By Greg Barton
In humiliating conditions, Indonesia's fourth president, Abdurrahman Wahid was once compelled from workplace in August 2001 after below years within the task. Wahid, virtually blind and bodily vulnerable after a couple of strokes, used to be greatly misunderstood within the West, even being visible as a just a little comical determine. yet in Indonesia the Muslim pupil affectionately referred to as Gus Dur to thousands of individuals had lengthy been respected by means of a lot of his countrymen and hugely revered by way of the country's elites. His existence were certainly one of nice public provider to his fellow electorate, his faith and his trust in liberal democracy. during this authorized biography, a lot of it in response to designated first-hand remark, Greg Barton introduces us to either the guy and his international and makes an attempt to make experience of his arguable public profession and presidency. Barton has recognized Wahid for the reason that 1989, while he began studying the impact of Islamic liberalism in Indonesia, and has for that reason spend many months together with his topic, together with seven months in the course of Wahid's 21-month presidency, either in Indonesia and traveling with him overseas. someone who's in any respect attracted to the drama of recent Indonesia will locate this view from the interior to be an important learn.
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Extra resources for Abdurrahman Wahid, Muslim Democrat, Indonesian President: A View from the Inside
The kiai warned Abdurrahman about the risks in proceeding but grudgingly gave him their support. For Abdurrahman that was enough. The next day he invited me to join him on a visit to see Amien. As we walked into Amien’s expansive ‘presidential suite’, given to him on account of his election as Speaker, he greeted us warmly. ‘Greg, Gus Dur is the only one who can do it. He is the only one who can bring Muslims and non-Muslims and everyone together. Everything depends on him. ’ Amien said the words with what seemed to be true conviction.
Having arisen partly as a response to the challenges of modernity, it also took the position that the Islamic world should not dismiss the achievements of Western civilisation but should rather ‘take that which is good and reject that which is bad’. In this paradigm traditionalists are those in the Islamic world who opposed, or at least did not wish to be a part of, Islamic modernism. In practice the distinction usually shows in education, with the nature of an individual’s education determining their intellectual outlook for life.
Rather, his tendency to downplay the problems facing him in his statements, I am convinced, represents the extrovert workings of his habit of psyching himself up to meet completely intimidating challenges. Whether this is good or bad I do not know. I do know that it is one trait that his friends would most dearly like to change, if only they could. As president it was frequently his undoing, giving rise as it does to the • Wahid text 2/6/02 1:29 PM Page 23 67 3%/-/:$. perception that either he does not understand or he does not care about the dire circumstances that he finds himself in.