Editorial (508)


Welcome to Ramadan

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Ramadan is a holy month awaited by Muslims around the world, especially Indonesia with a Muslim majority. In this holy month, Muslims fast for a full month, from sunrise to sunset; they don't eat or drink; they don't do bad deeds in order to get abundant rewards. In this holy month, Muslims not only fast, but also worship as much as possible to get blessings and rewards from Allah SWT. This year, the Indonesian government set the beginning of Ramadan on Monday, May 6, 2019. This determination is based on the Islamic Conference held by Ministry of Religious Affairs on Sunday (5/5) and attended by representatives of various Islamic organizations such as Nahdlatul Ulama –NU and Muhamadiyah and state representatives- friendly countries, especially neighboring countries where the majority of the population is Muslim. The determination of the beginning of fasting is usually done based on the position of the moon, considering the Islamic calendar is the lunar one. Thus, the National Aeronautics and Space Institute (LAPAN), as well as the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) also involved in the Isbat trial. Fasting is not only holding back hunger and thirst but also holding back all lusts. In addition, during fasting, Muslims are also advised to practice other acts of worship such as giving alms, increasing friendship and avoiding acts that are prohibited by Islam. In fasting, every Muslim is commanded to leave behind various passions and worldly pleasures. By fasting, every Muslim can train himself or herself to be a patient person. When fasting, Muslims are trained to be able to withstand anger and not to think negatively other people. Welcome to Ramadan!


The situation in Venezuela is heating up. The political crisis that has occurred after the General Election is tenser and the election was won by incumbent Nicolas Maduro. Opposition leader, Juan Guaido has called for his supporters to stage a demonstration on the streets every day in a bid to oust Maduro from the presidency. The tension in the Latin American country is further worsened by increasing tension in the military camp which is now splitting. The split is triggered by Guaido's claim that he has received military support. The claim is countered by Maduro because Venezuelan military officials still support Maduro. Juan Guaido had failed to carry out a military coup. One day after the failure of the coup, Guaido again mobilized thousands of supporters to stage a rally.
The Venezuelan crisis triggered by a dispute between President, Nocolas Maduro and opposition leader, Juan Guaido is no longer a domestic affair. The two rival figures felt that they have received overseas support. Nicolas Maduro receives support from Russia, and Guaido from the United States. As widely reported, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo and Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov have accused each other of the causes of the crisis in Venezuela. The United States said that Russia is the cause of the crisis, and vice versa. Latin American countries, especially Mexico are trying to be neutral, and they push to hold a conference to find a solution.From the current situation, it is still not predictable when the crisis in Venezuela will come to an end. This crisis has occurred since January 10, 2019 due to a dispute over the presidential election results. Finally, this has caused the country's political and economic conditions to worsen. Thousands of Venezuelans have left their countries to flee to neighboring countries to avoid conflicts that have not yet been resolved.Whether the flame in Venezuela to be soon extinguished or even it further burns the country will depend on President Maduro and opposition leader, Juan Guaido to solve it or win the battle of power by finding the country in ruins, or finding solutions to the happiness of their people.


April 30, 2019 is a historic day for the Japanese because since the modern era, this is the first time a Japanese Emperor has abdicated. Usually, succession occurs because the Emperor is dead. It also became the end of the Heisei era and entered the new era of Reiwa. This new era was also special because this period marked original Japanese taken from 8th century poetry. Before this, 247 periods used nuances of culture outside of Japan. Japan inherited by crown prince Naruhito is indeed no longer the same as Japan inherited by Emperor Akihito. Japan in the Heisei period was in a condition called economic miracle, even magical. Rising from destruction after World War II and transforming into an economic power. However, there was  price to be  paid, the Japanese military role was reduced to become self defence  forces. Such was  the development of Japan that it  became the number 2 economy in the world after the United States. But the era was followed by the eruption of the growth bubble into a dragged economy. This period has until now been called a lost decade. But even though there was a succession, the Emperor who would assume his position faced quite a challenge. The Japanese economy has lagged behind the People's Republic of China whiiich is now  the number 2 economy. The nuclear threat from North Korea is also a scourge for Japan. Domestically, there is a desire from the government to make the Japanese military play a leading role. It is important because the neighboring  Chinese military is growing rapidly. The emperor meanwhile, does not have administrative political power but is still respected by his people. Indonesia welcomed this succession with the presence of a special Presidential envoy for Japan. The hope of this succession is in accordance with the Reiwa era, namely balanced internal and external harmony. Goodbye Heisei era, Welcome Reiwa era.



Grief in Sri Lanka

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Five weeks ago a shocking attack took place at a place of worship in the southern hemisphere, New Zealand. Last Sunday(April 21, 2019), once  again the world was shocked by  bombings at other  houses of worship and hotels in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka and several other cities. The incident killed 321 people including 38 foreigners. Theseattacks happened almost simultaneously with  several people detonated suicide bombings.

Authorities in Colombo accused the incident of being orchestrated by a local group claiming to be affiliated with a particular religion. But immediately a statement of responsibility emerged from a group affiliated to ISIS. The police arrested at least 40 people after the incident. Investigators are still exploring whether there is a link between local terrorist groups and global networks. The party claiming responsibility for the attack stated it  had something to do with what happened  in New Zealand.

Sri Lanka is a country that has experienced conflicts for more than 25 years. Civil war broke out between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil tiger rebels who controlled the northeastern region of Sri Lanka. The rebellion ended in 2009. Sri Lankans  then live relatively  without conflict though there were some  frictions between the Buddhist majority and Hindus and Muslims minority.

The Sunday's attack was said to be indicated by foreign intelligence networks. But unfortunately the information did not reach government policy holders because of the lack of harmony between President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe.

Hopefully  there will be no more incidents like this. The victims are civilians. It  is not war but slaughter. No belief  or religionteaches  such cruel deeds. Every country must be  more vigilant in maintaining security, because this incident can occur anywhere in the world.



North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, managed to make a diplomatic breakthrough by visiting Russia and meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin. With confidence, before meeting Putin, Kim Jong-Un said that the meeting with the Russian President would be a very meaningful dialogue. Whether Jong-Un's optimism came into being when meeting Putin in Vladivostok, can be seen from the statement of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin  who  said  that the visit of the North Korean leader would be able to help the two countries understand how to achieve conflict resolution on the Korean Peninsula.

Kim Jong-Un's visit to Russia, although finally meeting Putin in Vladivostok, which is very far from Moscow, was the first made by  the North Korean leader since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union in its time was a big country supporting North Korea in the financial sector. But after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Moscow finally reduced its support to North Korea by implementing a policy of two Koreas.

The North Korean leader certainly hopes that Putin's acceptance and talks will encourage Russia to support its efforts to reduce the pressure of sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies. As is known, Kim Jong-Un's breakthrough meeting with Vladimir Putin, came after no progress was made from the results of North Korean Leader's talks with US President Donald Trump in Hanoi last February.

Whatever the course of the talks, and whatever the outcome of the talks with the Russian President is, at least it can be said, that Kim Jong-Un has been able to demonstrate his ability to conduct diplomacy with the leaders of major countries. In one year, the young North Korean leader met Chinese President Xi Jinping four times, and twice held high-level talks with US President  Donald Trump. Regarding the results, Kim Jong-Un still has to wait, of course, by carrying out further diplomatic maneuvers.



The exhibition ‘The 21st Jakarta International Handicraft Trade Fair' -Inacraft 2019 is again held in Jakarta. This year's craft trade show is more special because there is a special pavilion of the Kingdom of Morocco. At the exhibition, the products displayed are more varied and more quality; it is followed by 1,700 participants from various regions in the country, and 1,400 booths are available. Inacraft 2019 promotes Betawi's leading arts, culture and crafts, with the theme "Jakarta Enjoyable Multicultural Diversities" accompanying the central theme "From Smart Village to Global Market".

President Joko Widodo in his opening on Wednesday, April 24 said that from year to year, the quality of products exhibited improves. He views the government would like to see Indonesian handicraft products continue to improve such as production capacity, quality, competitiveness, and image, especially for export quality.

Meanwhile, Minister of Industry, Airlangga Hartarto said that craft exports are expected to increase by reaching the target of 9 percent through this year's exhibition. He also said that there are a number of aspects needed by the Small-and-Medium Industries. They are design, assistance, access and funding.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Royal Moroccan delegation, Jamila El Moussali said that Moroccan participation in the INACRAFT 2019 event exhibits handicrafts and some Moroccan Islamic cultural objects. In addition, the presence of Morocco in this exhibition is very important to know each other and respect differences. But all those differences are now united in a large and magnificent exhibition in Jakarta.

Definitely, handicraft is the result of human cultivation which is manifested in the form of objects that support or become decoration in human life. Crafts can also symbolize a noble value of a nation's customs. If all crafts are packed well and professionally, they will provide added value to the makers and the state, and even give respect to those who see or appreciate the craft.

It should be noted that environmental issues have to be paid attention by traditional and modern crafters. Because the use of materials from nature and non-environmentally friendly materials is often a reference in the making. Thus, there is a need for regulations related to the use of natural resources and non-organic materials in supporting the Indonesian handicraft industry to be more respected and global.


A number of community members, both from the leaders of higher education institutions and election monitoring groups, call for the two presidential and vice-presidential candidates who have just joined the election to conduct reconciliation. Without having to wait for the results of the vote count and the determination of the president to be elected by the General Election Commission -KPU, the two pairs of candidates for president and vice president between Joko Widodo-Maru’f Amin -01 and Prabowo-Sandi Uno -02 are expected to meet and show their wisdom and statesmanship.This call is certainly not without reason. After a long and tiring process from the campaign period until voting day on April 17 and continued with ballot  counting, the "heating" atmosphere is still felt between the camp 01 and the camp 02. On one hand, the camp 01 claimed to be the winner based on 'Quick Count'. On the hand, the camp 02 claimed to be the winner based on the results of its internal calculation survey. The ballot counting process which is being manually carried out by KPU is still below 50% of the total number of the ballots. The official announcement will be announced no later than 22 May.Waiting for the result of manual counting by KPU, Indonesian people have faced differences and conflicts. Thus, the Indonesian elites need to signal that there is no problems among them. It is hoped that political party leaders and political elites will hold open dialogues and meetings and convey to the community, especially their supporters that in fact, the two camps have no problems.Reconciliation will certainly be a symbol of "reconciliation" by the two competing camps. They must refrain from issuing statements that can trigger supporters of mutual suspicion and mock. Reconciliation is expected to dilute the heating atmosphere.Therefore, the Indonesian people, especially the two camps either the two presidential candidates or their supporters must patiently wait for the result of the manual counting to be officially announced by KPU on May 22nd.  Besides, the General Election Commission -KPU as the organizer of the general elections and the Election Supervisory Body –Bawaslu must always be transparent, honest and fair in carrying out their duties and functions responsibly to avoid suspicion.



On April 21st, Indonesia commemorates Kartini Day. The commemoration was set based on Raden Ajeng Kartini's birthday. In her time, she didn’t obtain the same opportunity as men in education. Through her correspondence with several friends in the Netherlands, Kartini expressed her desire to advance Indonesian women. She described the suffering of Javanese women due to customary confinement. They couldn’t be free to go to school; they had to be secluded, and to get married with unknown men. Kartini strongly fought to advance Indonesian women. In her perspective, advancing Indonesian women could be achieved through education. In realizing her ideals, she started establishing a school for girls in her birthplace, Jepara, Central Java. At the school, women were given lessons in sewing, embroidery and cooking. The collection of Kartini's letters to her friends in the Netherlands was recorded by J.H. Abendanon, Minister of Culture, Religion, and Crafts of the Indies at the time with the title 'Door Duisternis Tot Licht ‘or in the famous Indonesian language with' After Darkness Comes the Light '. This Kartini’s letter collection book was published in 1911. Raden Ajeng Kartini became a symbol of the emancipation of Indonesian women.

How are Indonesian women now? Indonesian women have had equal opportunities with men. In almost all sectors, Indonesian women play a leading role, even becoming a president such as Megawati as the 5th president. Megawati recorded history as one of the women who managed to become head of state. Megawati served as the fifth President of Indonesia from 23 July 2001 to 20 October 2004. Currently, eight Indonesian women are in the President Cabinet of Joko Widodo. Indonesian women who have played a leading role are Minister of Finance, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Coordinating Minister of Human Development and Culture, Puan Maharani, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi, Minister of Marine and Fisheries, Susi Pudjiastuti, Minister of Health, Nila Moeloek, Minister of Women's Empowerment and Child Protection, Yohanna Yambesi, Minister of Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya and Minister of State-Owned Enterprises, Rini Soemarno.

Even though Indonesian women have managed to gain equal opportunities with men in various fields, the fighting spirit of Indonesian women must continue to be stirred up. As President Joko Widodo called for, Indonesian women continue to foster a fighting spirit to build families, communities, nations, and advance the next generation.

In accordance with her nature as a mother, currently Indonesian women have a more difficult task, considering that Indonesia will obtain a demographic bonus for the period 2020-2035, which will reach its peak in 2030. Indonesian women must prepare great humans who will advance Indonesia. To prepare a potential, healthy, intelligent and moral generation, Indonesian women must be healthy to give birth to a healthy generation; one of them is free from stunting. By paying attention to personal health and children born and the adequacy of nutrition for the growth of their children, Indonesian women will bring Indonesia out of the predicate number four with the highest stunting rate in the world. About 9 million or 37 percent of Indonesian babies experience stunting. Indonesian women's awareness to pay attention to children and their families can improve the Human Resources Index.



Egypt is at the crossroads to become a democratic country through elections or a country that perpetuates the power of the President. We can point out this assumption in connection with the referendum initiative that can extend the term of Abdel Fattah el Sisi until 2030. Egyptian President Al Sisi, who took office as head of state and the Egyptian government starting in 2014, has succeeded with his political efforts to create a referendum. On Saturday 20 April, the Egyptians will vote in a referendum whose results will determine changes or constitutional amendments, which mainly determine the term of office of the President of Egypt.

The opposition political parties of the government have made a move to cancel the referendum which will begin on Saturday 20 April for three days.
Through a movement called ‘the Civil Democracy Movement’, the opposition group consisting of Liberal parties and leftist parties at a press conference condemned the amendments to the Egyptian constitution. If the referendum is approved by the majority of Egyptians, an amendment to the Egyptian constitution will be stipulated. Through the amendment, Abdel Fattah el Sisi will probably get the mandate to become President of Egypt until 2030. That period certainly reminds the opposition of President Hosni Mobarak's tenure from 1981 to 2011. Husni Mubarak could only be derived from his power through the democratic movement as the Arab Spring spread. The opposition movement has called on the Egyptian people to reject the referendum set by parliament last week. If the Egyptian people agree to the referendum that forms the basis of a constitutional amendment to the President's term of office, the law stipulates that an elect Egyptian President through an election and holding office for two terms will no longer apply.
President El Sisi with military background came to power in 2014 after overthrowing the first civilian president, Mohammad Morsi who was democratically elected through election.

Will Egypt continue to carry out democratic presidential election through scheduled election? This will be determined through a referendum. Based on experience and history, the Egyptian people certainly have a record as provision to vote in the referendum starting on Saturday, 20thof April.


World Heritage Day

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Recommendation of  UNESCO to member countries to participate in commemorating International Council on Monuments and Sites-ICOMOS symposium result, held in Tunisia on 18 April 1982, has set April 18 to commemorate as a World Heritage Day. The purpose of this International Day is to encourage humanity throughout the world, both community groups and individuals to realize the importance of Cultural Heritage to their lives, identities and communities.

Because Cultural Heritage in the form of monuments or sites is vulnerable to damage, efforts are needed to protect and preserve it. Awareness of the diversity of World Heritage on earth which is in parallel shows the diversity of the world community. This needs to be improved. It is very important to respect and maintain all Cultural Heritage well, through national law and international agreements.

The World Heritage in Indonesia is also the Indonesian National Culture. As part of a strategic step in maintaining cultural heritage, the Indonesian  government has stipulated its law No.5 of 2017 concerning the Promotion of Culture.

The theme of the commemoration of 2019 World Heritage Day is ‘Rural Landscapes’. The rural landscapes are defined as land and water areas resulting from human and natural interactions in producing food and other sources. Now, the World Heritage Day commemoration in Indonesia is centered in Bali. Why? Bali with a Subak irrigation system is in accordance with the theme ‘Rural Landscapes’.

Indonesia is a part of the world community that has 8 world heritage sites. In addition, Indonesia is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world. It is natural that Indonesia is very interested in safeguarding the results of the Indonesian nation's thinking which produces a high culture and is recognized by the international community. With or without the cultural promotion law, the Indonesian people must respect the national heritage.