, San Francisco is the one of the most tolerant and supportive cities in America for LGBT people and their struggles.
The President and his aides who participated in the visit might have been surprised, wondering why local issues such as "Reject Reclamation Benoa Bay" sail away to the United States? That's because this issue is no longer a local issue. It is an international matter.
I doubt whether the president and his entourage had a chance to ask or especially reflect on an answer. They were too busy. Tomorrow they will meet with officials of tech companies (some of them LGBT!). But it would be a big mistake for the president and his entourage ignore these issues.
I just heard some stories that did preoccupy the president's entourage. A few days before his arrival, consular officers were busy contacting comrades planning the protest. They even send SMS messages saying, "Boss, there were guests from Jakarta who want to see you. Let's coffee-coffee." The Jakarta "guests" were from BIN (Indonesia's intelligence bureau). Brothers and sisters, you know it would be the greatest stupidity on the face of this earth to want to have coffee with the BIN! Is not it? Remember the case of Munir, who was poisoned cowardly when invited to drink coffee? Ha, that's him ...
During the action Jokowi's entourage did other annoying things, Officers from Paspampres (presidential security force) tried to prohibit the demonstration in front of the venue. What happened? San Francisco local police intervened, saying the demonstrators had a permit. This is America! Not Indonesia! Paspampres retreated.
Also annoying was the behavior of BIN. They tried to ask the names of the participants in the action, where they live, how long they have been in America, and so forth. Then out of nowhere, they began to call the name of one of the participants in the action in a very provocative manner.
I think as a matter of free speech we suffered a setback at the time of Jokowi's visit. I remember the [September 2012] demonstration against SBY in New York . Indonesian spies did not dare to approach. They just take photos from across the street. They did organize a counter demonstration and accused us of being paid protesters. This accusation was met with a very sweet by John M. Miller, ETAN coordinator, "We do not rent the crowd here in the U.S., but we do not mind to take your money. ETAN needs money for campaigning."
Intelligence was contrived to provide an early warning about the opponents of foreign states and countries, especially those who would undermine the existence of the state, not to silence opposition or pressue those who disagree with the government to change their minds. Jokowi, I think government should be reminded of that.
My honeymoon with Jokowi's reign is over. I wait for you in New York, Mr. President!
see also San Francisco Protest: Demand President Jokowi Support Justice for All