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Emil Salim: On Indonesia and His Messages to Entrepreneurs

with 6 comments

By: Farid Solana

Environmental issues have become global concern. Economic activities and population growth, both of them are two factors mainly related to global warming and any enviro-related problems. One of outstanding Indonesian figures in the field of economic and ecological consideration is Emil Salim. The remarkable scholar, who has been serving for more than three decades for Indonesia, shares his thought and his wisdom with you.

Graduated from Faculty of Economics University of Indonesia, Emil Salim is mostly renowned as an environmentalist. He’s one of the intellectuals who initiated the establishment of Indonesian Ministry of Population and Environment. In the last two years, he has ministered as the advisor for environment and sustainable development issues in the Advisory Council to President S. B. Yudhoyono.

It’s quite difficult to fully apprehend on how an economist ‘changed’ his field of study, and turned into an ecologist at first. Emil Salim says that the journey he undertakes for the last-three decades initiated by the assignment given by former Indonesian President, Soeharto. He had just finished his Ph.D. study in economics from University of California, Berkeley when Soeharto appointed him to join the team of economic advisers in 1966. Something bigger, which required more holistic approach, appeared before his eyes then.

According to Emil Salim, “Economy is an activity conducted to efficiently make use of available natural resources for development.” The development itself completely depends on existing capital, workers or manpower, technology and natural resources.

Meanwhile, during his early days, he and his team discovered that Indonesia’s natural resources are fairly unique. First, Indonesia’s located in equator. It means that Indonesia is a tropical country and has two seasons – different from most of European countries. “This condition implies that all equatorian countries – such as Brazil in Latin America, Zaire and Congo in Africa – possess tropical-rain forest with the richest natural resources on Earth,” says Emil Salim who was born in Lahat, West Sumatera, on June 8th 1930.

Second, Indonesia is an archipelago. It’s different from Brazil and Zaire: both are continental countries. There are more than 17 thousand islands in Indonesia, situated on the distance between London and Cairo. “Each has different micro climate. Aceh, for example, has different micro climate compared to Papua, Banten, and Sulawesi. The difference brings about a unique natural resources’ characteristic,” Emil uttering his explanation.

In addition, demographically, Indonesia must cope with the fact that China and India are the countries with the largest population on earth. “Our population is our potential. It’s imperative for our government to propose labor-intensive industry.” Few years ago, when China and India’s economic are not fully grown, “Indonesia developed labor-intensive industry such as textile, shoes, chips, etc. Later, when they finally do well in developing their economy, we need to discover another resource in order to succeed in achieving financial prudence. To me, the key is our natural resources,” Emil expressing his thought.

As we know, China and India, they don’t have tropical-rain forest. They don’t have tropic oceans also. “We have what they don’t. If we successfully refurbish our natural resources – trough the aid of science and technology – then will not only be able to face China and India, but also the rest of the world. That’s why economic growth will not be attained if we pay no attention to environmental aspects,” says the man who is also a member of the Association of Indonesian Moslem Intellectuals.

“We can no longer see environment as something merely exploitable. We should revolutionize our point of view upon environment and regard it as the source of our natural resources, something that we can use to strengthen our competitive advantage in economy,” says Emil. “That’s the only way we can carry out resource-based value added development.”

Most of us do not realize that ecological regeneration lasts slower than the destruction itself. Emil Salim notices this kind of misunderstanding. He says, “We simply embark economic growth but neglect our environment as the source of raw material. What we need to do now is to build our country in a different manner, in a better way.”

One of elements in economic development is entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs perform their activity based on market’s signals. It means that something can be valued as profitable as long as market represents it as it seems. But, “Market doesn’t expose the importance of environment because there are no benchmarking tools for the environment itself. There’s no market for clean-air, river or forest. There’s no market for educational and health package in support of the poor, for example. This tendency endures due to the conception that social environment is unable to earn profit!” says Emil who has chaired the Kehati Foundation.

Saying that neither environment nor social atmosphere contribute in economic activity is a sign of personal detachment. Later these days, concept such as CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) emerges as a response to those imbalance thoughts upon ecology and human spirit. At the same time, Emil Salim thinks that we should ‘quantify’ both ecology and social environment. “People participate in economic activity due to the available profit. Can you imagine what will happen if our environment is given the appropriate value? I’m sure that people will use the product of enviro-friendly companies. It’s human nature to do something good and admire noble deeds.”

Last June, he commenced Sustainable Responsible Investment Kehati Index. 25 companies won the award. The assessment is not only acquired from their profit, but also from how they handle environment, i.e. the eco-friendly-ness of the production process, waste management programs, concern on human rights, energy usage, and their practice of good governance, etc.

“The prestige of a company with deep concern on environment and social understanding will increase. The 25 companies have 0.75 rate of growth index, while the composite index mainly 0.45% rate of growth. This means that public put higher respect upon enviro-friendly companies. This phenomenon has become international trend. No wonder if nowadays we find many green-business movements,” says the former Minister of State for Population and the Environment from 1983-1993.

His explanations suggest that we should see outside the box while practicing business or any economic activities. So far, business mostly practices inward-management – focus more on shareholders, board of directors – and less aware that the company exists in the midle of society. “If enviro-friendly companies crop up while people worry about the condition of our planet in the future, then people will put the products of such companies on the first list,” says Emil.

Proposing harmony among human existence and the practice of meeting human needs, Emil Salim agrees with the concept of sustainable development. He believes that our country will achieved the goal of the notion. However, “We have to pay attention to our environment and local wisdom in every culture we have.” One of the best models of local wisdom represents by Balinese. “In Bali, ecology is best maintained through the philosophy of ‘Tri Hita Karana’ which means ‘three-leading causes of prosperity’, namely: (1) harmony between man and God, (2) harmony between man and society and (3) harmony between man and ecosystem. Bali is an ecological island,” says Emil Salim, whose uncle is Agus Salim, one of the founding fathers of the Republic of Indonesia and Minister of Foreign Affairs in the early 1950s.

That kind of philosophy exists also in his birthplace, in Minangkabau.

Emil Salim also says, “There’s popular saying in my home, i.e. ‘Alam Tagambang Jadi Guru’. It means that my ecosystem is my teacher: not money or anything else. That’s why, when peasants want to plant something, all they need to do is seeing where birds fly. It reflects the existing harmony between human and nature. This is the principal characteristic of Eastern culture. There is no civilization that puts a better balance between ecology and human spirit other than Eastern culture. Not even European or Western culture!”

Mr. Emil Salim and Mr. Iwan, his assistant, in his office at Presidential Advisory Council, Jakarta, June 9th 2009


Written by FaRiD SoLaNa

November 24, 2009 at 7:24 AM

Posted in Life at a glance

Scenes from the Gaza Strip and Israel

with 14 comments

Source: Boston Globe

A picture = thousand words

g27_17373619An Israeli tank drives near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

g01_17466895An explosion is seen as missiles fired from an Israeli aircraft fall towards a target in the northern Gaza Strip, as seen from the Israeli side of the border, Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009. (AP Photo/Gil Nechushtan)

g02_174861171The moon is seen as an Israeli military attack helicopter flies over the northern Gaza Strip near the border with Israel, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009. Israeli ground troops and tanks cut swaths through the Gaza Strip early Sunday, bisecting the coastal territory and surrounding its biggest city. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

g03_17484287Israeli infantry soldiers walk into Gaza on January 04, 2009 on the border between Gaza and Israel. Israeli forces are battling Hamas fighters as they attempt to take the rocket launch areas used by Hamas since Israeli troops entered Gaza after nightfall on Saturday. It is expected that this will be the first wave of assault, with some 10,000 Israeli troops and hundreds of tanks massed on the Gaza border. (Uriel Sinai)

g04_17494949An Israeli flare lights up an area on the edge of Gaza City after a day of heavy clashes between Hamas fighters and Israeli forces on January 5, 2009. (MAHMUD HAMS/AFP)

g05_174785973Smoke from Israeli artillery shelling covers the ground of the northern Gaza Strip on January 3, 2009. (PATRICK BAZ/AFP)

g06_17487383An Israeli boy walks into a bomb shelter in the southern city of Ashkelon, Israel on January 4, 2009. (REUTERS/Amir Cohen)

g07_17466021An Israeli police officer near a rocket fired by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip which landed near Sderot, southern Israel Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

g08_17493881An Israeli gunner covers his ears as a mobile artillery piece fires at a target in the Gaza Strip, on the Israel-Gaza border, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009. Israel seized control of high-rise buildings and attacked houses, mosques and smuggling tunnels as it pressed forward with its offensive against the Gaza Strip’s Hamas rulers on Monday. (AP Photo)

g09_17486581The sun sets on the Israel-Gaza border January 4, 2009. (REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis)

g10_17492825Palestinians hold white flags as a signal for Israeli troops after leaving their house near the area where Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants exchange fire outside Jabaliya refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip, Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. (AP Photo/AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

g11_17484077Artillery shells explode above Gaza City on January 4, 2008, as seen from the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border. (PATRICK BAZ/AFP)

g12_174926831A Palestinian medic surveys the damage to a mobile medical clinic destroyed after an Israeli air strike in Gaza January 5, 2009. Four ambulances and three mobile clinics were destroyed in the bombing at Health Care Union, medical workers and witnesses said. (REUTERS/Mohammed Salem)

g13_17476497A picture taken from the Israeli side of the border with the Gaza Strip shows a bomb dropped by an Israeli air force F-16 jet exploding in Beit Hanoun, north of the Gaza Strip, on January 3, 2009. (PATRICK BAZ/AFP)

g14_17486321An Israeli soldier looks out towards Gaza January 4, 2009 outside of Sderot, Israel. (Spencer Platt)

g15_17483655An exchange of fire is seen between the area of the Erez Crossing and Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip early January 4, 2009. (REUTERS/Amir Cohen (ISRAEL))

g16_17477645Leaflets dropped by Israeli planes are seen falling above the northern Gaza Strip as seen from the Israel side of the border with Gaza, Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009. (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill)

g17_17492231The feet of one of three Palestinian siblings from the Al-samoni family, killed by an Israeli tank shell, are seen in the mortuary of Al-Shifa hospital, on January 5, 2009 in Gaza City. Seven members from the Al-samoni family were killed including the mother, three children and a baby, when an Israeli shell struck their house south of Gaza city. (Abid Katib)

g18_17497093Army officers and medics wheel an Israeli soldier wounded in the Gaza Strip, after he was brought to Soroka Hospital in the southern Israeli town of Beersheba, Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

g19_17496317A relative of a Palestinian victim cries at the morgue in the Al-Shifa hospital on January 5, 2009 in Gaza City, Gaza. (Abid Katib)

g20_17463593An Israeli army mortar team launches a round at a Palestinian target inside the Gaza Strip January 1, 2009 as seen from Israel’s border with the Hamas-run territory. (David Silverman)

g21_17466103Palestinian firemen work amongst the rubble of the destroyed house of Hamas senior leader Nizar Rayan after an Israeli missiles strike in the refugee camp of Jabaliyaon January 1, 2009 in Gaza, Gaza Strip. (Abid Katib)

g22_17472087A rocket fired by Palestinian militants from the northern Gaza Strip flies towards an Israeli target Friday, Jan. 2, 2009. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

g23_17473199An Israel soldier walks at a staging area just outside the Gaza Strip, Friday, Jan. 2, 2009. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

g24_17478353Debris flies up as a bomb explodes after an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip January 3, 2009. (REUTERS/Nikola Solic (GAZA))

g25_17486203An Israeli army soldier stands next to artillery shells at a staging area on the Israel side of the border with Gaza Strip, Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

g26_17478537Smoke from Israeli artillery shelling billows from the Gaza Strip during sunset on January 3, 2009. (PATRICK BAZ/AFP)

26a_17502705People gather around bodies of Palestinians near a U.N.-run school in Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip January 6, 2009. Israeli tank fire killed up to 40 Palestinians at the United Nations school in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, medical sources at two hospitals said. Israeli officials claim they had targeted Hamas soldiers operating in the area. (REUTERS/Ismail Zaydah)

g27_17500589An Israeli mobile artillery unit fires a shell towards Gaza from its position outside the central Gaza Strip January 6, 2009. (REUTERS/Baz Ratner (ISRAEL)

g28_17478331A shell fired by the Israeli military explodes in the northern Gaza Strip as seen from the Israeli side of the border with Gaza, Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

g29_17497581A young Ethiopian immigrant stands in a bomb shelter in the southern city of Beersheba, Israel on January 5, 2009. (REUTERS/Eliana Aponte)

g30_17512111Israeli and foreign photographers take pictures of Israeli troops just outside the northern Gaza Strip January 7, 2009. (REUTERS/Amir Cohen (ISRAEL))

g31_17511571A Palestinian firefighter uses a hose to clean blood from a street in Gaza January 7, 2009. (REUTERS/Ismail Zaydah (GAZA))

g32_17478651Fire and smoke explode from an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on January 3, 2009. (MAHMUD HAMS/AFP)

g33_17493463An Israeli army mobile cannon redeploys closer to Gaza at sunset January 5, 2009 near Israel’s border with the Palestinian territory. (David Silverman)

g01_174301751A trail of smoke is seen after the launch of a rocket from the northern Gaza Strip aimed towards Israel on December 27, 2008. (REUTERS/Baz Ratner)

g02_173936991Masked Palestinian militants from Islamic Jihad run with homemade rockets to put in place before later firing them into Israel on the outskirts of Gaza City, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2008. (AP Photo/Ashraf Amra)

g03_17393737Masked Palestinian militants from Islamic Jihad place homemade rockets before later firing them into Israel on the outskirts of Gaza City, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2008. (AP Photo/Ashraf Amra)

g04_17419063A Palestinian man inspects the damage where a rocket fired by Palestinian militants – intended for a target in Israel – accidentally hit a building in Gaza City, Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2008. Palestinian Iyad Dremly, who works for the Palestinian Center for Conflict Resolution, was injured in the explosion, Palestinian sources said. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

g05_17443381An Israeli Apache helicopter launches a missile during an attack inside the northern Gaza Strip on December 29, 2008 as seen from the Israeli-Gaza border. (JACK GUEZ/AFP)

g06_17443629Smoke rises above Gaza after another Israeli air strike on a Hamas target, December 29, 2008 along Israel’s side of the Gaza border. (Uriel Sinai)

g07_17444519Wounded Palestinians are treated on the floor of crowded Kamal Edwan hospital in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip on December 29, 2008, following an Israeli air strike on the nearby Jabalia refugee camp. Israeli tanks massed at the Gaza border today as warplanes continued pounding Hamas targets in the densely populated enclave. (MOHAMMED ABED/AFP)

g08_17444703Samera Baalusha (34) (right) sits with her daughter Eman (15) and surviving son Mohamad (15 months) while waiting to see the body of her 4-year-old daughter Jawaher Baalusha during the funeral held for Jawher and her four other sisters who were all killed in an Israeli missile strike, on December 29, 2008 in the Jebaliya refugee camp, in the northern Gaza Strip. Jawher Baalusha and her sisters were killed during an Israeli air raid while they were sleeping together in their bedroom. Medics stated that the raid had targeted a mosque near their home in Jabalia. (Abid Katib)

g09_17434407An Israeli F15 fighter flies over the northern Israeli-Gaza Strip border on December 28, 2008. (JACK GUEZ/AFP)

g11_17429551Many bodies lie outside the Hamas police headquarters following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on December 27, 2008. (MOHAMMED ABED/AFP)

g10_174505432Smoke billows from a targeted location in the northern Gaza Strip following an Israeli air raid, as seen from the Israeli-Gaza border on December 30, 2008. (JACK GUEZ/AFP)

g12_17439129Palestinian firefighters try to extinguish flames at a medical warehouse after an Israeli airstrike targeted at a fuel tank nearby in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah on Sunday, Dec. 28, 2008. Israel widened its deadliest-ever air offensive against Gaza’s Hamas rulers Sunday, pounding Hamas targets, smugglers’ tunnels and a central prison. (AP Photo/Xinhua)

g13_17442303Israelis take cover during a rocket warning siren in the southern Israeli town of Ashkelon, Monday Dec. 29, 2008. (AP Photo / Tsafrir Abayov)

g26_174312831A wounded child awaits medical attention at the Shifa hospital on December 27, 2008 in Gaza City, Gaza. (Abid Katib)

g14_17433481Smoke rises after an Israel air strike in Gaza Strip December 28, 2008. Israel launched air strikes on Gaza for a second successive day on Sunday, piling pressure on Hamas. (REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

g15_17434239A wounded Palestinian girl is carried into the Al-Shifa hospital on December 28, 2008 in Gaza City, Gaza. (Abid Katib)

g16_17434871A Palestinian man gestures, as smokes is seen from a burning building after an Israeli missile strike in the Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, Sunday, Dec. 28, 2008. (AP Photo/Hatem Omar)

g17_17435225Palestinian rescue workers carry a wounded prisoner past a fire, as another lays under the rubble in the central security headquarters and prison, known as the Saraya, after it was hit in an Israeli missile strike in in Gaza City, Sunday, Dec. 28, 2008. (AP Photo/Majed Hamdan)

g18_17443019A dead cat lies in the rubble of destroyed houses and a mosque after they were hit by an Israeli missile strike that killed Jawaher Baalusha, 4, and her four sisters on December 29, 2008 in Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip. (Abid Katib)

g19_17443835Smoke from three days of Israeli air strikes against Hamas militants blends with brewing storm clouds to create a dramatic sunset over the Palestinian territory on December 29, 2008 viewed from Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip. (David Silverman)

g20_17450973A Palestinian man looks out towards destroyed Hamas government buildings following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008. Early Tuesday, Israeli aircraft dropped at least 16 bombs on five Hamas government buildings in a Gaza City complex, destroying them, setting fires and sending rubble flying for hundreds of yards, witnesses said. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

g21_17449421Mangled cars lie buried under rubble at the site of the Hamas ministry buildings compound, which was destroyed during an Israeli airstrike on December 30, 2008 in Gaza City, Gaza Strip. (Abid Katib)

g22_17448829An Israeli police officer and reporters take cover during a rocket attack in the southern town of Sderot, Israel on December 30, 2008. (NIKOLA SOLIC/Reuters)

g34_17456817Israelis sit in a bomb shelter in the southern city of Ashkelon December 31, 2008. Hamas rockets had hit the major Israeli city of Beersheba earlier, on Wednesday. (REUTERS/Amir Cohen (ISRAEL)

g36_174503711Eli Azran father of Irit Shitrit (39), a mother of four, leans over her dead body as he mourns during her funeral on December 30, 2008 in Ashdod, Israel. Shitrit was killed yesterday by a Hamas rocket in Ashdod, Israel, after hearing a warning siren and taking shelter in a roadside bus stop. (Uriel Sinai)

g30_17448957An Israeli police officer kneels over a dog that was badly injured after a rocket landed in the southern town of Sderot, Israel on December 30, 2008. (GIL COHEN MAGEN/Reuters)

g32_17450867Mahmoud Tark, an nine-year-old injured Palestinian boy, is transported by Red Crescent officials on an ambulance at the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip to a hospital in Al-Arish December 30, 2008. Palestinians wounded in the Israeli attack on Gaza trickled into Egypt on Monday after a day and a half of confusion and disagreement between the Hamas and the Egyptian government. (REUTERS/Amr Dalsh (EGYPT))

g35_17448923Palestinian men bury the body of 4-year-old Lama Hamdan at Beit Hanoun cemetery in the northern Gaza Strip December 30, 2008. Lama and her sister were reportedly riding a donkey cart Tuesday near a rocket-launching site that was targeted by Israel. (MOHAMMED SALEM/Reuters)

g23_17430563A medic crouches over the body of an Israeli man after he was killed in a rocket attack launched from the Gaza Strip and hit the southern Israeli town of Netivot on December 27, 2008 following Israeli bombardment on the Palestinian costal strip. The rocket attack killed one man and wounded four others, according to the Magen David Adom, Israel’s equivalent of the Red Cross. (HAIM HORENSTEIN/AFP)

g28_17443575Scores of Israeli army tanks and armored personnel carriers are massed on December 29, 2008 near Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip. (David Silverman)

g29_17450395An Israeli soldier wearing a prayer shawl prays near a tank as troops take position on the Israeli-Gaza Strip border on December 30, 2008. (MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP)

g25_17436795The body of a Palestinian security force officer lays in the rubble after an Israeli missile strike on a building in Gaza City, Sunday, Dec. 28, 2008. (AP Photo/Fadi Adwan)

Written by FaRiD SoLaNa

January 15, 2009 at 9:46 AM

Posted in Around the Globe

Karbala, A Mixture of Happiness and Sadness

with 6 comments

By Farid Solana

karbala, political map

What is truth, actually?

We don’t know exactly what it is. What we see and what we hear, nothing is what it seems. That’s for sure.

Sometimes, the same thing also applies to Karbala, an historic site in Irak – when we see it through historical context. Stepping your foot on the land of Karbala, you will not encounter beautiful-green-or-blue panoramas you usually find when you go the mountains or beaches: all you see is a flat-and-dusty desert. Indeed, visiting Karbala is not about relaxing your sight, your eyes: it is the time for your insight to relax. It is the time to commemorate a kind of primitive phenomenon: a battle between good and evil.

If there are two different opinions on the same issue, one of them must be wrong. That is the base of logic law. So, who was the bad guy and the good guy in the story of Karbala?

To get a good grasp upon this, we have to go back 14 centuries ago – when Husayn bin Ali bin Abi Thalib and Yazid bin Mu’awiyah were still alive. Both of them were the most prominent figures at that time – but had distinct opinions on leadership or caliphate among Muslims.

Husayn, the Son of Fathimah Az-Zahra, is Muhammad The Prophet’s grandson, while Yazid is grandson of Abu Sufyan – one of Muhammad’s prominent enemies, before converting into Islam.

It is not only Yazid’s immorality that inflamed Husayn, but also Yazid’s refusal to give back the leadership on the hand Muslims – so that they choose their caliph using certain-and-given criteria. Few years before the battle occurred, it is said that Mu’awiyah, Yazid’s father, must do as mentioned above when his period is over. (This agreement was signed by Hasan bin Ali bin Abi Thalib with Mu’awiyah.) Nevertheless, Mu’awiyah merely bestowed it his son. Using Islamic teachings as base for taking action, according to Husayn, Yazid is too immoral to be a caliph.

“Battle is the answer,” said Yazid.

And Husayn responded the challenge. They met in Karbala, now in Irak. After blocking the flow of the river which is needed by the Husayn’s and his troops, Yazid’s soldiers successfully killed nearly all of the Husayn’s. Finally, they beheaded Husayn and gave it to Yazid … and Yazid lived happily ever after.

Many mourned by the death of Husayn and his family. Those who mourned were also happy with this event. How could that be?

Battle between Husayn The Shahid and Yazid The Drunken Master is a representation of good and evil.

Among Muslims, it is acting as a source of mourn because Yazid beheaded Muhammad’s beloved grandson. And, among Muslims, it is acting a source of happiness because Husayn’s struggle to defeat Yazid: to conquer evil.

Many said that if Husayn didn’t do the battle, Truth would have vanished from earth – because people will no longer be able to distinguish between good and evil. This story widely forgotten among Muslims. Those who neglect the story simply thought that it was a historical mistake, something shameful in the history of Islam.

Instead of remembering Husayn as The Shahid of Karbala, they put him in kindergarten-like stories such as Husayn mounted on the poll of his beloved grandfather while The Prophet was performing shalat.

You may see a dusty desert when you step your foot on Karbala. But when your insight works, you may feel Husayn swinging his sword, beheading his enemies. You may hear Husayn yelling to his nemeses after having his mask opened, “Look at me! Look at my face! This is the face of Muhammad! He edified Islam to my parents, my brother, and me first, before he taught it to all of you!! Whom do you expect to die?!! Whom do you expect to die?!!”

What happened in Karbala at that time will always act as a role model of uprising, a holy undertaking against wickedness. After having a clear perception upon this battle, you will experience something different in you.

Indeed, you won’t be the same person after visiting Karbala, a land where happiness and sadness collide…

Written by FaRiD SoLaNa

January 5, 2009 at 5:49 AM

Posted in Column

“That is Not My Problem,” A Zionistic Wisdom

with 2 comments

By Farid Solana


Have you ever missed someone so bad?

Perhaps, that feeling will make you uneasy, loosing apetite, experiencing writer’s block (for writers, author, or novelist), etc … And the result is the one that is (totally) not you.

Everybody ever falls in love, that’s for sure.

Falling in love is something dangerous. It means that you let someone open-and-go inside your chest, your heart … and let her mess you up.

You’ll be sad if she doesn’t contact you for a few days.

You’ll be sad if she experiences something unpleasant.

You won’t be able to say “That’s not my problem” to your lover – the one you love, and the one who loves you – if she has to marry a guy she doesn’t love: she married a guy just to make her parents happy …

Saying “That’s not my problem” feels like a knife in her heart … and she’ll be burst into tears.

That’s the risk of falling in love. That’s the risk of being human.

Our feeling represents our relationship with the world outside ourselves.

Consequently, if we consider that this world is strange to us, we will have no feeling upon it: responsibility, compassion and affection are not necessary in this kind of world. We will be stranger in our own earth. The feeling of being a stranger is the opening gate of personal detachment from the system surrounding us. Seclusion is not something elite – it is a sign of detachment. What we need today is an ability to get along with others without losing our characters and personality.

Study of culture, human behavior, customs are indispensable to conduct. Nowadays, the development of technology has helped us to learn all of them.

Switching on your TV, you may perceive Japanese customs, how to cook Italian food, history of Zionism, life in Harvard, or even sex education. Clicking a link on your Internet browser, you may access biography of Richard Wagner, CNN, Reuters, or latest news on illegal logging in Indonesia. All these information is free.

Talking about news, this week, my world has been shocked by Israeli assault on Palestinian living in Gaza Strip. Up to now, there are more than 350 casualties: most of them are civilians!

I don’t know the reason behind Israel attack on these non-soldier people. It is important for you to know that this is not the first time for Israel to kill civilians. I have two opinions about this.

First, Israeli troops were not trained to kill soldier. It explains why they kill another non-soldier homo sapiens such as children, women, and old people. Two, Israel is underachiever in military technology. It elucidates why their ballistic missiles always fall on the wrong target – hospitals and universities are different from military garrisons! (For this kind of reason, Israel must learn from countries having more sophisticated military technology such as USA or Iran.)

Both of my outlooks are completely wrong, of course.

Troops are always trained to kill soldier. And it is widely known that Israel is one of the countries equipped with cutting-edge military technology.

If material-and-logical based concepts can not clarify Israel behavior, we need to turn into more psychological reasons. Does this nation, Israel, know the meaning of love, affection, or compassion?

Most of Israeli civilians are Jews. This walking-fossil has marked world history for the last 6 thousands years. From world history, we may perceive their struggle and suffer while trying to get a portion in the history of mankind. But, these Israeli Jews are not merely Jews: they are Zionist – a modern supporter of the state of Israel. Simply speaking, not all Jews are Zionist – but, those who live in Israel are Zionist.

Looking backward on the world history, we may be aware of the background of the establishment of Zionist movement. It was all romantic, very romantic. Theodore Herzl’s passion was quite romantic.

The question is, “Why this romantic movement need to kill innocent people and invade other nation to attain its goal?”

Thanks to United States of America. Thanks to British government.

Thanks to Lord Balfour. Thanks to UNO.

Thanks to Adolf Hitler and (few) European countries.

… their ‘aid’ successfully helped the establishment of the nation of Israel – through the carnage of Palestinian and the confiscation of the land of other nation.

It seems that Zionism is purely physical movement. It doesn’t involve metaphysical variable such as sympathy, affection, and love.

When a Zionist notice a Palestinian who happens to be the victim of Israeli bombing, he may say, “That is not my problem. I just need a land to inhabit. Life is a competition, you know. You need to fight-and-struggle to survive.”

“That’s not my problem” is an irresponsible retort.

This respond will only come out from the mouth of a human who suffers from personal detachment from the system surrounding him. This is the respond of a Zionist.

If I have this kind of philosophy, I’m not a human: but a Zionist.

“That is not my problem” is an inhuman wisdom – it is a Zionistic wisdom.

Written by FaRiD SoLaNa

December 31, 2008 at 7:14 PM

Posted in Column