By Greg Barton

In humiliating situations, Indonesia's fourth president, Abdurrahman Wahid used to be compelled from workplace in August 2001 after under years within the activity. Wahid, virtually blind and bodily susceptible after a couple of strokes, used to be extensively misunderstood within the West, even being noticeable as a slightly comical determine. yet in Indonesia the Muslim student affectionately often called Gus Dur to hundreds of thousands of individuals had lengthy been respected via lots of his countrymen and hugely revered through the country's elites. His lifestyles have been one in every of nice public carrier to his fellow electorate, his faith and his trust in liberal democracy. during this permitted biography, a lot of it according to detailed first-hand remark, Greg Barton introduces us to either the guy and his global and makes an attempt to make feel of his debatable public profession and presidency. Barton has identified Wahid in view that 1989, while he all started discovering the effect of Islamic liberalism in Indonesia, and has hence spend many months along with his topic, together with seven months in the course of Wahid's 21-month presidency, either in Indonesia and traveling with him overseas. a person who's in any respect attracted to the drama of recent Indonesia will locate this view from the interior to be a necessary learn.

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Extra resources for Abdurrahman Wahid, Muslim Democrat, Indonesian President: A View from the Inside

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If one was to believe his enemies he was, at best, a tragic, quixotic has-been who saw dragons where sane men saw windmills. • Wahid text 2/6/02 1:29 PM Page 33 77 3%/-/:$. So what should we make of Abdurrahman Wahid? Was his victory simply the freak outcome of unusual circumstances, or was it a masterful political play? It is too early yet to form a definitive judgment of Abdurrahman’s performance as president, although it is clear that for all concerned his presidency proved to be deeply disappointing.

He made an excellent address on the first day of the session, but on the second had to endure a full day of angry responses from the Assembly’s eleven factions. The final speech before the dinner break was the most difficult one for Abdurrahman to sit through. It was the speech from the Reform Faction, which consisted of Amien Rais’s National Mandate Party (Partai Amanat Nasional — PAN) and a series of small Islamist parties. In the language of the Qur’an, he was denounced as a hypocrite and an evil tyrant in an emotional speech that built to an hysterical conclusion.

His physical appearance was of course unsettling but what was really surprising was his presence of mind. Looking beyond the oddly helpless figure under the shaven head I found that he seemed to be the same man I had always known. (1 Feillard, had emailed me saying that she had heard the news of the stroke and, thinking that he had died, rushed into a cathedral that she was passing in the street and knelt at the altar to pray. I said, ‘You know how unusual this is. Andrée after all is a French intellectual — they don’t go to church, much less pray’.

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