How Hivos in Southeast Asia wrapped up 2014

January 9, 2015

The Hivos Regional Office in Southeast Asia thought the end of 2014 would be a good time to celebrate pluralism. So in the spirit of International Human Rights Day, we organised a film screening of The Look of Silence for Jakarta-based foreign dignitaries. The Look of Silence is a 2014 documentary directed by Joshua Oppenheimer about the Indonesian killings of 1965-1966. Hivos has been a great supporter of Oppenheimer’s works since his internationally acclaimed TheAct of Killing came out in 2012.

The Hivos Jakarta office also helped fund Anonymous, Oppenheimer’s Indonesian co-producer, to organise a series of screenings so the general Indonesian public could see this documentary, which highlights a politically sensitive issue that divided the nation some fifty years ago.

We celebrated another champion of pluralism by supporting the 2014 Ahmad Wahib Award. Ahmad Wahib, a Tempo journalist who died in a motorcycle accident in the early 1970s, was a solid promoter of interreligious affairs in his day. Upon his death, some of his colleagues managed to save his diary and later published it as a book. His diary opened many minds to Wahib’s deep thoughts on how to perceive and preserve pluralism.

Now, he is seen as an icon who has set a good example of how to respect others and live peacefully with people of different backgrounds.

In her speech at the opening of the Ahmad Wahib Award ceremony, Hivos Southeast Asia acting director Tunggal Pawestri cited Wahib’s most famous quote.

“I’m not a Nationalist, neither a Catholic, neither a Socialist. I’m not a Buddhist, neither a Protestant, neither a Western. I have never been a Communist. I have never been a Humanist. I am everything. Hopefully this is what we call a Muslim. I want people to judge and to look at me as an absolute (entity) without linking me to which groups I belong to and which thinking I depart from. Understanding human as a being.” (October 9, 1969)

This is also the spirit in which we, Hivos, work in Southeast Asia and throughout the world.