This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
and The Beautiful to Mass Rape in the D.R.C.: From Suharto’s Dead Body to the Laying Waste of a Recycling Community Postscript: For Bill This essay has been slightly edited and posted on-line in mid- September 2013, to remember the recently late Professor William F. Kelleher Jr., formerly of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, author of The Troubles in Ballybogoin: Memory and Identity in Northern Ireland (2003).[i] For people like Bill at UIUC in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, The Unit for Interpretive Criticism was the intellectual beating heart of the university and it was in that context that I mainly knew him rather than from within the department itself. The Unit drew the most fertile minds on campus into mutual creative ferment, enlivening classes and social relations across the humanities. Considering the post-modern culture wars raging at the time, for Bill, then yet untenured, those were perhaps the best of times and the worst of times. I did not know Bill that well in that I never had a class with him, having already completed my coursework by then, but I fondly remember him nonetheless, a beer here or coffee there, and often wonder what course my analysis of the politics of the history of Shona sculpture might otherwise have taken had I studied with him. Most of all, I do know that for my wife who is now the Indonesian Country Representative for The Asia Foundation, no report, no decision made on any day at work on development and human rights, democracy and security, etc. goes by without his lectures on the politics of power relations foremost in her mind. For myself, Bill’s passing seems to have triggered its own transformational significance, an incipient desire to return to campus, to finally engage critical theory on its own terms so as to move from the immediacy of what follows below to something more mature, abstract. Perhaps it’s time to go home to Urbana next Fall, to re-read Foucault, to return for a while to the fold and try and cure this alienation. Introduction Jakarta, Sunday morning February 3, 2008. Star TV. The Bold and The Beautiful. Brooke Logan has been raped. Bruised, beaten, abused and raped, her daughter Brigit gently holds her as she sobs and recounts the events she would not revisit on her worst enemy. My family is transfixed. Thanks to the years I spent in graduate school, inspired by the Unit for Interpretive Criticism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, above all by Lawrence Grossberg and Carey Nelson this was natural grist for my anthropological mill though I have for too long refused to theorize, to submit myself to the discipline of critical theory. Forgive me Bill and Larry. After so many years in the
field, I am ready now though feeling as ambiguous as ever, still unsure of what voice, what form would serve me best. For those of you who have never watched The Bold and The Beautiful and do not have complex and evolving para-social relations to these characters, that is fine and well as my concern here, as it was in 2008, was with real victims of rape in the DRC, the challenges they face, the nature of their suffering, no matter for critical theory but action.[ii] So imagine then if you will the ongoing war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) - 5.4 million dead - mass rape systematically used as a weapon of war – unimaginable violations - a culture of complete and unutterable impunity. Of those surviving women and men, girls, boys and infants, even octogenarians, they have typically been so brutally gang raped in public in more spectacular acts of violence than would have inspired Foucault. Shot into, torn apart with sticks and knives and bayonettes, tortured to show that resistance is futile, multiple surgeries are required to re-engineer their insides. Traumatic fistula? Ever heard of it? Fuck Baudrillard. Better you read about Dr. Mukwegwe and Eve Elsner’s work at the City of Joy. Perhaps you see my problem. Unlike Brooke Logan in The Bold and The Beautiful who will look after these victims until they can look after themselves? Their husbands will leave them, society will ostracize and shame them because they can no longer control their bodily functions. They constantly leak faeces and urine. The smell is unimaginable no less the shame and the impossibility of looking after their families and children all of whom they loose upon being shunned and abandoned. Will you help them get their dignity and their families back? Or will you blithely just change the subject, switch the channel, turn another page? For the vast majority of us who do so, after all, what can one do anyway but the DRC or Syria or what have you, what does this tell us about alienation? More directly, what does this have to do for myself, then living in the elite neighborhood of Menteng around the corner from Soeharto. Why would I be sitting here working through this in the process of writing an article on rape and fistula in the DRC for a conference in Austin on War in Africa next month and for a workshop in the U.S. Holocaust Museum and advocacy work on Capitol Hill with the Congo Global Action group in April.[iii] I wonder what Bill would say. So now, five years later, editing this post-modernist reflective piece on that journey, with Bill’s funeral in mind, and with the DRC in as big a mess as ever, I begin to wonder if it’s not time to return to theory and close the circle, to return to Foucault, to spend some time on campus again, to get some analytic distance from these subjects.[iv] From Rage to Action The Bold and The Beautiful. Jakarta, Saturday February 9, Star TV. This weekend Jakarta morning Ridge Forrester is in a fight with Brooke’s psychopathic rapist. The man mocks him with how he will never believe who served his ex-wife up to him on a silver plate. He readies to attack with a metal rod, but surprised by a security guard. He backs into a transformer, and screams and screams as he dies. I hiss to myself in intense suspense, “Fry Baby Fry.” But back to the DRC. February 15, this paper is due and in the past seven days, according to the figures provided in the media and the information given in this paper, hundreds of people have been brutally raped and murdered. If this is not the Heart of Darkness, then what is? And again why should this matter to those of us born to
the luxury of watching the day time drama of The Bold and The Beautiful and buzzing the buzzer for the servants to bring more tea and fried bananas? Why do I really care about the plight of these victims so far away no less the plight of the urban poor being treated worse than garbage in Jakarta? That is the question I am interested in exploring here. It’s not a difficult or important philosophical question, it’s just something that bothers me all the time, as with the state of museums and universities in Indonesia. Maybe writing about these things will help. Or should I just go for a walk, take a long hike? So speaking mainly to myself I suppose, wondering what Bill might have said, I thought I’d recall the following perhaps trivial, transformative moment because it is personally iconic of how and why I have come to the point where I would go to all this effort to engage the terrible happenings in the DRC, things which go on to this day unabated. In late December last year, 2007, I was walking down Jalan Teuku Umar (Embassy Lane) in Menteng, Jakarta, to go to the bank. I heard a distraught woman screaming and crying and wailing further down at the other side of the recycling community that used to exist under the overhead railway that cuts across Jakarta and into the hinterland of Java. A man was pushing her around. I did something I have never done before and probably never will again. It was something that had been on my mind since the last time I saw a man abusing a young girl in front of the mammoth new Indonesia Shopping Village behind the old Hotel Indonesia made famous in film The Year of Living Dangerously and like everyone else – did nothing. That night I swore to myself that the next time I saw something like that I would intervene so as to escalate the conflict and end the violence. So duly prepared emotionally - I lost it. From afar, I started bellowing at the man in my poor Indonesian and stormed across the road in front of the graceful old colonial building which used to be the local immigration office. And though I am a relatively small person, I have learnt that feigned madness has its advantage and in any event being an Indonesian he was not much bigger than me. I strode up to the man and pushed him – hard. Suddenly, to my amazement, my pathetic Indonesian became fluent. I menacingly threatened him and shouted: “If you want to hit her, hit me!” - and pushed him again for good measure while repeating the invitation. The frail malnourished hysterical woman sat down sobbing on the side of the road and the man sat down too refusing to look me in the eye, instead picking up his fresh cup of steaming coffee and staring sullenly at the rising steam. Perhaps the tropics have finally gotten to me, or so you might be thinking. Another very obviously poor and malnourished woman approached from the shadows and then a teenager from further up the street. Completely oblivious to how ridiculous this all was I immediately confronted the woman and said “who are you?” as if that was my right or any of this was by any stretch of the imaginati on. She said “I am her sister.” Then I said to the boy “And who are you?” “I am her son” he replied. And then when he told me that the man now brooding over his coffee was his father I started yelling again: “How can you let your father abuse your mother in this way?” At that point I noticed a dangerous looking thug approaching from the lower end of the community by the makeshift car wash and prepared for a quick exit before he entered the fray. By now, I had also noticed that this new extended family had built two relatively solid plywood rooms beyond what used to be the lower end of this community below the tracks, this section working at more complicated physical and illegal tasks if you know what I mean – though it was all very discrete.
I dropped my tone and shifted to the most menacing manner I could affect – “I am going to come back here tonight with my West Sumatran Padang wife and if you think I am a crazy bastard just wait till you cross paths with my wife!” They all looked at me dumbfounded. I gave the poor sobbing woman all the money I had in my wallet and stormed off under the bridge where the dust and scattered broken bricks smell of piss because it is a convenient place to do so – and to sleep in the heat of the day on the concrete in the shade if one must. Though it occurred to me that I had crossed a threshold in my life in that for the first time I had physically taken a stand and intervened despite the absurdity of it all and the obvious critique of what right I had to do so, above all I remember immediately an alarm bell going off in my head. I was suddenly for the first time concerned about the community’s future keeping in mind that similar communities were increasingly being evicted from underpasses and river banks all over the city. In this instance, as soon as I noticed the strikingly semipermanent looking nature of the two new structures, I realized that there was going to be trouble with the authorities one way or another. The police post was just twenty or so meters at most down the lane, by the mosque which in colonial times had been a club. I had never noticed any thugs in the community before. They were here now for a reason as always – to do the state’s dirty work. Not a few weeks later I noticed that both these structures had gone and then after dusk on Thursday night, January the 31st, walking up the road with a young colleague, from a distance I could tell that something was very wrong. There was an emptiness in the air, no sounds, no people. Getting closer I noticed that the banana trees had all been leveled, the structures dismantled and everything carted off to who knows where, the chickens too. All that was left was rubble and bleeding banana stumps, the community wiped out of existence. As I picked my way through the dusty smoking rubble, I suddenly wished that I had done what I had always intended to do - to tell this community’s story but I had been too busy with other more esoteric projects such as the telling the tale of the FPI Muslim vigilantes and Playboy Indonesia and it had never occurred to me to study and photograph the community considering how permanent and secure it had all seemed to be.[v] Besides I had numerous other issues to deal with as we all do, museums and the Indonesian disinterest in museums foremost, not the least of which were trying to learn more about the DRC conflict and the end fistula campaign, the subject of the paper from which this material has been duly excised. Getting closer to the path opposite what I like to call Happy Lane, the lowest rental in the richest neighborhood in Indonesia, I saw a lone old woman squatting washing and scrubbing a cheap printed batik sarong. Nearby, smoke drifted up to the overhead railway track from a small fire burning the last of the community’s remains. Beside her was a wooden push cart that the scavengers use in Indonesia. In it were her few remaining possessions. Of-course I knew her quite well and asked her what had happened. Without any rancor she explained that the authorities had destroyed the community. When I asked her why, she said that they said they had done it because it was a dirty place. What could I do? I gave her most of the money in my wallet and wished her well. What else could I do? Write a stupid angry letter to The Jakarta Post? Start another ridiculous campaign like my one man war against the Head of the BRR Kuntoro and the Governor of Aceh Irwandi over the planned tsunami museum that no-
one of any importance is interested in here in Indonesia despite all the hype about reformasi, combating corruption and promoting democracy and open society in Aceh? [vi] Walking on past the smoking remains of what had been a community of great dignity and small scale industriousness, I fumed as I remembered the quiet security and gentleness I had always observed there as I passed by what had been the outdoor t.v. lounge and then the bathing facilities and the sorting and slow burning areas so carefully screened and managed in order to prevent just this eventuality from transpiring. And further up the road, I found perhaps the real reason for the leveling of this community, the same reason all over the world every time, if not war – Development. Of-course I had seen it all coming in my heart many weeks before when I had quizzically observed the appearance of the first potted plants in the empty space just beyond the community which I myself had long wanted to colonize and turn into a butterfly park. Tonight there was a new sturdy bamboo fence around the potted plants sale and new materials for sale on site, bags of potting soil, cement and stone pots and larger much more expensive plants for the Menteng elite. And not a few days later, down by where the incident occurred with the abusive husband and the hysterical wife, a car rental business had moved in to use the now clean emptied space to park their vehicles. The Buddha Bar was coming, yet another story of corruption, power and impending trouble. No doubt it had all been planned well in advance, just as probably almost every incidence of mass rape is in the DRC. Reflections at The Cendana Residence: Watching Over Soeharto’s Corpse After walking past the new Gondangdia government recycling facility, past the Pakistani International School, turning right to the Christian mission Hotel and then left up Teuku Umar past the newly reconstructed Iraqi embassy across the street, all I could think of is the astounding lack of compassion of the rich. Here died a community earning a dignified and useful living on the trash of the Menteng elite, dispersed back to their villages or across town, a group of people I respected a great deal for their integrity and diligence - not something that I could say for most of the Indonesian super-elite. But let us not go there for now lest I loose control and say things that are professionally and academically inadmissible – and worse yet - lest I vent my spleen about the perpetrators of rape and murder in the DRC and elsewhere, never mind the longstanding widespread practice of raping virgins and babies in Zimbabwe to cure HIV or the rapist South African President To Be and potential proud self-afflicted AIDS victim - Jacob Zuma. Heart of Darkness indeed. Agh forget about going back to campus next Fall, the university is no place for me. As we walked home past ex-President Megawati’s house, and past the banners wishing farewell to the late ex-president Soeharto, that being the sixth of the seventh day of national mourning, passing by my memories of what had been hundreds upon hundreds of dollars worth of farewell plaques made of flowers which had surely just been industriously re-cycled and re-sold nearby further up the line by the Cikini railway station, my anger peaked. A young friend, an Embassy child, was rationalizing why some people notice such things and care and others do not. Heatedly I contested her argument that charity is a gift and thus always indicative of a relation and in this case of a self-serving
attempt to make oneself feel better for one reason or another. I found it disgusting that my desire to help the victims of injustice in any way possible could be hypothetically reduced or rationalized to the cynical explanation that some might interpret my desire as a means to make me feel better about myself, or for some other ulterior purpose, and that the lack of a sense of charity in the average person was not ultimately a moral issue. I honestly believe that when I reacted to these situations and gave these two women that very small amount of money I did it merely out of compassion as it was the least I could do. I did it for no other reason and certainly not because it made me feel that I am a better person for it. How I wish I could do more! I wonder what Bill would say. What is the point in writing this never mind taking it any further? These are the type of issues I turned over calmly in my heart as I geared up emotionally to write the paper on mass rape as a weapon of war while sitting “respectfully” watching over Soeharto’s body in his home one block over on Jalan Cendana on Sunday night, January 20, 2008. As I sat there in his home with his extended family and the innermost New Order cronies, I focused my thoughts on poverty, oppression and suffering, my previous hatred towards the man strangely long since completely dissipated, perhaps as I had never been one of the New Order victims. But my rage against those individuals who personally physically committed all the torture and murder particularly in 1965 was no the less for it, as opposed to the way in which Indonesians opposed to Soeharto focus all their hatred simply on the man himself rather on the perpetrators in their midst at every level of society. Most of all I pondered my inability to comprehend the phenomenal lack of commitment to heal the world by so many of those in power in the developing world and by those here and there with the means to at least do something in some small way, intellectuals in gilded ivory towers living far away off the fat of the world in particular, talking about power. By now you may be asking what relevance any of this has to do with the DRC and if my hypothesis that such compassion might well not lie in a form of minor insanity and emotional immaturity in being unable to accept the stark realities of power and injustice, oppression and war. Why cannot I simply rationalize such phenomenon as being of no concern to myself as they do not directly affect me one way or another? Why on earth do I get so upset and what does this have to do with intellectual mileage for reflecting on alienation and hypocrisy? How could I have gone from the rarified philosophical discussions in the Levis Center at my university to this sense of impotent rage under an overhead railway in Jakarta and then such utter detachment sitting nearby Sohearto’s dead body? The Bold and The Beautiful rape drama made me wonder how those women in the DRC, and their families, will deal with their trauma over the coming years in an environment which may or may not improve, never mind the Menteng scavengers and those being hounded all over the city. More specifically, it reminds me of why it is so important to identify and prosecute the individual perpetrators of those crimes and pressure for legislation which will forbid any form of amnesty in a peace settlement in the DRC, never mind protect and assist the disenfranchised from wayward city government policies to “clean up” the city. The big issue for this reflective piece however is how global action networks and the mass media can come together to promote compassionate action, common ground, prosecution, peace building, security and ultimately prosperity. Maybe there is some sense after all then in my passage from
Urbana to Menteng and perhaps back again for a while, from issues of representation in popular culture to how to help a doctor in the DRC, neither of which I’ve ever achieved much to speak of but no matter, it is after just a journey is it not? But the smaller more immediate issue for Indonesia at that time was how to empower the recyclers though nothing ever came of it. And so it was that my rage against a small injustice, a very minor incident of violence against one woman, and one tiny community, informs my thoughts and my labor as a concerned Africanist living in Asia and wishing for a better future for those less fortunate here and there. And in the end, what have I done? Nothing. All I’ve done is just turned it all into another piece of unpublishable writing. Useless! Talk about alienation. Reflecting on Common Ground: On Daring to Care Enough to Act As is often the case here in Indonesia, or back at home in Zimbabwe with Mugabe’s Murambatsvina (meaning “clear the filth” – read opposition) campaign [and his repeated re-elections], when I witness such gross injustice I find myself enraged, incensed, barely able to control the anger which boils up in my blood. And as I mentioned above, I frequently wonder if it is perhaps a sign of madness as I rarely ever see other people get so upset about such things. Moreover, I often wonder if this sensitivity is a sign of emotional instability and immaturity, a refusal to grow up and accept reality. This was the exact same reaction I had experienced when the DRC crisis came to my attention on the internet here in Menteng as the Gondangdia people sorted through the trash outside. It was the very same emotional reaction I had years ago in graduate school in Urbana, Illinois when I first read the New York Times one morning in the coffee shop on the way to the department about the use of mass rape as a weapon of war during the Bosnian crisis. Impelled, as immaturely as ever perhaps, this time, when I read about the problem in the DRC, I immediately committed to trying to find some way to help and if not to help then somehow force it into academic context. And naturally, had it not been for the post-modern self-reflexive turn in anthropology, I would not be situating myself in terms of my personal evolution of engaging this history, never mind by context reflecting in passing on the topic as it concerns globalism and the role of media in daily life. Accordingly, I have tried to convey the relationship between my current location in Indonesia and why and how and why I wrote that chapter on the DRC out of which this Menteng story has emerged. My interest in this case of the campaign to end fistula particularly in the DRC came about in some important sense a result of my interest in the importance of the mass media and new media for the global distribution of knowledge and the participatory challenge. Naturally this is because I live in Indonesia and thus do not have access to a decent library, never mind digital access to the social science literature for that matter. In this, I am constantly evaluating the content richness of the information on the web and not only how much one can learn and do in this new media environment but how effective the use of media can be for assisting in social and political change. For this reason, the paper “Mass Rape as a Weapon of War in the DRC” which emerged from this relatively trivial experience in Menteng is in and of itself an exercise in a form of applied media anthropology as I only learnt about the “War in Africa” conference in Austin
because of an email message in the first place and subsequently educated myself and became involved as I could through the internet. Meeting having achieved effectively nothing as far as I know, no more than publishing a chapter and giving a few talks on the subject, at least having met Eve [Elsner] briefly and thank her, that’s going to have to be good enough for me. I believe this all has broader relevance to the innate desire social activists have to effect change in the face of injustice, that the more academics get involved in such things rather than simply theorize about them the better. I think Bill would agree though now I’ll never know. More importantly perhaps, it was only through marrying one of Bill’s students and thus the context of working on Islam and gender in Indonesia that I became deeply committed in a reflective and applied way to issues of gender, poverty and power. This was not in the ball park while I was a graduate student. Indeed, even during the academic sessions at the African Studies Association meeting in Toronto in 1994 during the Rwandan Genocide I saw no point in ineffective statements by academic associations. I watched the packed room and discussion from the sideline feeling inured and powerless. Besides, I had my own problems at the time. There seemed to be no place for me in the liberal academy. I felt like a wolf disguised within a sheep skin. The rancor and the heat of the race politics in African studies and at that conference in particular – I had to get out. After abandoning ship I found myself following in quiet fury the sexual, physical and mental plight of Indonesian women domestic servants suffering severe abuse in Arab countries in particular. This interest in gender and poverty, and in patriarchy and religious hypocrisy in particular, became more important to me when I became involved in editing and commenting upon the gender program reports at The Asia Foundation, not writing about it but engaging the work of people trying to effect change in people’s lives [vii] Nevertheless, at the end of the day, as an intellectual, theoretically challenged as I may be, as down to earth as I like to be, all these issues of gender, social justice, religion and poverty still remained largely academic until that day I lost control and overcame my alienation below the railway tracks in Menteng. But I only overcome it briefly. It is clearly a permanent condition. And yet for those people, trained anthropologists like my wife working in development, every day they work to make things better against whatever odds. Their training and what they read as graduate students makes that possible. Bill would be happy to know that. Sandra Hamid write that book. Dedicate it to Bill. Conclusion By way of conclusion, I return to the notion of alienation and charity which lies at the heart of this reflection on the will to action to alleviate suffering. When my young anthropologist colleague gave me the earlier noted insight into how inured people are, especially the Indonesian elite to the rampant and spectacular social injustice in Indonesia and the difficulty I was having in getting anthropologists and Africanists to join the Endfistula campaign, I was outraged. And that was before one could even imagine that a film like Joshua Oppenheimer’s recent Act of Killing (2012) was a remote hypothetical possibility, never mind revealing the unspeakable conviction at large and in the express statements by the perpetrators in the rightness of mass murder and how next time – they’ll finish the job properly.
Yet again I must first admit that when I was an ivory tower academic I had no interest in activism but merely in analysis. Moreover, as a Zimbabwean born in Rhodesia, I have a highly ambiguous relation to Africa and Zimbabwe in particular. Indeed, it has only been life and work in Indonesia that transformed my understanding of the difference between what can and should arguably be done with academic knowledge versus the intellectual process of researching, writing and teaching about injustice, gender empowerment and development. In this instance, as regards the minor incident in Menteng, it is iconic for myself in being a moment of transition. In essence, it is illustrative perhaps of how and why one can connect deeply to a situation worlds apart, whether it be on your own doorstep or in another continent and how or why one can achieve or attempt to achieve a difference and why one should. When I was in graduate school development may as well have been a dirty word. For some it seems it still is. And yet for others trained in anthropology, what would their compassion and activism have served had their not been such applied fields? Have they not applied lessons from critical theory about power relations and people’s discourses about their lives and used them to make a difference in life and law, peace and security, in their bank balances and in their dreams, never mind in the surgery required in the DRC? But perhaps this is all really about something else. Is this desire to help others a result of personal frustrations and alienations finding their expression in socially acceptable and productive outlets? Does it have something to do with the impotent rage of being powerless and wishing to be more powerful? In any event, why do some individuals have a need to help as and where they can while others do not? In asking myself these questions over the last few months, writing this paper has been as much a process of self-reflection on the humanitarian drive as an analysis of the issue of rape as a weapon of war and fistula in the DRC. Strangely enough, it came about by pure chance because the heartless treatment of the urban poor by the Jakarta city government and the lack of compassion or will by members of the Indonesian elite who could do something about such things if they really cared. And yet it seems all is not lost, not everything is hopeless, the new Governor of Jakarta Jokowi is doing what was formerly unimaginable. But that’s the real world and it’s time for me to get back to Foucault.
William F. Kelleher Jr.. The Troubles in Ballybogoin: Memory and Identity in Northern Ireland (2003). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
A reflective analysis motivating the paper - “Mass Rape as a Weapon of War in the DRC and the Campaign to End Fistula” presented in War in Africa at the University of Texas at Austin, March 27-29, 2008, published as “Combating Rape as Weapon of War in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and the Campaign to End Fistula” in Narrating War and Peace in Africa. Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora. Eds., Toyin Falola and Hetty Ter Haar. Rochester: University of Rochester Press. 2010, pp. 113-140.
See Congo Global Action workshops and programs in the U.S. Holocaust Museum and on Capitol Hill, March 31-April 2, 2008.
Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (1999/1977), trans. Alan Sheridan. New York: Vintage Books.
“The Indonesian Playboy Debacle.” Paper presented at The Second Annual Conference on Southeast Asian Culture and Religion, Mahidol University, Thailand. August 2006.
See “The Achenese Museum Conflict or Does Aceh Really Need a $7.5 million Tsunami Museum?” a paper and on-line discussion on the emerging tsunami museum crisis to be presented at Museum Ethnography at Home, at the Pitt Rivers Museum at the University of Oxford, April 10 and 11 and at Cambridge University, April 18, 2008 duly published as 2009 “Memorials, State Domination and Inclusion versus Exclusion: The Case of the Tsunami Museum in Banda Aceh.” The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum 2(2):99-110.
In 2006, I edited reports for the Gender program at The Asia Foundation. In editing those reports and commenting in detail about the programs I developed a familiarity with the type of work NGO’s are doing to alleviate violence against women, prevent trafficking, introduce gender sensitive budgeting and promote women’s political participation in Indonesia in specific and in the developing world in general. This advanced my previous work with liberal Islam in Indonesia where women’s rights is a key issue (see Faqhihudin 2006) and my long standing personal emo tional concern starting in the mid to late 1990’s with the issue of trafficking particularly the virtual slavery and rampant sexual, physical and mental abuse of Indonesian domestic servants in Saudi Arabia and other such countries. As an intellectual, and as one particularly interested in religion, culture, and more recently with the application of knowledge especially in terms of political advocacy, I am mainly concerned philosophically with issues of hypocrisy and alienation.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.