Day #1 – Monday, July 15, 2013
Today the program officially begins. The facilitator introduced himself, gave a speech, and then ask participants to introduce other who is sitting next to him/her. Sitting next to me was a guest participant. An India. His name is Sultan Beary, an advocate, practicing before High Court in Bangalore. The interesting thing is, his concern in dealing with cases of criminal conspiracy, like terror. He recalled that the State often arresting innocent people for their own interests. Sort of transfer issue by States. So, instead of the media attention focused on the problems of corruption and other, better give a more splashy news to them like terror. So there he stood, in between the helpless, to those that can do nothing even to defend themselves. His concern to the problems of human rights makes me think of another icon, Yap Thiam Hien. I’m glad to know that in every country, there is always a good people. Hmm, nice to meet you, man!
The next session, Caroline, our facilitator, deploying several A4 sized pictures on the floor. We walked around the images, pay attention to the message, and then choose one image that we think the most talking. Then share what’s on our minds to all participants. I chose a picture of a city with so many skyscrapers. At first glance this picture shows modernity, progress, or even our pride. But among all the greatness, there are violence against children and women, there are commercial sex workers, there are those who do not have access to public services, the illiterates, there is also intolerance and ignorance, there is also a large capital games, which denies the people suffering in various regions and the destruction of the environments.
The last session is a session of prejudice. We grouped according to our respective countries, and each group was asked to make a list of the usual prejudices people think about the other three participating countries. That is, from Indonesia, we have to list the common prejudice against the Netherlands, India, and Uganda. Not too hard actually. Surprisingly, when each group make a presentation, friends from other countries do not know much about Indonesia so that they has no prejudices but such information like the majority of the population is Muslim, polite people, Bali, yummy food, VOC. In fact, they were surprised that we know enough about their country.
The session ended at 4 pm. But there is still a homework for each country. We had to make a presentation about our country. What are the two major issues of pluralism, how we engage with the issues, and what an inspiration, fear, and our hope. After dinner, we, the participants from Indonesia gathered to work on our presentation. Either too diligent, or too much thinking, we worked until 2 am. Make our presentation simple, but speaks. That’s first day.
Monday, July 15, 2013