Saturday, May 13, 2017

A message from Fitria (Rennie) Wibowo.........


(Photo credit Erlinawati Graham)

Diplomat Fitria (Rennie) Wibowo (above with her husband and fellow diplomat Jose Tavares) has offered an articulate and thoughtful response to the jailing of Jakarta Governor Ahok for blasphemy,  not by waving a placard in a tiny protest crowd but by writing a powerful plea.

Apart from her prose skills she is also a lawyer educated in New York and Vienna and with post-graduate qualifications from New Zealand.  Rennie, 40, is a Muslim - her husband Jose a Catholic born in Balibo - now part of Timor Leste.  They were married in Thailand as inter-faith marriages cannot be solemnised in Indonesia.

Her statement below - reproduced with her permission:

" ... and so I am compelled to comment...

I think most importantly we need to be cautious because we are being torn apart as a people.
God knows what forces are behind all this, but we need to wake up, fast! All the confused politicians, all the self-righteous fools, everyone who is playing along thinking they're only trying to maintain peace and unity. This is not about one man, this is about the hope, aspirations, and effort to become a truly great nation, hindered and shattered by powers that feed on the very instability of this nation.
Wake up, and realize that none of us will have a better future, in a better Indonesia, if we don't move forward together.
Whatever your race or religion, this is your country, and you are as responsible as the next person to make it a better place. Free of corruption, free of conflict, free of injustice, and free of all the negative things that will hamper you, your children, your family and friends, the next generation from living decently and comfortably in this country.
And for those of us in despair and disappointed at the moment, I understand if you love this country a little less right now.
But whatever you feel or do, don't ever lose hope, because it's the very foundation of what keeps us motivated for betterment.
Don't let anyone or any group of people take away your right and dreams for building a better future.
Don't let anyone or any group of people intimidate you into thinking there is no place for you or any honest, hard-working, selfless persons in this country.
Be brave my fellow Indonesians, whatever your roots or affiliations may be. Muster the strength to fight ignorance and discordance. Have courage to respect differences in all its forms, and to sow the seeds of unity.

God bless Indonesia."
Our thanks to journalist Duncan Graham and Erlinawati Graham for granting us permission to reproduce this message and photograph. This piece first appeared in Indonesia Now Blog, on 12th May 2017


  1. Inspirational words for our people. Taufik. Surabaya

  2. This gives me some hope as right now I am scared where Indonesia is heading. Don't buy a villa in Bali.