Thu, 13 Apr 2000

Official apology is wrong

First of all, I would like to extend my apologies to the readers of The Jakarta Post and Chichi Marti for my emotionally laden reply of April 1. I became overly angry after being called a colonialist, coward and neo-Nazi and the strong sarcasm in my reply was uncalled for. This time I only call a foul for being called misleading and irrelevant (the Post, April 5, 2000) for using the word "if" once, not repeatedly.

Y. Santo, I meant no insult in assuming you were Catholic in my letter of March 30, 2000. It only served as an example of the misuse of religion. I tend to agree with most points in your reply (the Post, April 5, 2000), though I hope your indication of the lack of an official apology for our colonial history is wrong. Also please don't use religion as a measure, as its perception deviates strongly both over time and between perceptions. Sadly, there are still religious leaders that claim conversion through violence is acceptable. Let's judge ourselves in the light of humanity, which extends within and between religions.

Having reread all the related articles, I agree with Aboeprijadi Santoso that it is striking how quickly the discussion became diverted from the actual message ( April 10, 2000). But, judging from the heated discussions in the Netherlands on our colonial past that still sometimes alight today, it is not very surprising for a country whose recognition of its colonial past is still so fresh. My deepest respect goes therefore to Pak Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur) and his associates for addressing such a sensitive issue.


Bogor, West Java