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Peace Matters – Review of The Third Force in the Vietnam War: The Elusive Search for Peace, 1954-75

American Quakers with North Vietnamese soldiers shortly after the war ended in 1975; Quinn-Judge, far right. Photograph: Claudia Krich

Peace matters by Christopher Goscha in Mekong Review, n° 7

Review of Sophie Quinn-Judge, The Third Force in the Vietnam War: The Elusive Search for Peace, 1954-75, I. B. Tauris, 2017.

Article en accès libre pendant quelques jours sur : https://mekongreview.com/peace-matters/

Sophie Quinn-Judge landed in central Vietnam in 1973 as a member of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). She served in the AFSC-run Rehabilitation Centre in Quang Ngai province until the end of the war in 1975, providing prosthetics and relief help to war-injured civilians coming from all sides of the conflict ripping Vietnam apart. Quinn-Judge grew up in Quaker country in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Although she was not initially a member of this breakaway Protestant faith, she took part in their youth camps as a youngster and felt at home working in the AFSC in France and Vietnam.

The Quakers established the AFSC upon the United States’ entry into the First World War in 1917. The Quakers refused to take part in war as an article of faith. So instead of sending their sons into the trenches of the Western Front, the AFSC mobilised their young people to help civilians hurt and displaced by the conflagration. The AFSC did more than provide humanitarian aid, however. Drawing on centuries of Quaker pacifism, the organisation actively promoted “lasting peace with justice, as a practical expression of faith in action”. Educational programs, youth camps and exchanges helped nurture “the seeds of change and respect for human life that transform social relations and systems”. In 1947, the AFSC received the Nobel Prize for Peace for its humanitarian relief efforts during and after the Second World War and its promotion of world peace. The Quakers continued their work during the Cold War, dispatching people to work in war-torn areas of the Afro-Asian world, including Vietnam.

“We were very sure at that time that there was one side that should win: the National Liberation Front. But in the spirit of the Paris Peace Agreement, signed in 1973 not long before we arrived in Vietnam, we hoped that peace would be established by means of a coalition government. Unfortunately, the provisions of the agreement were ignored in Saigon, so the war ended in 1975 with the communists’ military victory. Looking back, I believe more strongly than ever that [the] AFSC and the Quakers played an important role in trying to bring about a peaceful solution to the war. The war ended in tragedy for many people and a peaceful resolution would surely have been better for all of the Vietnamese”.[3]

Quinn-Judge makes this case forcefully and poignantly in The Third Force in the Vietnam War: The Elusive Search for Peace, 1954-75. Hers is not an autobiography, but her activism for peace in Vietnam influenced how she wrote this book on that subject. From start to finish, she argues that things could have been different had the main belligerents just given peace a chance. A third way existed during the period between 1954 and 1973. A different outcome than the communist takeover of the south and exclusion of the peace-minded “third force” could have emerged in 1975 had neutralist, human-rights respecting and democratically committed Vietnamese been allowed to form the promised coalition government and negotiate with the communist north.

Lire la suite sur : https://mekongreview.com/peace-matters/

Locating the historical Kartini

Locating the historical Kartini by Joost Coté, 22/05/2017, Indonesia at Melbourne

A new feature film has prompted a renewed interest in the life of national hero Kartini.

Dr Joost Coté will speak tomorrow at a panel discussion on “The film ‘Kartini’ and Kartini as a source of historical and contemporary inspiration in Indonesia”, sponsored by the University’s Indonesia Forum. Coté was a researcher and adviser for the film, which was released inIndonesia earlier this year.

Joost Coté is also the editor and translator of Kartini: The Complete Writings 1898-1904.

Like so many iconic figures of history, over the last century, Raden Adjeng Kartini (21 April 1897-17 September 1904) has been much mythologised, misused and misread – or should that be not read?

The creation of Kartini as a national feminist icon all began with a Jacques Abendanon, the former director of colonial education, who selected and published letters Kartini had written to prominent Dutch progressive figures to support his campaign for colonial education reform. The result was Door Duisternis tot Licht (1911). An American feminist, Agnes Louise Symmers, on hearing about this remarkable Javanese woman, produced a (rather loose) English translation. The result was an international “feminist text” in 1920, ever since known by the inappropriate title, Letters of a Javanese Princess.

Two years later, the erudite North Sumatran author Armijn Pane produced the first Indonesian translation, Habis Gelap, Terbitlah Terang, for the colonial government’s “good literature” program, Balai Pustaka, and 16 years on, a definitive version for Indonesian readers. In 1939, the first Javanese translation appeared – which has since effectively disappeared –in 1940, a Japanese translation, later a French translation, followed by others.

Lire la suite sur :

Ahok’s defeats and public debate in Indonesia

Ward Berenschot, Ahok’s defeats and public debate in Indonesia, 18/05/2017, New Mandala

Basuki Thahaja Purnama’s (‘Ahok’) electoral defeat in Jakarta’s gubernatorial election on 19 April was stunning in itself. And then Jakarta’s sitting governor was dealt a further blow on 9 May when he was convicted to a two year jail sentence for blasphemy. Both events are a setback for those campaigning for a tolerant and pluralist Indonesia. As the election campaign focused on Ahok’s Chinese-Christian background and the purported threat he posed to Islam, the election results and the subsequent court ruling suggest that the appeal and the power of hardliner Islamic organisations is growing.

So far the interpretations of these events have focused on the considerations of Indonesian voters. Some attributed Ahok’s electoral defeat to a growing concern about social inequality, pointing to his low vote-share among poor Jakartans. Others focused on the impact that religious identity has on voting behaviour. Compared to other groups, Muslims were much less likely to vote for Ahok. These views suggest that a complex interplay of class and religion brought about Ahok’s defeat.

These analyses all focus on the considerations that individual voters may have. But at least as significant is what Ahok’s defeat says about the character of public debate in Indonesia. The Jakarta elections and Ahok’s conviction throw up a number of puzzles that suggest that we need to take a closer look at how public opinion is shaped, and by whom. The nature of Ahok’s defeat raises concerns about the increasingly closed character of Indonesia’s public sphere, and points to the importance of informal, personal networks in spreading and legitimising ideas.

Lire la suite sur : http://www.newmandala.org/ahoks-defeats-say-public-debate-indonesia/

Banning Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia: Freedom or Security?

Alexander Raymond Arifianto, Banning Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia: Freedom or Security? 18/05/2017

RSIS / Commentaries / Country and Region Studies / Religion in Contemporary Society / Southeast Asia and ASEAN

Synopsis

The Indonesian government has issued a recommendation for the Islamist group Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) to be legally prohibited. While some observers have criticised the proposal on grounds of freedom of expression or assembly, the move may be justifiable for Indonesian security.

“Learning it the Hard Way”: Social safeguards norms in Chinese-led dam projects in Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia

Julian Kirchherr, Nathanial Matthews, Katrina J. Charles, Matthew J. Walton, “Learning it the Hard Way”: Social safeguards norms in Chinese-led dam projects in Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, Energy Policy, vol. 102, March 2017

Highlights

  • Very first regional case study on social safeguard norms in Chinese-led dam projects in Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.
  • Found that Chinese dam developers increasingly take into account international social safeguards norms.
  • Root cause is social mobilization, with the suspension of the Myitsone Dam in 2011 as a particular game changer.
Abstract
Chinese dam developers claim to construct at least every second dam worldwide. However, scholarly literature comprehensively investigating the social safeguard norms in these projects is rare. This paper analyses social safeguard norms in Chinese-led dam projects in Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, hotspots of Chinese-led dam construction. We find that social safeguard norms adopted have significantly changed in the past 15 years. While Chinese dam developers claimed to adopt standards of the host countries upon the launch of China’s Going Out Policy in 2001, with occasional adoption of more demanding Chinese standards, they did not adopt international norms. In recent years, however, they increasingly take into account international norms. We argue that the root cause for this change is social mobilization, with the suspension of the Myitsone Dam in 2011 as a particular game changer. Enhanced social safeguard legislation in host countries and China, stricter rules of Chinese funders and cooperation of Chinese dam developers with international players have also facilitated this change.
Voir : http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421516307212

2016 Wang Gungwu Prize

2016 Wang Gungwu Prize : Burma–Bengal Crossings: Intercolonial Connections in Pre-Independence India by Devleena Ghosh in Asian Studies Review, vol. 40, no. 2

Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) president Professor Kent Anderson announced that Devleena Ghosh, an associate professor at the University of Technology Sydney, had been awarded the prestigious annual award for the best article in Asian Studies Review in 2016.

The article explores cultural and personal flows across the Bay of Bengal and the modern states of Burma, West Bengal and Bangladesh.

Abstract :

The large-scale movement of people between Burma and Bengal in the early twentieth century has been explored recently by authors such as Sugata Bose and Sunil Amrith who locate Burma within the wider migratory culture of the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and Southeast Asia. This article argues that the long and historical connections between Bengalis and Burmese were transformed by the British colonisation of the region. Through an analysis of selected literary texts in Bengali, some by well-known and others by obscure writers, this article shows that, for Indians, Burma constituted an elsewhere where the fantastic and superhuman were within reach, and caste and religious constraints could be circumvented and radical possibilities enabled by masquerade and disguise.

Cet article est disponible sur : http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10357823.2016.1158237

Sinitic Trends in Early Islamic Java (15th to 17th century)

Seated feline figures. Truc Phuong commune, Truc Ninh district. c. L 8 x H 15 cm, Nam Dinh museum, Nam Dinh Province. Late Lê dynasty. (Credit: H. Njoto)

Sinitic Trends in Early Islamic Java (15th to 17th century) by Hélène Njoto (Nalanda-Sriwijaya Center)

Note: This article is reproduced from the latest issue of NSC Highlights. For more, please see : https://goo.gl/XoyXfM

Java’s north coast is known to have had cosmopolitan and multi-religious towns where Muslim travellers and traders settled since the early 15th century. While there is scarce evidence of the presence of Muslims and foreigners in the early Islamic period, the accounts of past Muslim ruling figures, revered as holy men (wali), have persisted. These accounts have survived thanks to the fairly good conservation of the mausolea of these holy men, many of which are five to six centuries old. These mausolea, considered sacred (kramat), are visited every year by thousands of pilgrims from Java and other parts of the Malay world.

 These mausolea contain elements of a Sinitic (relating to Chinese culture) trend in early Islamic Java. Historical sources note the presence of ‘Chinese’ among the Muslims present on Java’s north coast in the 15th and 16th centuries. Local Javanese traditions and hagiographies also suggest that some of the most prominent holy men were of Chinese descent. Some are said to have come from Champa, the former Hindu-Buddhist kingdom of present-day coastal Vietnam (Manguin 2001).

 Nevertheless, the ‘sinitic’ origin of some of these holy men on the Javanese coast remains enigmatic since there is little material evidence apart from these mausolea remains. The richly decorated wooden panels that enclose these tombs on four sides, delicately sculpted, some in openwork or painted in red, are indeed vaguely reminiscent of a Sinitic culture. However, most motifs and stylisation, such as the lotus leaves in a pond, represented in a naturalistic way, had in fact already appeared during the Hindu-Buddhist period, possibly as the consequence of earlier Sinitic borrowings.

 However, the motif of the seated feline figure stands out. These feline figures, sculpted in wood or stone, were found in four religious sanctuaries such as in the mausolea of Sunan Drajat and Sunan Sendang Duwur. In these mausolea, they are represented in-the-round, in a seated hieratic position, bearded, with their maw wide open and their tongues pulled out (in Sunan Drajat). They have volutes motifs on the legs and a necklace or winged-like motif spreading from the scapula backwards. These feline figures suggest that these holy men had developed a taste for decorative features found in China and the Indo-Chinese peninsula of the same period.

Lire la suite sur : https://www.facebook.com/notes/nalanda-sriwijaya-centre/sinitic-trends-in-early-islamic-java-15th-to-17th-century-by-hélène-njoto/1368801939864852

Pacific Affairs : 2016 winner of the Holland Prize

2016 winner of the Holland Prize :

Perilous Waters: People Smuggling, Fishermen, and Hyper-precarious Livelihoods on Rote Island, Eastern Indonesia by Antje Missbach, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

Pacific Affairs is pleased to announce that the fifteenth William L. Holland Prize for the best article published in Volume 89 (2016) of Pacific Affairs  has been awarded to Antje Missbach for her article published in Volume 89, No. 4 (December 2016).

An epitome of in-depth fieldwork, thorough contextual research, and clear writing, this year’s Holland Prize winning article by Antje Missbach addresses issues of trafficking, asylum-seeking, and migration through the question of why a disproportionate number of Indonesian offenders sentenced to jail for people smuggling, both in Indonesia and Australia, are fishermen from Eastern Indonesia, the poorest part of the country. Her answers guide readers from specific shores of local sites and practices via extended fieldwork on Rote Island (a frequent departure point for asylum seekers to Australia) and prisons, into broader streams of transnational people-smuggling networks and the effects of Australia’s policies, eventually navigating the broad and salient oceans of pollution and overfishing. In lieu of the superficial resort to moralistic labeling of smugglers as ‘bad’ people, Missbach’s article shows how complex imbrications of climatic, international, institutional, and social conditions render individual smugglers themselves captive in nets of hyper-precarity.

A télécharger sur : http://www.pacificaffairs.ubc.ca/announcements/holland-prize/

 

Blocking Papua from the Truth

Blocking Papua from the Truth by Andre Barahamin, 28/03/2017, New Mandala

Why have Jokowi’s promises to open up Indonesia’s “forbidden island” to journalists and rights monitors flunked?

On 20 December 2016, the Legal Aid Foundation for Indonesia Press (LBH Pers) staged a press conference. It highlighted censorship by The Indonesia Ministry of Information and Communication (Kominfo) towards Suara Papua, a local news outlet based in Abepura, Papua. With no prior notification, Suara Papua was silently listed alongside 11 websites blocked by the government. Those websites allegedly violated principles of journalism by promoting hoaxes and hate.

Later that evening, Rudiantara, the Minister of Information and Communication called Asep Komarudin from LBH Pers, promising that the ban would be lifted  the next day.

On  21 December, Suara Papua could  be accessed again, but not for those using Telkomsel – the largest telecommunications service provider in Indonesia. In Papua, Telkomsel is the main player and controls more than 65 per cent of the market for mobile phone services users. When I recently published an article with Suara Papua, dozens of people told me that they could not read it due to the Kominfo block.

Lire la suite sur : http://www.newmandala.org/blocking-papua-truth/

Andre Barahamin is researcher of PUSAKA Foundation, and member of Papua Itu Kita (Jakarta-based solidarity campaign for Papua). He is also serving as editor for IndoPROGRESS, an online platform connecting progressive scholars and activists.

Peace and nation-building in Myanmar

Peace and nation-building in Myanmar by James T. Davies, 24/03/2017, New Mandala

James T. Davies reflects on the challenges to establishing a unified and conflict-free Myanmar.

Inclusion, understanding, autonomy, conflict and poverty – often far from the reach of the state — reflect just some of the challenges, as opportunities and progress, linked to the emergence of an inclusive national identity in Myanmar.

They were also the focus of an excellent panel discussion as part of the 2017 Myanmar Update hosted by the Australian National University on 17-18 February.

Cecile Medail, PhD Candidate at the University of New South Wales, began the panel with a look at the grassroots voices of Mon people in forming an inclusive national identity in Myanmar. The challenges of national identity during transition, and particularly for minority communities, were noted …

Lire la suite sur : http://www.newmandala.org/peace-nation-building-myanmar/

 

Historicizing fiction, fictionalizing history

Historicizing fiction, fictionalizing history by Taufiq Hanafi, 31/03/2017, KITLV Blog

Sometimes fiction tells the truth and history perpetuates a fiction. This blog tells us about how history has been used to serve the creation of a national mythology, while fiction has allowed a space for more difficult histories to be worked out.

Similarly, the bleakest moment in Indonesian history is ignored and silenced. Almost all Indonesian written history skips over the mass killings of the communists and left-wing sympathizers after the aborted coup blamed on the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) in 1965.

Take the obligatory read for elementary students in the 1990s, Pendidikan Sejarah Perjuangan Bangsa (The History of the National Struggle). We Indonesians were so accustomed to this that we thought the historical events presented in the book were all objectively true. The book instructed students to show admiration for the Indonesian Army for their outstanding success in crushing the September movement of the PKI. It also wanted us to believe that the anti-communist purge was the right thing to do in order to support the national struggle for the just and prosperous society under Pancasila. Furthermore, it created a make-believe world in which Soeharto was a hero who had so much love and respect for his people and his country. As for the massacre, the book remained silent.

In fiction, however, the killings were made (more) clear. Ahmad Tohari in the Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk (Dancer of Paruk Hamlet) trilogy narrates the mass killings in Central Java, and describes the close cooperation between the army and paramilitary groups. Mencoba Tidak Menyerah (Trying not to Surrender) by Yudhistira ANM Masardi vividly portrays the systematic massacre and politics of fear through the eyes of a small boy who is searching for his father after he was made to disappear due to his affiliation with the communists. Ashadi Siregar centers his novel, Jentera Lepas, on students who were massacred by the army after the aborted coup, while Umar Kayam in Bawuk questions how society has been dehumanized for not having the courage to address the issue.

Lire la suite sur : http://www.kitlv.nl/blog-historicizing-fiction-fictionalizing-history/

The wisdom in the literature by Andrew Selth

The wisdom in the literature by Andrew Selth, 21/03/2017, New Mandala

Andrew Selth outlines why past generations’ accumulated literary and scholarly work on Myanmar is at risk of being lost — and what this might mean for the country’s future.

There is an old Myanmar saying that ‘wisdom is in the literature’. This was particularly the case before 1988, when the country was virtually closed to foreigners and fieldwork of any kind was very difficult. The Internet was still in its infancy and Myanmar-watchers of all kinds were heavily reliant on books, serials and other documentary sources, both to acquire information and to present their findings to a wider audience.

Access to Myanmar is now much easier and the past few decades have seen a flood of foreign officials, scholars and others intent on conducting primary research. As noted on New Mandala, this has contributed to a dramatic increase in the number of books, reports and articles written about the country. A new Griffith Asia Institute study lists over 1,800 monographs published in English alone, and in hard copy, over the past 25 years.

At the same time, however, there is an increasing danger that the accumulated knowledge of earlier generations of Myanmar-watchers will become dispersed, if not actually lost.

Lire la suite sur : http://www.newmandala.org/the-wisdom-in-the-literature/

BIES: Read our latest free-access collection

BIES: Read our latest free-access collection

Each year, the editors of the Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies (BIES) make six recently published articles free to access online. Their selections for 2017 are below.

Jokowi and the New Developmentalism by Eve Warburton
December 2016 (52.3)

A lire sur : http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00074918.2016.1249262

Authoritarian Legacies in Post–New Order Indonesia: Evidence from a New Dataset by Sharon Poczter and Thomas B. Pepinsky April 2016 (52.1)

A lire sur : http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00074918.2015.1129051

 Village Governance, Community Life, and the 2014 Village Law in Indonesia by Hans Antlöv, Anna Wetterberg, and Leni Dharmawan
August 2016 (52.2)

A lire sur : http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00074918.2015.1129047

Consistency between Sakernas and the IFLS for Analyses of Indonesia’s Labour Market: A Cross-Validation Exercise by Sarah Xue Dong
December 2016 (52.3)

A lire sur : http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00074918.2016.1228828

Could a Resource Export Boom Reduce Workers’ Earnings? The Labour-Market Channel in Indonesia by Ian Coxhead and Rashesh Shrestha
August 2016 (52.2)

A lire sur : http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00074918.2016.1184745

How Robust Is Indonesia’s Poverty Profile? Adjusting for Differences in Needs by Jan Priebe
August 2016 (52.2)

 

What’s (written) history for? On James C. Scott’s Zomia, especially Chapter 6½

Jean Michaud, « What’s (written) history for? On James C. Scott’s Zomia, especially Chapter 6½, » Anthropology Today, vol. 33, no. 1 (february 2017)

« Zomia. It sounds like a skin disease or some alarming bacteria. As it turns out, Zomia is a recently named space in Asia. As referred to in this article, Zomia encompasses the highlands of northeast India, Burma (Myanmar), Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and southwest China. Within these countries resides a combined population of over 100 million1 individuals officially registered as ‘national minorities’ by each respective government. For anthropologists who might have spent the last few years on a solitary digging trip to North Korea or foraging for tasty ontologies in Amazonia, let me start by teasing apart the term Zomia a little more, before I weigh in further on the Zomia debate. »

PDF à télécharger sur :  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1467-8322.12322/full

Framed by Freedom: Emancipation and Oppression in Post-Fordist Thailand

Claudio Sopranzetti, « Framed by Freedom: Emancipation and Oppression in Post-Fordist Thailand » in Cultural Anthropology, vol. 32, no. 1 (feb. 2017)

Based on ethnographic research conducted between 2009 and 2014, this article examines the discourse of freedom (‘itsaraphāp) among motorcycle taxi drivers in Bangkok and the practices, both emancipatory and oppressive, that it supports and makes possible. I explore its central role in their self-construction as successful migrants, entrepreneurial subjects, and autonomous urban dwellers, as well as its relations to capitalist restructuring and precarity in post-crisis Thailand. I show how freedom offers a way for precarious workers—such as the drivers—to consciously make sense of and make do with political-economic, social, and conceptual shifts taking place around them. In this sense, this article explores the construction of consent in contemporary Thailand without falling in the trap of assigning false consciousness to the drivers or of framing them as subjugated subjects. Rather, I locate the effectiveness of ‘itsaraphāpdiscourse precisely in its ability to connect preexisting forms of exploitation, personal desires, and aspirations with a restructuring of the relations between capital and labor in contemporary Bangkok.

A lire sur : https://culanth.org/articles/884-framed-by-freedom-emancipation-and-oppression-in