Peace Movement, Indonesia and ASEM: Some Issues

Peace movement has long existed in Indonesia and continued to grow amidst the complexities of economic, social and political problems, which was inherited by colonialization and also the New Order regime. The emergence of peace movement might be considered as the initiatives of civilian community element in response to the violence problems occurred at domestic and international levels.

Some instances of peace movement in Indonesia include students’ movement, ‘baku bae’ movement (local terminology representing way to resolve communal conflict in eastern regions of Indonesia), movement of caring mother’s voice, movements protesting America’s aggression policies against Iraq and opposing Israel’s state terrorism against Palestinians. Meanwhile, the Legal Aid Institution (LBH) has so far continued to encourage peace movement by facilitating public gathering and staging rallies together with poor societies who become the clients of LBH.

The attempts to encourage peace movement have by all means sparked criticisms. They criticized the peace movement for failing to achieve maximum output due to the fact that the movement did not involve political movement to take hold of formal political power of the state institution. For instance, in some extent, the refutation of the U.S. aggressive policies would be meaningful in formal politics and diplomatic ties when the refutation statement was addressed by President Megawati Soekarnoputri, rather than, hundreds statements on such issue were addressed by a hundred activists of peace movement in Indonesia.

Those critiques surely are only one part of the major themes to discus in this forum. However, the ultimate point is that exchanging knowledge and experience as well as building globally a joint movement will be advantageous to achieve the objectives. Cooperation among the peace movement activists across from Asia and Europe become crucial due partly to two reasons. First, many Asian countries have historical ties with European countries. Indonesia, for instance, has historical bond with Portuguese, Great Britain, and the Netherlands.

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