Editorial (428)


The conflict in Afghanistan, which has been going on for about four decades, has to come an end. Recently, there has been  a good intention from the government of Afghanistan to end the conflict. The Afghan government is to open opportunity for Taliban, that has always opposed  Kabul government, to participate in the administration. The conflict in Afghanistan began in 1979 when the Soviet Union established a puppet government in Kabul. When the Soviet invaded Afghanistan, there was no resistance from the Afghan government forces. Rejection came from the people, mainly Mujahidin. At that time, the United States that did not want to see any communist forces in Afghanistan, immediately helped the resistance against the Soviet Union. Besides the Mujahidin, another group that also fought the Soviet Union was Taliban. The fight against the Soviet Union finally ended 10 years later. Unfortunately, after the departure of Soviet Union, these two resistance groups began  fighting for power. In 1996, the Pakistani-backed Taliban took office in Kabul. Later, under the pretext of chasing Osama bin Laden, who was accused of being the mastermind behind the September 11, 2001 WTC twin-tower attack, the United States and its allies joined the  conflict. A new government under US control was formed. Outside Kabul, emerging resistance groups rejected the presence of the United States and Western allies. All of them use Taliban flags and they keep resisting until now. Efforts have been made to end the civil war in Afghanistan. Until todays, there is no solution. A breakthrough is made by Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani by opening opportunity, but the Taliban side is ambivalent. The elite are only willing to negotiate with the USA, while other groups want to negotiate with Kabul government. The Taliban needs to solve this internal problem first, before entering the peace process. Indonesia is seriously offering a peace solution to Afghanistan. This was conveyed when President Joko Widodo visited Kabul last January. Almost one month later, Vice President Jusuf Kalla was present at the Peace Process in Afghanistan. Indonesia is ready to mediate the conflicting parties to meet in Indonesia. Indeed, Afghanistan's long-standing problem will not be solved  within few days of talks. All conflicting parties must be patient, if Afghanistan wants peace again.


Managing Director of International Monetary Fund –IMF, Christine Lagarde arrived in Indonesia on February 26, 2018. Christine who the first woman is holding the highest position at the IMF became key speaker at the meeting held by Bank Indonesia and IMF on February 27, 2018. Twitter account @IMF informs that the focus of the event was the analysis of global trends, and how countries adapt to global change, while still prospering.

Another agenda was to discuss the latest economic developments and prospects of Indonesia, as well as the World Bank's Annual Meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali in October 2018. These two issues were central to her meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo at the State Palace.

Interestingly, Cristine Lagarde was also invited by President Joko Widodo to Blusukan (to check on the spot) to two places, namely Pertamina Central Hospital and Tanah Abang Wholesale Center. At Pertamina Central Hospital, Chistine Lagarde witnessed services for Healthy Card Indonesia participants (KIS) as well as social security system for health. In particular, Christine expressed that she impressed with the free health service for the more than 90 million people, and offered a salute to President Joko Widodo.

The second place that became her blusukan destination is Tanah Abang Wholesale Center. In the place, there are approximately 19,000 stalls and it is the largest in Southeast Asia. Christine Lagarde directly witnessed the enthusiasm, energy, and service of small and medium-sized micro businesses. She views that all of this shows the dynamism of Indonesian society and economy.

By looking directly at health services and micro, small and medium enterprises in Jakarta, it is expected that many things can be promoted by the IMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde about Indonesia to the world. These two things could be material in the implementation of the annual meetings of the World Bank and IMF next October.

Indeed, Indonesia is carrying out a campaign called ‘Voyage to Indonesia 2018’, as a series of activities ahead of the upcoming IMF annual meeting. It is expected that the visit of the IMF Managing Director will have a positive impact to attract investors to invest in the health sector.

Christine Lagarde herself bought a Koko shirt at Tanah Abang. Of course, this will also be a direct promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises Indonesia. It’s hoped that not only to attract thousands of participants of IMF annual meetings to participate in buying UMKM products, but also to open the export gate of Indonesian Small and Medium Enterprises’ products.


The ceasefire in Syria remains a question mark. The Armistice declared by the United Nations Security Council two days ago requires a strong commitment of the disputants to carry it out. From the area of ​​Ghouta which is the  battleground of the two disputing parties, the were news of some  ceasefire violations. Information from humanitarian activists said there had been an air raid allegedly committed by the Syrian government.

The reported air strike took place 30 minutes after the start of the ceasefire, allegedly killing two civilians. Before the ceasefire was declared by the UN Security Council, Syrian fighter planes had bombarded Ghouta area which was the defense base of the rebels. The UN Security Council therefore unanimously approved a resolution calling for a 30-day ceasefire in Syria.

This is to provide opportunities for the delivery of humanitarian aid and the evacuation of civilians. Some circles have doubted  the implementation of the resolution set by all members of the Security Council because they do not feel included in the talks. It turned out less than half an hour after the ceasefire was set, air strikes once again took place. Therefore, it  is still can not be predicted when the war in Syria will end. The various interests and powers  of outsiders, tangled  with domestic feuds, have made the Syrian war so complicated and difficult to resolve.



President Joko Widodo again reminded the Indonesian people not to split because of different choices in the simultaneous Regional Head Election 2018 (Pilkada). In his speech at the opening ceremony of Sholawat Nusantara Festival Presidential Cup, held at Sentul International Convention Center, Bogor, West Java, Saturday (24 / 2), President Joko Widodo calls for thousands of students who were present to always think positively and respect each other. In his speech, President Joko Widodo reaffirmed his state visit to Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

In the countries, the President witnessed firsthand how the Muslims who should live peace in brotherhood suffered for 40 years because of conflict. Thus, President Joko Widodo calls for the people of Indonesia to keep fraternity among Muslims (Ukhuwah Islamiyah or the bonds of nationality (Ukhuwah wathaniyah), and fellow brotherhood among human beings (Ukhuwah basyariyah). The appeal to not split because of elections is not declared for the first time. On several occasions, President Joko Widodo has disclosed the same appeal to remind the Indonesian people of the importance of maintaining unity and togetherness, specially before the simultaneous Regional Head Election 2018 (Pilkada) on next 27 June 2018 in 17 provinces and 154 regencies and cities.

Currently, the atmosphere of election has begun to be felt, remembering the voting cast remains about 5 months ahead. It’s not without reason why President Joko Widodo repeatedly urges the people of Indonesia to keep unity. Indonesia, which has various ethnic, religious, linguistic and cultural backgrounds, is vulnerable to splitting. Ahead of the Regional Head Election, there is often a friction in the community. The most common one is usually related to the issue of  tribe, religion, race, and interfaiths -SARA.

Indonesia is a country that emphasizes unity and togetherness. The unity is what makes Indonesia independent in 1945. Without being united, it is impossible for Indonesia to be able to become a great country. We do not want to see because the election is held every 5 years, Indonesia becomes split. The ongoing conflict in Afghanistan and some other regions of the world should be a great lesson and reflection for the Indonesian people how important it is to maintain unity.


In 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO used to say that if a language is extinct, the world loses its precious legacy and  a lot of legends, poetry and knowledge gathered from generation to generation will go extinct.

The language is so important so that since February 21, 1999, UNESCO has determined the International Mother Tongue Day. The date was chosen based on the historic event of the Language Movement Day in Bangladesh.

On February 21, 1952, students and communities in eastern Bengal (now Bangladesh) took to the streets to protest the marginalization of Bengali by the Pakistani central government which only recognizes Urdu. A number of students were killed as victims of violence in the language movement. For this reason, UNESCO selected February 21 as International Mother Tongue Day. Through its commemoration, this year UNESCO reiterates its commitment to the diversity of languages and invites its member countries to commemorate it as much as possible. It is also a reminder that language diversity and multilingualism are essential for sustainable development.

Then, how does Indonesia respond the International Mother  Tongue Day?  From 1992 to mid-2016, the Language Agency has documented 646 local languages throughout Indonesia. The number of languages that have been verified and mapped reaches as many as 617 local languages. Summer Institute of Linguistics, a non-profit scientific organization in the United States that studies, develops and documents lesser known languages, reports that the number of languages in Indonesia is 742 and 737 of which are still actively spoken. In the meantime, less than 10% or maybe only 5% of Indonesian languages have been researched by linguists to be concerned because there are no more their speakers.

One hundred and forty-five languages whose speakers are fewer than one million people continue to decline. It is estimated that 30 of the 58 local languages ​​in West Papua have been extinct over the past 20 years. In addition, around 15 local languages, such as Meyans, Mpur, Dunser, and Karondori ​​in West Papua are also confirmed to have been out of use by their speakers.

According to UNESCO, language is the center of social, economic and cultural life. It's not just the research of linguists. Language also determines social struggles in completing economic development in a global era by prioritizing knowledge and local wisdom.

In addition, the commemoration of International Mother Tongue Day in some regions is a venue for local language lovers with different backgrounds, professions and even ages to share. Mother tongue is about not only for artists, writers or local humanists, but also all the stakeholders of Indonesian nation to preserve the mother tongues.


A shooting spree by a Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school student to his friends happened in Parkland, Florida, right on Valentine's Day, February 14, 2018. It wasn’t the first incident that happened in the United States. The latest perpetrator was a teenager who fired his gun and caused 17 school students lost their lives in vain. Indeed, the laws governing arms ownership in the United States differ from state to state. Florida is one of the states that loosely imposes it. Students, who are concerned about this latest incident, held several rallies to encourage the United States government to regulate stricter ownership of weapons. Representatives of students and parents even met President Donald Trump directly, asking him to conduct stricter supervision. Instead of getting support, they had to  hear Trump's idea of  arming teachers with guns. Parents object to this idea because they think it makes the school a shooting arena in case of an attack. Although they disagree with President Trump, howver, some schools suspended students who held anti-weapons rallies. To commemorate this event, a rally will be held on March 14, 2018, exactly one month after the Florida shooting, and on April 20, 2018 to commemorate a similar incident  at Columbine High School in Colorado. A series of shootings that occurred in schools in the United States is very alarming. Educational institutions should be a source of positive learning place  for students. School is not an arena of indulging violence whether it is physical, verbal or  emotional. There is an English saying which  puts importance on the  Man Behind the Gun. It means that it’s the person behind the tool or device, especially in a job;  that is important.  In the case of shooting in America, this saying can be taken literally. A good person holding a weapon may be doing  good, otherwise if a bad one is behind the gun, terrible  things can happen.



On 17 February, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry -KLHK issued a press release to be aware of land and forest fire during the vulnerable period in 2018. Director of Forest and Land Fire Control at the Ministry, Raffles B. Panjaitan said that NOAA satellite monitored last Tuesday night  (February 16th)  that there are 38 hotspots spreading 3 hotspots in Central Kalimantan, 31 West Kalimantan, 1 South Sulawesi, 2 West Java and 1 hotspot 1in Central Java. Meanwhile, the NASA Terra-Aqua Satellite recorded 10 hotspots: 1 in South Sumatra, 2 in Riau, 6 in West Kalimantan and 1 spot in Riau Islands.

It is estimated that the increase in the intensity of forest and land fires in Riau and Kalimantan occurs from February to March and June to October on which within both periods, the weather in these areas is very hot and dry. 

To respond the warning, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry along with the provincial governments continues to take anticipatory action through improved socialization and fire prevention patrols. Take for example, West Kalimantan and South Sumatra provinces have set the emergency alert status of forest and land fire disaster. This is aimed to rapidly, accurately and integrally anticipate the impact of smoke disaster caused by forest and land fires in accordance with applicable standards and procedures.

Fire Brigade at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Manggala Agni in collaboration with the Military -TNI, the National Police -Polri, Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency and the local community continues to extinguish several hotspots  of forest and land fires in Riau and West Kalimantan, 

The activities taken by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to address forest and land fires are based on three strategic targets for environmental and forestry development for 2015-2019. First, the Ministry is to maintain the quality of the environment, including efforts to improve environmental capacity, water security and public health. The second point is that the Ministry has to pay attention to the potential of forest and environmental resources. The third one is to preserve the balance of ecosystem and biodiversity and the presence of natural resources, as a supporting system of life to support sustainable development.

It is expected that through the establishment of the emergency alert status of forest and land fires, the mobilization of resources in its control has to more optimal, especially in areas prone to fire.

In addition, the synergy among the institutions such as the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, the Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency, the Forest Service, the TNI, POLRI, and Manggala Agni at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry is expected to be stronger. They must cooperate to control the forest and land fires. Moreover, the participation of the local community is also important. People are encouraged to love their environment and not to take actions that can trigger forest and land fires.


Over the next 6 months, Ethiopia is declared in an emergency status. The Ethiopian government has stipulated this, due to the political crisis that has led to the resignation of Halemariam Desalegn, the Prime Minister of the country. The political crisis that also caused the emergency status occurred there in October 2016. Prime Minister Halemariam Desalegn resigned to reduce the ongoing political turmoil. Desalegn had previously  freed opposition prisoners to dampen the situation, but the turmoil is still going on. Hundreds of people have been killed in the three year unrest in the country. The 10-month emergency  state that ended last year has also failed to stop the protests, similarly, the release of thousands of opposition supporters from prison. A massive protest has been taking place since 2015. It starts from the Oromia region, then extends to Amhara, Ethiopia's second largest ethnic residence. The rally was accompanied by a physical clash between the two ethnic groups causing casualties. The question then, will this second emergency status, bring  good for Ethiopia? In the meantime, after the emergency stipulation last week, the capital Addis Ababa is in a relatively quiet state. The mass media reported that business and social activities in the nation's capital until yesterday were under normal circumstances. The defense ministry also did not add troops to the streets. Emergency status setting is done to quell the dispute and sporadic attacks in some areas. The government states that emergency situations are needed, to mitigate the political turmoil that resulted in the emergence of ethnic violence. Given the emergency situation, the government has banned the existence of  mass gatherings  and demonstrations in the wake of the political turmoil. The government's move was not approved by the United States, as stated by its Embassy in Addis Ababa. Along with the establishment of an emergency, the Ethiopian Parliament is expected to complete discussions on the steps to resolve the political conflict. Parliament to date is waiting, whether the majority of the ruling party in the government succeeds in taking the expected political action. If a political settlement does not happen, it is not impossible that the turmoil will become increasingly widespread in the oldest country in Africa. If this happens, foreign interference, is very likely to emerge. The US embassy in Addis Ababa, for example, assesses that the emergency setting has restricted the fundamental rights of citizens to express their opinions. Anyway, if the conflict can not be resolved, it is Ethiopians who will be affected.


On Saturday (17/02), the General Elections Commission -KPU officially established 14 political parties to participate in the 2019 election, which fulfill administrative requirements and factual verification. Of the 16 political parties that passed the stage of factual verification at the central level, there are two political parties that do not qualify or meet the requirements. They are the Star Crescent Party (PBB) and the Indonesian Justice and Unity Party (PKPI). In addition, the KPU had also carried out the serial number of political parties on Sunday (18/02). Among the 14 parties that passed as participants in the 2019 election, four of them are newcomers to the Indonesian political arena. They are the Indonesian Unity Party (Perindo), the Working Party (Partai Berkarya), the Indonesian Movement of Restoration Party (Garuda), and the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI). As the new political parties, they certainly want to stand in parallel with the old political ones. The newcomers have their own way and style to win the public sympathy. Take for example, the Indonesian Movement of Restoration Party (Garuda) will encourage young people to join. Because the young are considered more independent. While the Indonesian Unity Party (Perindo) will recruit cadres in accordance with the aspirations of the people. They must have competence and many advantages in many ways, in addition to high levels of public trust and good morality. Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI) offers a new style in politics. It will target more young people and women who have been considered under-represented interests. While the Working Party initiated by Hutomo Mandala Putra alias Tommy Soeharto -the son of the former president of the Republic of Indonesia Soeharto will hold a political school internally so that his cadres have good political knowledge to compete against the senior politicians. Can the four new political parties win the voters' sympathy? Can they compete against the 10 long-standing political parties in the 2019 election? New political parties must convince voters that they are different from other parties. In addition, they must learn from the experience of senior parties in selecting legislative candidates. The people who will sit in parliament should be chosen selectively. If they want to succeed in entering legislative bodies both DPR and DPRD, they should be able to not only attract significant number of votes for the party, but also to maintain integrity as the people's representatives. The new political parties should not rely solely on their founders. They must also prove their existence with real performance and with honorable aim to build a better Indonesia.



In a news conference broadcast by  local television on Wednesday (February 14, 2018), South African President Jacob Zuma announced he would soon resign. But Zuma also said he disagreed over the decision of his party, the African National Congress (ANC) that wants him to resign or face a no-confidence vote in Parliament.

The ANC party is struggling to improve the decreasing level of public confidence. According to local media, Zuma, an ANC cadre who has been President in South Africa since 2009, has lost public trust over a string of corruption allegations. Zuma has denied such disgraceful acts. But the high court of South Africa in 2016 once declared Zuma violating the constitution for using state money to finance his private home.

Local police on Wednesday raided a luxury mansion in Johannesburg belonging to a businessman close to Zuma. In addition, Zuma is also awaiting the decision of the Attorney General, whether he will be prosecuted for corruption or not.

As a result of a series of corruption allegations, Zuma then resigned from the position of the ANC Party Chairman. This was welcomed by the opposition as well as colleagues at the ANC who disagree with him. Nevertheless, the ANC continues to honor Zuma for some positive policies he made  as President. In a statement, the ANC said Zuma's withdrawal made the South African situation more certain.

Zuma's position at the ANC was replaced by Cyril Ramaphosa who is currently Vice President. After Zuma stepped down, Cyril was deemed appropriate by parliament to replace Zuma as South African President.

Hopefully, the leadership issue in South Africa can be resolved soon. Regardless of guilt or innocence, Zuma's statemanship  has been demonstrated by releasing his post. Now, the challenge of Cyril Ramaphosa is, can he  make South Africa better?