25 May 2008
Kusfiardi – Indonesian Anti-Debt Campaigner arrives in Scotland!
On Friday 23rd May the Jubilee Scotland team waited excitedly at Edinburgh airport for Kusfiardi the anti-debt campaigner from Indonesia to arrive. After introductions and a drive into Edinburgh the work immediately began with a initial briefing by Kusfiardi on Indonesia’s debt situation. It quickly became clear that Kusfiardi was both an eloquent and passionate advocate for debt justice for Indonesia and we in the Jubilee Scotland team were immediately engrossed. We can’t wait to tour with him around Scotland!
Our discussions about Indonesia continued well into the evening with Kusfiardi remarkably showing no signs of jet lag (considering the flight from Jakarta had taken 15 hours to get to Scotland) and we looked forward to showing him a little of Edinburgh the next day as an introduction to Scotland.
The next morning our first visit was to show Kusfiardi the best view of Edinburgh, from Arthur’s Seat and the Crags, then we drove to East Lothian to North Berwick to walk on the beach and talk more about debt and the Jubilee Scotland campaign to cancel Indonesia’s arms debt owed to the UK.
Time and again Kusfiardi impressed upon us just how devastating the impact of debt was having in Indonesia not just by taking resources away from the government’s budget but also because of the lack of disbursement of loans in the first place. Not only is Indonesia having to repay the debts but it has never received the full amount that was owed to them in the first place!
It is Kusfiardi’s belief that is this that makes the issue of debt an issue of political control, with the creditors and multinational corporations having the power to control the destiny of Indonesia.
Kusfiardi also told us about the current political situation in Indonesia where the government that day were about to increase fuel prices, a development that was being driven by the oil multinational corporations based in Indonesia and the impact this would have on everyday life.
But he remains hopeful that by coming to Scotland and campaigning with Jubilee he can show the Indonesian government that there is concern for Indonesia’s debt issue in the international community and that the people of Scotland are determined not to continue to be party to the injustice of the arms debt owed to the UK government.
Tomorrow, the tour begins in Inverurie where Kusfiardi will be talking with local campaigners and the public on Indonesia’s debt and encouraging them to take part in the Jubilee Scotland campaign. There will also be a screening of John Pilger’s ‘New Rulers of the World’ .
The dates and venues of the tour are:
Monday 26th May – Inverurie
Tuesday 27th May – Kilmarnock
Wednesday 28th May – Edinburgh
Thursday 29th May – Dumbarton
Friday 30th May – Kirkcaldy