Angling Adhitya Purbaya, Semarang – A number of students could be seen Tuesday standing at the traffic circle in front of the Prof. Soedarto building at the Diponegoro University (Undip) in the Central Java provincial capital of Semarang, awaiting the arrival of Prabowo Subianto who is to give a public lecture at the university.
The students however, who came from the Undip Student Executive Council (BEM) Community of Students, were not waiting hear a lecture from Subianto, but rather to stop him from entering the university and had brought banners and shouted slogans rejecting his visit.
“This is to remind society that Subianto still has sins related to reformasi [the reform movement that started in] 1998 and the abduction of activists along with human rights violations in East Timor”, said action coordinator Reza Auliarahma in front the Prof. Soedarto building on Tuesday September 11.
Earlier, the Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) board of patron’s chairperson held a ceremonial laying of the first brick at the construction of a library at Undip’s Faculty of Cultural Science. Following the ceremony, Subianto and his entourage set off towards the Prof. Soedarto building.
As he passed the traffic circle in front of the Prof. Soedarto building, the student began giving speeches and moved on to the road in an attempt to waylay Subianto’s black Alphard car with licence plates H 999 DH. The students however were not quick enough to catch the fast moving car guarded over by members of the student university paramilitary regiment (Menwa) and police.
Despite their failure, they continued giving speeches on the theme “healing the culture of forgetting”. “We weren’t actually rejecting Subianto’s visit, but rejecting the culture of forgetting [the past]. He played a role in human rights violations in East Timor. The government should also not forget. We students have repeatedly reminded [them] about human rights issues’, added BEM foreign affairs spokesperson Hendri Ariwibowo.
Despite the protest action, the public lecture organised by Faculty of Cultural Science went ahead as planned. In his talk, Subianto took up the theme “The Revitalisation of National Culture as a Basis to Develop a New Indonesia for the 21st Century”. The lecture was attended by more than 1000 students, scores of which were willing to stand in the aisles in order to hear Subianto. (alg/try)
[Prabowo Dicegat Mahasiswa Saat Hendak Beri Kuliah Umum di Undip – detikNews. Selasa, 11/09/2012. Translated by James Balowski.]