Obama Visit

Mar 17th, 2010, in News, by

Howling opposition and worshipful support of the visit of president Obama to Indonesia.

President Barack Obama is expected to make a belated arrival in Indonesia on 23rd March, without his family and after several postponements, first visiting his old hometown of Jakarta for two days, where from aged 7 to 11 he was known locally as “Barry” Soetoro, later moving on to Bali.

Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia Obama ProtestThe fringe but very well motivated and organised pan-Islamic socialist group Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) has been noisiest in its opposition to the upcoming visit, staging many protests around the country.

Khoiri Sulaiman of the East Java HTI said Obama’s visit would only serve to deepen the subjugation of Indonesia to American economic and political interests, while other HTI spokesmen declared welcoming the American president to be religiously forbidden, or haram. rakyatmerdeka kompas

However the mainstream face of overtly Islamic politics in Indonesia, the Justice Party/Partai Keadilan Sejahtera (PKS), is supportive of the visit, with party chairman Luthfi Hasan Ishaq, once scurrilously rumoured to have been an Afghan war veteran inilah, saying tvone

As a guest of the nation we say “Welcome”. We support better understanding between our two countries, for a better Indonesia.

In a similar way the representative of mild-mannered conservative traditionalist Islam, Nahdlatul Ulama’s (NU) leader Hasyim Muzadi, emphasised the religious onus on Indonesian Muslims to be good hosts to guests, kafirs or not, especially considering that Obama had made efforts, however imperfect, to improve US relations with the Muslim world. antara

enda nasutionMeanwhile, at an extreme to the HTI’s loathing and an example of the semi-worshipful attitude to the US president among some in Indonesia, is one of Indonesia’s oldest, most pre-eminent bloggers, Enda Nasution, who penned an article where Obama is given as writing in the first person about his feelings returning to the place he called home for four years as a child. The piece ends, bizarrely or not: enda.goblogmedia.com

Tapi mudah-mudahan juga. Akan ada kesempatan untuk saya…..mencium bau yang pernah saya hirup dulu. Untuk makan, makanan yang pernah saya rasakan dulu.

Karena kali ini saya tidak hanya datang.

Kali ini juga. Saya.


(But hopefully I’ll have the opportunity as well to smell the smells I knew before. To eat the food I tasted before. Because this time I’m not just visiting. This time. I. Come home.)

Still on the burning issue of what local dish Obama will first sit down to, the US Embassy, – not losing any opportunity to use the visit to promote itself and the image of the US in Indonesia, – has among other efforts created an application on FaceBook to enable popular voting on the food issue, and also what colour or style of batik the president will wear while in the country. facebook

Obama Makan Apa
Rambutan, Rendang, Bakso, Durian, Nasi Goreng

51 Comments on “Obama Visit”

  1. Oigal says:

    I don’t see the US invading Iraq, had Bush not won. No connection to 9/11 and very little impetus for military action outside of neo-conservative circles.

    A dubious assumption at best. To wade into the (shallow) end of the conspiracy pool. After 9/11, the USA were made very aware of the duplicitous and sinister nature their co-called ally, Suadi Arabia.

    The creation of a Middle Eastern, USA friendly democracy offered a neat and tidy way to rectify the situation with minimum loss of face. Of course, the reality was not that neat nor tidy but few could agrue that a reduction in the ability of nations like Iran and SA to export their hatred would be a bad thing.

  2. Arie Brand says:

    We only hear about Indonesian protests against the Obama visit yet if the American public wasn’t so woefully ill-informed about what is going on in this ‘island paradise’ we would hear much more about American criticism of this support for a regime that often prefers bullets above ballots:

  3. Odinius says:

    Oigal said:

    A dubious assumption at best. To wade into the (shallow) end of the conspiracy pool. After 9/11, the USA were made very aware of the duplicitous and sinister nature their co-called ally, Suadi Arabia.

    The creation of a Middle Eastern, USA friendly democracy offered a neat and tidy way to rectify the situation with minimum loss of face. Of course, the reality was not that neat nor tidy but few could agrue that a reduction in the ability of nations like Iran and SA to export their hatred would be a bad thing.

    If Saudi Arabia was such a problem, why not change US policy towards it? Other than moving troops to Qatar and Oman, nothing changed in that relationship. And frankly, Saudi didn’t really grow any more or less dangerous either. Bush and his friends were knee-deep in personalized connections to Saudi Arabia, and it doesn’t take a conspiracy theorist to see that this is fact. Thus, I really can’t see Iraq having much at all to do with Saudi whatsoever.

    It was about deposing Saddam for some, grabbing oil access for others, an opportunity to embarrass the UN for others, and an attempt to create a “democratic domino” effect in the region for others still. The pro-war cabal was a diverse bunch, as was the anti-war cabal. Gore, in all likelihood, would have continued to follow Clinton’s path down the middle, using multilateral, sanctions-based containment policies peppered with the occasional wave of airstrikes.

    Given that waging war in Iraq took a lot of PR effort to (cynically, erroneously and embarrassingly) sell the war as against “the terrorists,” I really don’t see any credible reason to assume that leaders who didn’t have a hard-on for Saddam, weren’t really concerned about cornering Iraq’s oil market and didn’t believe in domino fantasies would have done the same as those who did.

  4. Oigal says:

    If Saudi Arabia was such a problem, why not change US policy towards it? Other than moving troops to Qatar and Oman, nothing changed in that relationship.


  5. David says:

    As well as visiting his old primary school in Menteng (Jakarta), perhaps he could also meet his long lost twin brother, the deputy governor of Maluku Karel Ralahalu:

    I’ll see you your deputy governor of Maluku and raise you Obasa, mayoral candidate for Surabaya.

    Okay, name aside doesn’t look much like Obama. He does sort of look like a generic African dictator though. But I like him, he’s got my vote.

  6. timdog says:

    I like that guy too, Patung. He does look just like an African dictator and his smile is, well, I don’t know whether it’s nice or not, but he is smiling. And it’s nice to see a bit of, ahem, colour, in the election…

    I was in Blitar last week and there was one calon for mayor there, whose posters were decidedly creepy. He looked creepy himself, with this kind of pasty face and eyes that managed to convey terminal illness, experience of abuse as a child and come-to-bed [so I can murder you in sadomasochistic fashion] all at the same time.
    His tag line, which really creeped me out in light of his portals-to-hell eyes, peering out above it, was “I understand what you want”, in the informal. Shudder… I can’t remember who he was standing for though.

  7. David says:

    Is he from Ambon, Obasa? I have a Javanese friend from Purwokerto, she’s rather dark, and her nickname is ‘ambon’, dark people come from Ambon apparently…

    I thought this one was funny:

  8. timdog says:

    Yeah, I saw that one for the first time yesterday. Genuinely very cool.

    Dunno where Obasa is from… He could be from Ambon. Some of them are pretty dark there I think (not been), but I don’t think they’re proper dark like people at the far end of NTT (where I’m heading for tomorrow), and of course even further east. I’ve never heard Ambon used as a nickname/insult for dark people before, but “Irian”, or the even more charming “Afrika” – Hear that often…

  9. Chris says:

    I have a Javanese friend from Purwokerto, she’s rather dark, and her nickname is ‘ambon’, dark people come from Ambon apparently…

    Even my regular taxi driver – who we use because he is a nice guy as well as a safe driver – made reference to us meeting “orang hitam” when finding out I was going to Ambon.

    I don’t know why; I suppose Javanese (the people living in Java, not the ethnicity) have some stereotype that people from the far East must live in the jungle like tribal people or something.

  10. Oigal says:

    Well when I was schooling in Kupang (student but not a very good one). The homestay family I was staying with, pulled me aside and told me I was lowering the tone of the family because I had been seen studying with a girl from Alor with very curly hair and dark skin.

    Mind you, the home stay family were from Sumba, stunningly attractive all, light skinned, toned, tall but as racist as any KKK member from the deep south..(I must tell you about our family outing to see the burnt Muslim homes one day…just as a counter point to the “oh those evil muslim stories” )

  11. timdog says:

    You’ve aluded to that story before Oigal, why not get it out now? Go on!

    Sumbanese people are indeed often very beautiful (and their neighbours on Sabu too). Their own ancestor myths have them coming from India, and looking at them it seems entirely feasible: they are clearly not melanesian like their neighbours in Timor and Flores (and Alor of course), but they don’t really look “Malay” either…

  12. Oigal says:

    Certainly, I would say there is no doubt Indian, Seriously the daugher was simply the most naturally beautiful girl/woman I have ever seen bar none. Tall, lithe very “roman” facial features in a combination that was simply stunning.

    Of course, she then went and got herself knocked up at 18 years of age but thats another story (and it wasn’t me!)

    I really should tell the story one day, simply bizarre in its calm acceptance as normal by the people escorting me and my gob smack befuddlement at what I was seeing/hearing

  13. Odinius says:

    I had a similar experience in Kalbar. “Let’s all go gawk at the village we burned a few years ago. Wasn’t that fun?”

  14. syonan says:

    What does Khoiri Sulaiman means when he says Obama’s visit is subjugation of Indonesia by the United States of America. Khoiri Sulaiman is still living in the past when Indonesia was subjugated by the Nederland. This is all history now and Indonesia must move ahead for the betterment of the people and the country and the most important is to pull the majority of the people out of poverty and ensure that there is employment and employment means food for the people thereafter there will be peace and happiness in the country. As to what other H.T.I. spokesmen has stated that it is religiously haram to invite U.S. President Obama, again I say this, do not blacken the Good Name of Islam! As a Muslim, I say this to the U.S. President Obama…Welcome back to Indonesia!

  15. Odinius says:

    You’re absolutely right, syonan. They are the ones insulting Islam.

  16. Ross says:

    Kind of a quiet weekend, so chew on this, guys!

    The Western Journalism Center released an authoritative explanation of the Obama birth controversy that helps to explain the confusion on Capitol Hill which revolves mostly around Obama’s online Certification of Live Birth (COLB):

    “The Certification of Live Birth is not a copy of the original birth certificate. It is a computer-generated document that the state of Hawaii issues on request to indicate that a birth certificate of some type is ‘on record in accordance with state policies and procedures.’ And there is the problem. Given the statutes in force in 1961, the Certification of Live Birth proves nothing unless we know what is on the original birth certificate. There are several legal areas (involving ethnic quotas and subsidy) for which the state of Hawaii up until June 2009 did not accept its computer-generated Certification of Live Birth as sufficient proof of birth – or parentage – in Hawaii. Why should the citizens of the United States be content with lower standards for ascertaining the qualifications of their President?”

    The Obama campaign is to a large degree responsible for the birthplace controversy by at first claiming that Obama was born at Queens Hospital and, at another time, claiming that he was born at Kapioliani Hospital. These conflicting assertions, combined with reports of his paternal grandmother’s insistence to an interviewer that he was born in Kenya; and the break-in to the Obama passport file at the State Department (at least one news report alleged the file was cauterized) by an employee of The Analysis Corp., a firm headed by one of Obama’s top advisers (John Brennan) have all contributed to escalating demands for Obama to document his “natural born” citizenship status.

    Additionally, the Ambassador to the US from Kenya (Peter Ogego) asserted in a radio interview in November 2008 that the President was born in Kenya. A Kenyan Anabaptist minister also provided an affidavit, attesting to a conversation with a civil employee of the Kenyan Government, a Principal Registrar, who confirmed Obama’s birth in Kenya on August 4, 1961, but said his file was classified.

    Obama should release his original birth certificate and put an end to relentless speculation over whether he meets the Constitutional fitness test for the nation’s highest office. Original documentation for 1961 from the hospital or Department of Health can resolve this point without in any way compromising Obama’s privacy or subjecting him to the danger of identity theft.

    Patriotic citizens serving in uniform preparing to go into harm’s way deserve to be treated with respect and forthrightness – and they need to know whether the Commander in Chief is lawfully entitled to serve in this capacity, or not.

  17. realest says:

    I don’t think Obama should release his birth certificate, it would only distract more important issues from being highlighted. This insignificant matter would drown easily in a sea of financial and system-reform programs. We all know that Americans are better than this, putting aside racial differences for a greater cause.
    Somehow i believe that someone in the system already know the real truth(unless obama’s parents planned for him to become president at birth) but chose to keep mum about it. I don’t think “lawfully entitled” is coined properly in this matter cos he would’ve been caught pants-down when he was a senator should his citizenship itself becomes questionable.

  18. Ross says:

    If he released it and it turned out to be real, his critics on the issue would have to bob down fast. He’s on a winner if he’s legit.
    It’s his palpable fear of revealing the cert that keeps controversy raging
    Tho on second thoughts, he’s been hiding so much else, that it might have a domino effect. Most Americans like truth. Obama doesn’t.

  19. Odinius says:


    I can’t believe you’ve been roped in by these nuts. The state of Hawaii forbids the public release of an original birth certificate, and instead has released a notarized copy. Leave the nuts in the nuthouse, mate…

  20. Ross says:

    It can surely be released to the person whose birth it records. And he could then brandish it to silence the campaigners. If he wanted to. So why doesn’t he want to?

  21. Purba Negoro says:

    Obama is not an Indonesian patriot, hero or contributor.
    That statue to him was a real insult- and I am very glad the DPR DKI moved quickly to relocate it where its’ USA-worshipers can fellate it privately.

    To quote the brave Bolivar of today: El Presidente Senor Hugo Chavez:
    “The New World Order again is on the march- this time with a smiling brown face”.

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