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Indonesia’s troubled minorities

Indonesia’s troubled minorities by Greg Fealy, 13/09/2018, The Sydney Morning Herald

Meiliana, a 44-year-old Buddhist mother of Chinese descent, sat crying in disbelief in a North Sumatra court in late August. The judges had just sentenced her to 18 months’ jail for blasphemy because she complained to a neighbor in 2016 about the ear-splitting volume of amplified calls to prayer from a nearby mosque. Her complaint had sparked violent backlash from local Muslim groups, who had stoned her home, forcing her and her family to flee to another city. They also attacked and seriously damaged twelve Buddhist temples in the area. The same court that sentenced her showed leniency to eight attackers arrested by police, giving them jail terms of just 1-2 months.

Meiliana’s story shone a spotlight on Indonesia’s draconian blasphemy laws and more broadly on how the nation treats its minorities. For a country that presents itself to the world as a moderate Muslim-majority democracy that respects diversity and enjoins religious and ethnic harmony, Indonesia has faced increasing criticism for rising intolerance and sectarianism. Human rights advocates argued that the violent reaction to Meiliana’s mosque complaint and her subsequent jailing are inseparable from the fact that she is from a double minority: Sino-Indonesians comprise less than 4 per cent of the nation and Buddhists less than 2 per cent. The Chinese have long been targets of social unrest, particularly from the majority Muslim community.

Assessing how moderate or intolerant Indonesia is towards its minorities is more difficult to assess than it might first appear. For example, a number of well-regarded non-government organisations annually compile figures on acts of religious intolerance. One such NGO, Setara Institute, recorded 201 breaches of religious freedom across Indonesia in 2017, most of which were directed at Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and Confucian minorities. Viewed in isolation, this is a significant number.

But on the other hand, in a religiously diverse nation of some 250 million people, several hundred cases might suggest that intolerance is relatively rare.

Lire la suite sur : https://www.smh.com.au/national/indonesia-s-troubled-minorities-20180913-p503i6.html

 

Ma’ruf Amin: Jokowi’s Islamic defender or deadweight?

« Ma’ruf Amin: Jokowi’s Islamic defender or deadweight? » by Greg Fealy, 28/08/2018, New Mandala

The image was incongruous: President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), who wants his presidency defined by Indonesia’s rapid economic development and modernisation, stood awkwardly before the media on 10 August with his newly announced vice-presidential candidate, Ma’ruf Amin, a 75-year-old conservative Islamic scholar clad in traditional sarung and sandals. Answering criticism of his choice, Jokowi praised his running mate as “an untarnished figure, a wise ulama (Islamic scholar) who is respected across the Islamic community”. He proclaimed that with Ma’ruf on his ticket religion and nationalism would complement each other.

Indeed, Ma’ruf Amin is the most powerful ulama in the nation. Since 2015, he has occupied two pre-eminent positions: rais aam (president) of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the nation’s largest Muslim organisation; and chairman of the Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI), the paramount state-endorsed body for issuing rulings on Islamic issues. Prior to this, he was an influential member of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Presidential Advisory Council (Wantimpres).

The story of how Ma’ruf came to be Jokowi’s presidential partner tells us much about the dynamics of contemporary Indonesian politics. As many commentators have observed, the president’s search for greater Islamic credibility was the primary reason for Ma’ruf’s elevation. But to explain why Ma’ruf rather than one of the many other prominent Islamic leaders was chosen requires a closer look at his career and sources of legitimacy. Conservatism has been an important, but by no means the only, element in his rise.

Lire la suite sur : http://www.newmandala.org/maruf-amin-jokowis-islamic-defender-deadweight/

 

Engaging the UWSA: Countering Myths, Building Ties

Wa flag flies outside school in Northern Wa Region (Image Credit: Andrew Ong)

« Engaging the UWSA: Countering Myths, Building Ties » by Andrew Ong, 20/08/2018, Tea Circle, An Oxford Forum for New Perspectives on Burma/Myanmar

Andrew Ong makes the case for the international community to reach out to the UWSA and build trust.

The carefully staged photos of tatmadaw Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing serving soup to United Wa State Army (UWSA) commander Bao Youyi, hospitalised after fatigue and hypertension at the Third Union Peace Conference (UPC) in July 2018, raised eyebrows across the country. The photo was posted to the former’s Facebook page and gestured towards bridge-building between the tatmadaw and the UWSA, the country’s strongest Ethnic Armed Organisation (EAO).

Building genuine trust however, will take far more than birds’ nest soup.

Not captured in the photograph were the UWSA’s demands for an official Wa State, amendments to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) and the 2008 Constitution, and recognition of the Wa-controlled territory on the Thai border.

The UWSA had in September 2016 walked out of Aung San Suu Kyi’s landmark attempt to build peace with EAOs, the 21st Century Panglong Conference (now UPC). The formation of the UWSA-led coalition, the Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee (FPNCC) in April 2017, was a further blow to her NLD government’s hopes for significant progress in the peace process. The FPNCC submitted its demands at the Second UPC in May 2017, which were largely ignored. This Third UPC saw little concrete progress made, and now runs the risk of halting its momentum.

Perceptions and Myths of the UWSA

The UWSA was formed from the fracturing of the Communist Party of Burma (CPB) in 1989, its leaders quick to sign a ceasefire with the tatmadaw, one that has held to the present day. It controls fully two large swathes of territory along the Chinese and Thai borders, protected by an army of around 30,000.

Narratives about the UWSA have focused on secrecy and isolation, with sensationalised reporting about “an empire built on guns, drugs and blood”, or unverified allegations of the acquisition of helicopters and other weapons. The scant scholarly material centres on the political economy of opium and drugs, with book covers predominantly depicting soldiers in poppy fields.

In May 2015, the UWSA hosted the first EAOs summit at its headquarters in Pangkham, without the presence of Myanmar government representatives, and created the first opportunity for the press to visit Wa Region. Journalists were invited by the UWSA again in October 2016.

Paradoxically, while these visits gave a glimpse into life inside Wa Region, they also created distance – exaggerating the secrecy and remoteness of Wa Region, or its similarities to China. Across the media, representations of the UWSA invariably depict young soldiers marching, training, or guarding checkpoints, alongside charges of vice and lawlessness, and exotic visuals of the wildlife trade and casinos.

Little wonder then, that the UWSA remains “feared and poorly understood”, and few in Yangon can imagine ever engaging with the UWSA. Two serious misconceptions circulate in Yangon: first that the UWSA is a part or pawn of China, and second that they are mysterious, isolated and disengaged from Myanmar.

Lire la suite sur : https://teacircleoxford.com/2018/08/20/engaging-the-uwsa-countering-myths-building-ties/

The Lao dam collapse: a tragedy long in the making

« The Lao dam collapse: a tragedy long in the making » by Bruce Shoemaker, 03/08/2018, New Mandala

The partial collapse of a newly constructed dam in Laos has killed dozens of local villagers and devastated the lives and livelihoods of thousands—and in doing so exposed cracks in the hydropower agenda of the country’s one-party government. The South Korean and Thai companies spearheading the Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy project initially tried to write off the collapse as a natural disaster induced by heavy rains. However, this was very much an avoidable manmade tragedy caused by poor design, construction and operation.

While the Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy tragedy is particularly acute, the rush to transform Laos into “the battery of Southeast Asia” through rapid construction of large hydropower across the country is already a widespread, if largely unacknowledged, human rights and environmental disaster.

In a highly restrictive one-party state in which local people have no freedom of expression or access to independent media, and civil society is severely constrained, tens of thousands of people are being forcibly resettled to make way for large-scale hydropower projects and other infrastructure.

Many more communities downstream from these projects, dependent on migratory fish and other river resources for income and food security, have lost livelihoods and food sources without acknowledgement or redress. Some projects are being built in what are legally protected conservation areas, causing severe impacts on areas of high biodiversity significance. Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy was no exception.

Lire la suite sur : http://www.newmandala.org/lao-dam-collapse-tragedy-long-making/

The Painting That Is Painted With Poetry Is Profoundly Beautiful

« The Painting That Is Painted With Poetry Is Profoundly Beautiful – Tang Chang » by Nora Taylor, Jul/Aug 2018, ArtAsiaPacific

Chills ran down my spine as I peered into the vitrine positioned toward the end of the late Tang Chang’s solo exhibition at the Smart Museum of Art, so beautifully and adeptly curated by Orianna Cacchione. On a faded sheet of paper was the word “gunman,” handwritten in English, and repeated in a pattern that resembles a monument. In the top right-hand corner, the word “democracy” appeared; at the bottom right was the date 1978. The Thai artist was referring to the suppression of the student protest against the return of Thanom Kittikachorn, an exiled military dictator, which had taken place two years earlier in Bangkok. That event, known as the October 1976 massacre, had led to the deaths of many at the hands of the Thai military. Yet, reading those words in the south of Chicago, I immediately thought of the recent and persistent shootings that have taken place in American schools. That a Thai artist—a self-described Buddhist, no less—would capture the mood of our violent times in such a poetic way was moving.

There were several other poems shaped like the Democracy Monument. Kill was one of them, and Democracy of Dictatorship (both 1978), written in Thai, was another. Many of the words were barely legible, appearing like scribbles, but their repetition created drawings, interwoven lines and shapes. I begin this review by mentioning these poems, even though Chang was also a painter and the exhibition included many of his paintings, because after walking through the rooms that held them, I could barely distinguish the poems from the paintings and vice versa. The title that the curator chose for the exhibition made complete sense. Poetry comes first, and is the medium for the paintings.

The exhibition at the Smart Museum is the first solo exhibition of Chang’s works outside of Thailand and the first to be held in the United States.

Lire la suite sur : http://artasiapacific.com/Magazine/109/ThePaintingThatIsPaintedWithPoetryIsProfoundlyBeautiful

IS in the Philippines and the Battle of Marawi: a new appraisal

« IS in the Philippines and the Battle of Marawi: a new appraisal » by Luke Lichin, 31/07/2018, New Mandala

Nine months since the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) retook the city of Marawi from a coalition of Islamic State (IS) affiliated groups, resulting in the deaths of at least 802 militants, 160 government forces, and 47 civilians, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

The legislation grants political and financial autonomy to a new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in the Southern Philippines after decades of insurgency and years of tumultuous peace negotiations. Promisingly, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) voiced its satisfaction with the legislation, and is working towards the next steps of implementation, including the decommissioning of 30,000-40,000 fighters. Nevertheless, the BOL must still overcome a range of challenges, including efforts by IS-affiliates to spoil the prospect of peace in Mindanao and Sulu.

Speaking on behalf of the IS-aligned faction of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), Abu Misri Mama derided the BOL as an agreement that will benefit only the MILF, and warned of future attacks in response. Although the AFP dismissed the threat as empty propaganda, continuing clashes with the BIFF in Maguindanao and Cotabato lend credibility to Abu Misri Mama’s announcement. The BIFF, like the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and the Maute Group, reject the notion of autonomy for Muslims in the Southern Philippines, and seek to create an IS Wilayat (province) in Southeast Asia; a casus belli that resonates with and attracts fighters from Mindanao, Sulu, and abroad.

Small and fragmented though they are, the BIFF, the ASG, and the Maute Group are resilient organisations that have defied the AFP’s attempts to stamp them out, and there is no better illustration of that resilience than the AFP’s victory in Marawi.

Lire la suite sur : http://www.newmandala.org/philippines-battle-marawi-new-appraisal/

50 shades of yellow: how conservatism overwhelmed liberalism in the anti-Thaksin movement

« 50 shades of yellow: how conservatism overwhelmed liberalism in the anti-Thaksin movement » by Kanokrat Leertchoosakul, 01/08/2018, New Mandala

« Of the 100 PAD members I interviewed, 76 had previously never actively participated in a political movement. 63 had not even followed political news before their foray into protesting with the yellow shirts. »

At its incipience, the movement against Thaksin Shinawatra (and his subsequent nominee governments) compromised a motley—even contradictory—crew of groups loyal to diverse ideologies and political standpoints. This is a history now easily forgotten. They ranged from conservatives genuinely opposed to democracy and bent on defending nationalism and monarchism, to factions who mobilised to defend democratic ideals and who were resolutely wary of nationalism and royalism.

During the People’s Alliance for Democracy’s (PAD) early days, most of the movement’s conservatives members constituted the rank and file. In contrast, several leaders who exercised managing authority over protest sites came from liberal backgrounds. As one anonymous leader of the movement in Udon Thani remarked, “The Rajabhat rally was organised [by liberals] because we had experience in managing crowds. No one else did”. How was it that this heterogeneous network eventually mobilised down a progressively conservative direction, whereby royalist, nationalist and anti-democratic forces overwhelmed the movement?

I argue conservative mobilisation strategies married two previously disparate networks: first, scattered right-wing groups and second, an apolitical middle-class mass. Right-wing networks, once weak and diffuse, were brought together by the need to mobilise a popular base and in doing so forged a relatively united front. Simultaneously, these right-wing leaders attracted through the discourse of “Threat, Big Crisis, Action Is Needed Now” (ภัยคุกคาม-วิกฤตครั้งใหญ่-ต้องทำอะไรเดี๋ยวนี้) the support of members of the middle-class who had never before participated in a political movement—who were subsequently “politically awakened”.

When these two networks coalesced, conservative elements overwhelmed the movement against Thaksin in terms of numbers, bargaining power and resources, progressively squeezing out liberal elements. I base my genealogy of how the movement against Thaksin took on a conservative zeal—something that we may now take for granted—on interviews with 100 people who once mobilised against the tycoon-cum-politician. Interviewees came from 13 provinces across four of the country’s regions.

Lire la suite sur : http://www.newmandala.org/50-shades-yellow-conservatism-overwhelmed-liberalism-anti-thaksin-movement/

Fakes or Fancies? Some ‘problematic’ islamic manuscripts from South East Asia

« Fakes or Fancies? Some ‘problematic’ islamic manuscripts from South East Asia » by Annabel Teh Gallop in Manuscript Cultures 10 (2017)

This article focuses solely on ‘Islamic’ manuscripts from
South East Asia, namely those manuscripts written in Arabic
script, containing texts in Arabic and Malay, and occasionally
in Javanese. The indelible association between Islam and
the Arabic script – the vehicle for the word of God in the
Qur’an – lends itself to a widespread and convenient market
perception of all manuscripts written in forms of the Arabic
script as inherently ‘Islamic’, irrespective of their contents.
Thus a manuscript of the Hikayat Perang Pandawa Jaya –
the story of the final fight of the Pandawa brothers from the
Mahabharata – written on paper, in Malay in the extended
form of Arabic script known as Jawi, might easily appear

in an auction sale in London of Islamic manuscripts, while a manuscript of the Serat Yusup, the Muslim story of the

Prophet Joseph, written on palm leaf in Javanese language
and the Javanese script which is of Indic script, would attract
little interest in the international Islamic art market. And it
is indeed the rapid expansion of the international market in
Islamic art over the past three decades that has precipitated
the writing of this article.
This surge of interest in London was mirrored by a
simi lar flurry of activity on the other side of the world,
due to the collecting activities of two large institutions in
Malaysia. In the early 1980s, the Department for Islamic
Affairs (Bahagian Hal Ehwal Islam, BAHEIS) – now known
as the Department for the Propagation of Islam (Jabatan
Kemajuan Islam Malaysia, JAKIM) – in the Prime Minister’s
Department of Malaysia embarked on an ambitious project
to collect Islamic cultural artefacts including manuscripts.
More than 3,600 manuscripts in Arabic, Malay and other
languages were acquired in a relatively short period, in­
cluding over 300 Qur’ans, mainly from South East Asia.
Since 1998 the JAKIM collection has been on loan to the
Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia (IAMM), Kuala Lumpur.
The second important event was the foundation in 1984 of
the Malay Manuscripts Centre (Pusat Manuskrip Melayu)
at the National Library of Malaysia (Perpustakaan Negara
Malaysia, PNM), whose collection now numbers over 4,700
manuscripts primarily in Malay, but including about 40
Qur’ans. Other smaller institutions in South East Asia, as
well as a number of private collectors, also actively began
to acquire Islamic manuscripts in the 1980s and 1990s. In
Indonesia, a major revival of interest can be traced to the
Festival Istiqlal held in Jakarta in 1991, which included
the first major exhibition of Qur’an manuscripts from the

archipelago.

A télécharger sur : https://www.manuscript-cultures.uni-hamburg.de/MC/articles/mc10_gallop.pdf

Democracy Bites the Dust in Cambodia but Glimmers of Hope Remain

« Democracy Bites the Dust in Cambodia but Glimmers of Hope Remain » by Sophal Ear, 01/08/2018, TheNewsLens

As the red dust settles on Cambodia’s soil following the hubbub of last weekend’s election, questions hang in the air over what just really happened.

The short answer is that Hun Sen, who has ruled Cambodia as the world’s longest serving prime minister since 1985, is basking in the prospect of another five years in power.

The official results suggest that the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) won all 125 seats in parliament, with 77.5 percent of the vote on the back of turnout of 80.5 percent.

This result, which had been on the cards since the forced dissolution and subsequent exile of the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) last November, represents nothing less than the death of the democracy in Cambodia.

Lire la suite sur : https://international.thenewslens.com/article/100977

 

2018 regional elections: why is there a disconnect between local and national politics?

« 2018 regional elections: why is there a disconnect between local and national politics? » by Abdil Mughis Mudhoffir and Rafiqa Qurrata A’yun, 18/07/2018, Indonesia at Melbourne

In late June, Indonesia held elections for district heads, mayors and governors in 171 regions. Many observers predicted the elections would exacerbate the polarisation of society — between Islamists on one hand and nationalists on the other — mirroring the dynamics of the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election.

Religious identity politics did play a role in some local election outcomes, as we discuss below. However, observers also predicted the local elections would reflect political alliances at the national level. In fact, most coalitions supporting candidates at the local level represented different political alliances and different divisions to those seen at the national level.

If anything, the regional elections demonstrated that there is no decisive ideological line differentiating most parties from the others. Political alliances are highly flexible and there appear to be no definitive political enemies.

For example, at the national level, Gerindra and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) are opposition parties, but in local contests they readily align themselves with the same parties they oppose at the national level. Interestingly, decisions to build local political alliances are often made by the members of the party’s central board, not the local branches.

Lire la suite sur : http://indonesiaatmelbourne.unimelb.edu.au/2018-regional-elections-why-is-there-a-disconnect-between-local-and-national-politics/

Trading blows: NU versus PKS

« Trading blows: NU versus PKS » by Greg Fealy, 10/07/2018, Indonesia at Melbourne

How did a visit to Israel by a senior Islamic figure lead to members of Indonesia’s largest Islamic organisation, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), accusing the nation’s second largest Islamic party, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), of behaving like communists who are out to destroy Indonesia? This is a tale about the fevered state of Islamic discourse in Indonesia, one nurtured in the hothouse of social media. It has been fuelled by long-standing and deepening doctrinal animosities as well as competing political interests. Its resonance will be felt in next year’s legislative and presidential elections.

The saga began in early June, when Yahya Cholil Staquf, the secretary of NU’s Religious Council (PB Syuriah) and a member of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s Advisory Council (Wantimpres) visited Israel. He travelled at the invitation of the advocacy group the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and gave a series of public lectures as well as met political and religious leaders and academics.

Yahya claimed he went to Israel out of concern for the Palestinians and a desire to foster peace in the Middle East. He also invoked the name of Abdurrahman Wahid (“Gus Dur”), Indonesia’s fourth president and former NU chair, who visited Israel on numerous occasions and served on the advisory board of the Peres Centre for Peace. Yahya ignored advice from many of his NU colleagues not to go and travelled without the approval of the NU Central Board.

News of the visit broke in the Islamic media on 9 June, sparking immediate controversy. When, a few days later, the Israeli press carried pictures of Yahya shaking hands with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Islamist groups reacted angrily, calling on NU and President Widodo to censure or dismiss him for undercutting Indonesia’s long-standing pro-Palestinian policy and for playing into the hands of an Israeli government that had only recently shot dead more than 50 Palestinians on the Gaza border. Criticism of Yahya sharpened when it was reported that he failed to meet any Palestinian leaders and had been “severely censured” by Hamas in a press statement on 11 June.

Lire la suite sur : http://indonesiaatmelbourne.unimelb.edu.au/trading-blows-nu-versus-pks/

Survive and Thrive: Field Research in Authoritarian Southeast Asia

« Survive and Thrive: Field Research in Authoritarian Southeast Asia » by Lee Morgenbesser and Meredith L. Weiss in Asian Studies Review

Abstract

The literature on field research methods has focused almost exclusively on the strategies available to scholars working in democracies. By comparison, there has been scant guidance for those working in authoritarian regimes. This is despite the distinct set of challenges that arise where civil liberties and political rights are not consistently or well protected. The purpose of this article is to address this deficit. Drawing on the region of Southeast Asia as a natural laboratory for comparative analysis, it offers guidance on how to successfully conduct archival research, carry out interviews and undertake participant observation under authoritarianism. The resulting conclusions are applicable to the pursuit of primary research by scholars at all career levels and in other regions of the world.

A télécharger sur : https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10357823.2018.1472210

The Pain Haka burial ground on Flores : Indonesian evidence for a shared Neolithic belief system in Southeast Asia

The Pain Haka burial ground on Flores : Indonesian evidence for a shared Neolithic belief system in Southeast Asia, Antiquity, vol. 90, n° 354, December 2016

Article en libre accès

Abstract

Recent excavations at the coastal cemetery of Pain Haka on Flores have revealed evidence of burial practices similar to those documented in other parts of Southeast Asia. Chief among these is the use of pottery jars alongside other forms of container for the interment of the dead. The dating of the site combined with the fact that this burial practice is present over such a wide geographic area suggests a widespread belief system during the Neolithic period across much of Southeast Asia.

A télécharger sur : https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/antiquity/article/pain-haka-burial-ground-on-flores-indonesian-evidence-for-a-shared-neolithic-belief-system-in-southeast-asia/314A2E3F53E1D81908983446B369855A

Workers say no to Vietnam’s ‘Special Exploitation Zones’

« Workers say no to Vietnam’s ‘Special Exploitation Zones’ » by Angie Ngoc Tran, 18/07/2018, New Mandala

On Sunday, 10 June 2018, thousands of people took to the streets in major Vietnamese cities—Nha Trang, Binh Thuan, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh City, among others. Academics, independent journalists, and overseas Vietnamese signed petitions to join in their protest against the Draft Law on the 99-year lease of the three Special Administrative and Economic coastal zones in Vietnam. Workers, too, went on strike in two industrial zones in Long An and Tien Giang provinces. These collective actions led to a concession from the government: it would delay the National Assembly’s ratification of the Draft Law to its next meeting.

Why now, given that the idea of these three special economic zones was “old news”, having been announced in May 2017? It turns out that lack of transparency about the details of the Draft Law—made available only before a vote in the June 2018 session of the National Assembly—had triggered these massive protests.

Only once the details became clear did protests begin in earnest. The protesters pointed to the risks of losing national sovereignty to China, alleged to be the key beneficiary of the Special Administrative and Economic zones scheme. While China is not mentioned in the 53-page Draft Law, the geopolitics of these three zones, spread from north to south, suggests otherwise: Vân Đồn (Quang Ninh province, bordering China), Bắc Vân Phong (Khanh Hoa province, ashore of the South China Sea), and Phú Quốc island (Kien Giang province, near the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone in Cambodia, dominated by Chinese–Cambodian investment). Visas are to be waived for “citizens of the neighbouring country [China] sharing the border with Vietnam in Quang Ninh” (Article 55, Section 4), and for “citizens of the neighbouring country [Cambodia] sharing the border with Vietnam in Kien Giang province” (Article 57, Section 3). Who else would stand to benefit the most from both economic and administrative control over land, air, and sea lanes from these three zones?

Indeed, why introduce more economic zones when Vietnam already has 18 economic zones, offering tax breaks and low rents, and which still have open spaces for foreign investors? A careful review of the text of this Draft Law reveals many ambiguities and raises grave concerns for the wellbeing of the Vietnamese workers and the environment for them, their families, and society at large.

Lire la suite sur : http://www.newmandala.org/workers-say-no-vietnams-special-exploitation-zones/

Critical Asian Studies, vol. 50, n° 3, 2018

Critical Asian Studies, vol. 50, n° 3, 2018

A signaler : 2 articles sur l’Asie du Sud-Est

  • Victim-warriors and iconic heroines: photographs of female combatants in Aceh, Indonesia by Elizabeth F. Drexler

Abstract

Analyzing photos and narratives of the “widows’ battalion” in Aceh, Indonesia that appeared in international and local print media between 2000 and 2002, this article traces how images of female combatants initially provided evidence of a uniformed, armed ethno-nationalist movement motivated by past state violence and linked to historical legends of women involved in armed resistance to colonialism. Subsequently, the heroines were recast as immoral young women pursuing inappropriate sexual relationships with the occupying military. The problems of intelligence gathering, double agents, and the indeterminate zone of overlap in which male soldiers collaborated in the past were rewritten as a problem of sexual or intimate relations that violated religious and cultural norms. In Aceh, the affective power and complexity of women’s positioning as both victim and combatant is fueled by the invocation of the iconic heroines of the anticolonial resistance and ideas about international human rights. Images and narration of the widows’ battalion appear to champion female combatants past and present, but in fact, contribute to the consolidation of the power of male commanders and combatants in the resistance movement. Analyses of human rights photography must consider the affective power of images beyond engaging the empathy of distant spectators to consider their role in conflict dynamics.

Voir : https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14672715.2018.1487311

  • The evolving narrative of denial: the Fraser government and the Timorese genocide, 1975–1980 by Peter Job

Abstract

As research by the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor documents, the years 1975–1980 constituted the worst period of the Indonesian occupation of East Timor, during which grave human rights took place involving a high loss of life. In Australia, the government headed by Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser (1975–1983) sought to present itself as a supporter of human rights and the international rule of law. It also prioritized relations with the Suharto regime, which it saw as key to its policy position in Southeast Asia. These two positions came into conflict due to the Indonesian invasion of East Timor. The Fraser government therefore worked to propagate a narrative concerning East Timor which denied the seriousness of the situation, distorted the historical narrative, deflected blame from Indonesia, and depicted the Australian position as principled and realistic. This paper examines the development of this narrative as events progressed and information concerning the crisis in East Timor came to the attention of the outside world. It also examines how the Fraser government employed this narrative internationally in order to protect the Suharto regime from scrutiny.

Voir : https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14672715.2018.1489731?journalCode=rcra20