Witnessing Injustice: Edinburgh

3 06 2008

Wednesday evening, 28th May.  Ardi spoke at Augustine United Church, along with Adriana Sri Adhiati, and David Lunan, the Moderator of the Church of Scotland.  “Evil debts” – so David Lunan called the vast sums which function to enslave the developing world.

We were there to discuss the effects of debt on Indonesia.  A vast country, tremendously rich in natural resources: “The greatest prize in Asia”, Richard Nixon called it, quoted in John Pilger’s film “The New Rulers of the World.”  Adriana showed us a map of “Indonesia Incorporated”, compiled by Friends of the Earth Indonesia.  Vast swathes of the country were blocked out in red for mining, brown for logging, and the like –  vast swathes: and this in a country longer by far than the breath of the USA (Indonesia is the fourth most populated country, after China, India and the US.

Ardi, James and Adriana at the Edinburgh Witness to Injustice event.

In theory, foreign loans are a good way for a country to develop.  If a neighbour has a surplus, why not invest that surplus and take a return from the proceeds of their augmented labours?  But Ardi underlined, through multiple examples, the difference between the theory and the reality.  The reality is that loans come under certain economic conditions, that they entrench the power of certain elites, and that the financial mechanisms that underpin them serve to pipe wealth out of the country.  A comfortable recitation of the theory, it seems, will never give us the whole story of the political economy of debt.

Ardi speaks with David Lunan, Moderator of the Church of Scotland 2008.

Iklan




Witness to Injustice: Inverurie & Kilmarnock

29 05 2008

Here’s an update on our speaker tour with Kusfiardi:

Inverurie 26th May – The Acorn Centre, West Church

Our first stop on the speaker tour was Inverurie and what an opener! A packed hall gave their full attention to Ardi’s presentation and there followed a good discussion afterwards on the issue of Indonesia’s huge odious debt. The audience were also keen to take action and find out what they could do to support justice for Indonesia so the Jubilee Scotland campaign received lots of petition signatures as well as support for lobbying the local MP Malcolm Bruce.

For Ardi, the evening was a sign that Scotland was prepared to do what it could to support his movement in Indonesia and a real encouragement for the rest of the speaker tour.

A thousand thanks go to the organisers at the Acorn Centre who fed, hosted and gave us a bed for the night. Special thanks goes to Ian Groves and good luck to all at West Church!

Lifting the lid on Indonesia

Kilmarnock 27th May – St. Kentigerns Church
After travelling down from Inverurie and stopping off for a couple of hours in Edinburgh the speaker tour was on the road again, this time to the western town of Kilmarnock. It is amazing to see how people engage with both Kusfiardi and the John Pilger documentary film we show, this combination really translates well the injustice that Indonesia continues to face under the mountain of debt. The discussion continued after the event on a whole range of issues to do with food security, sovereignty and positive conditionality. Thanks to Grant Barclay for all his help on the evening.

Edinburgh 28th May – Scottish Parliament
Kusfiardi had the opportunity to address the International Development Group (IDG) at the Scottish Parliament with Patricia Ferguson MSP and impress upon them the issue of Indonesia’s debt. A small meeting, but helpfully arranged by Patricia at short notice to give Ardi the chance to speak to the IDG. There was a good discussion, displaying the depth of knowledge that many of the Group members bring, and Patricia called for the group to review the situation with Indonesia’s debt and to return to it later in the year. This Parliamentary group is one of the most important forums for development and politics in Scotland, and it was great to be invited to it (the photo shows Ardi with Patricia Ferguson MSP, convener of the Group, and former Minister with responsibility for international development in Scotland – plus Adriana Sri Adhiati of Down to Earth, and other members of the Group).





Witness to Injustice Speaker Tour

29 05 2008

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.

Straight to work - Kusfiardi briefs Jubilee

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.
Kusfiardi in front of Scottish Parliament

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