Obama praises Indonesia, Slams Israeli Settlement-building; and, OSC: Indonesian Press Swoons over Obama

CNN has President Obama’s address in Indonesia.

Obama stressed Indonesia’s pluralist and secular heritage. He referred to the 5 principles, ‘panca sila’ (Sanskrit, pronounced pancha sheela): belief in one supreme God; humanitarianism; nationalism expressed in the unity of Indonesia; consultative democracy; and social justice. These principles were put in the constitution by Suharto Sukarno in a deliberate attempt to have the basis of the state not be Muslim fundamentalism.

Muslim fundamentalists in Indonesia are a significant minority, but they are a minority, and I presume they would object to Obama’s characterization.

At his earlier press conference, Obama chided the Netanyahu government in Israel for resuming settlement-building in the midst of peace talks with the Palestinians. For Obama to criticize Tel Aviv from a Muslim country was a slap in Netanyahu’s face, and likely a recompense for all the slights Netanyahu has visited upon the Obama administration (Netanyahu is essentially a far right wing Republican expatriate). It was also a bid to reassure the Muslim world that he is not giving away everything to Netanyahu, a complaint many Muslims make (see below).

For more on the mainstream Indonesian reaction, the USG Open Source Center reports on Muslim Indonesian reactions in the media to President Obama’s address in that country:

Southeast Asia Snapshot: President Obama’s Visit to Indonesia 1100 GMT 10 Nov 10
Southeast Asia – OSC Summary
Wednesday, November 10, 2010…

The following “special edition” of OSC/BK’s Southeast Asia Snapshot summary includes key reporting on President Obama’s visit to Indonesia: Indonesian Commentator ‘Mesmerized’ by Obama’s Speech at University.

Commenting on Obama’s speech at the University of Indonesia on 10 November, Political Observer J. Kristiadi said “it was extraordinary.” He said Obama has “impressed us” by packaging US national interests in a “very sympathetic way.” Kristiadi added: Obama “does not love us; he loves his country, but the way he speaks is very sympathetic.”

(SEP20101110071001 Jakarta tvOne in Indonesian — Private television station owned by Aburizal Bakrie, an entrepreneur and politician, mainly focuses on news.)

Indonesian TV: Scholar Comments on Obama’s Speech at University.

The rector of the Paramadina University, Anis Baswedan, viewing the message that Obama wanted to convey through his speech at the University of Indonesia, said he talked about his “personal closeness to the Indonesian nation.” Anis said that the “signal” is clear — Obama “wishes to play the role of a bridge between the two countries” and “wants to strengthen the emotional bonds between himself and the Indonesian nation.” Referring to Obama’s statements that “we are equal” and “we share common things,” Anis said “this is an interesting message, in reality it is not always the case.”

(SEP20101110071002 Jakarta Rajawali Citra TV Indonesia in Indonesian — RCTI; leading TV station providing entertainment programs and news; estimated viewership is 120 million.)

Indonesian TV Lauds President Obama for Meeting Audience After University Speech.

Commenting on Obama’s decision to descend from the stage at the University of Indonesia after giving his speech, shake hands and chat with guests, a reporter with Rajawali Citra TV said “it was not planned beforehand that Obama would step down from the stage. He was supposed to go directly backstage and head to Halim Perdanakusuma airport after the speech.” The host said Obama’s gesture was “quite touching” for the people present and made him a “familiar figure.”

(SEP20101110071003 Jakarta Rajawali Citra TV Indonesia in Indonesian — RCTI; leading TV station providing entertainment programs and news; estimated viewership is 120 million.)

Indonesia’s Metro TV Carries Reaction of PKS Leader to Obama’s Speech.

In an interview, Hidayat Nurwahid, leader of Indonesia’s largest Islamic party, PKS, commenting on Obama’s speech on bringing peace to the Middle East, raised a “big question mark” regarding Obama’s “image” and “expectations” from him. He said the President “did not react strongly” to “human rights violations” during Israel’s raid on the humanitarian ship, Mavi Marmara, and faulted the United States for trying to undermine the formation of a panel to probe this incident.

(SEP20101110150001 Jakarta Metro TV in Indonesian — 24-hour news channel with hourly news bulletins; estimated viewership is 70 million.)

Indonesia: Article Urges Obama, Yudhoyono To ‘Ensure’ Democracy for People

. Commenting on the meeting between Obama and Yudhoyono, an author for The Jakarta Post noted it was intended to forge a “closer relationship” between the two major democracies. It urged both Presidents to serve as “moral compasses” and ensure democratic governance for the “betterment of life” of the people.

(SEP20101110144015 Jakarta The Jakarta Post Online in English — Website of a daily newspaper tailored to give an Indonesian perspective on the news to the foreign community; URL [here]….

Article Suggests Indonesia-US Partnership Disadvantageous for ‘Weaker Party.’

Discussing the “significance” of Obama’s visit, an author for The Jakarta Post said it can be seen as a “sign” that the United States and Indonesia have a “lot in common” and have a great stake in “shaping the democratic world order in the future.” It termed the launching of the comprehensive partnership during the visit as “an expression of concrete solidarity between two political regimes with high hopes in liberal democratic values.” The author said in order to make this partnership “truly” meaningful, a “lot of homework and continued evaluation remains a necessity after the visit.”

(SEP20101110144016 Jakarta The Jakarta Post Online in English — Website of a daily newspaper tailored to give an Indonesian perspective on the news to the foreign community …

Indonesia: Article Says Obama Symbol of ‘Genuine Diversity’ in Global Politics.

Terming Obama’s visit as “good for Indonesia,” an author for the Jakarta Globe said it shows that the “United States is not abandoning the field in Asia any longer.” It added that “Indonesians have good reason to like Obama” because he is really an “example of genuine diversity.”

(SEP20101110144020 Jakarta, Jakarta Globe Online in English — Website of a daily owned by PT Jakarta Globe Media. Provides news and analyses …

Economist: Obama’s Visit To Benefit US Business People ‘More’ Than Indonesians.

An economist from the Yogyakarta-based Muhammadiyah University, Ahmad Ma’ruf, said Obama’s visit “might have been motivated by the superpower’s efforts to maintain its economic dominance.” He said: “American business people will get much more benefit from President Obama’s visit than those of Indonesia.”

(SEP20101110144024 Jakarta ANTARA Online in English — English-language version of the website of the government-owned news agency…

3 Responses

  1. Obama talks a diferent talk when he is in Muslim countries, but sadly continues to walk the same walk when he returns home.

  2. “These principles were put in the constitution by Suharto…”

    Sukarno is more accurate. Suharto didn’t take over for another 20 years.

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