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Pidato Presiden

Pidato Pembukaan Presiden RI Untuk Bali Democracy Forum

Kamis, 11 Desember 2008



Assalamu’alaikum Wr. Wb.

Your Majesty Sultan Hasanal Bolkiah,
Your Majesty Sultan Hasanal Bolkiah,
His Excellency Prime Minister Kevin Rudd,
His Excellency Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao,
Excellencies, Distinguished Participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased and honoured to welcome all of you to the island paradise of Bali.  Bali is known the world over for its breathtaking landscape, but it also has a beautiful tradition that can be described as a culture of peace, tolerance and brotherhood.
            We are gathered here to begin an important new regional initiative: the Bali Democracy Forum!
            This Forum is important for several reasons.  To begin with, this is the FIRST inter-Governmental Forum in Asia about democracy.  The region has had countless discussions at non-Governmental levels on democracy, but this is the first time that a home-grown, Asia-wide dialogue among Government officials is taking place on the important subject of democracy.
            A region-wide discussion on democracy is anything BUT irrelevant. Asians comprise two-thirds of humanity; own 35 percent of the world economy; and live in 30 percent of the world’s surface.  We are very encouraged at the scope and level of participation of Asian Governments at this Forum.  Several decades ago, for a variety of reasons, a meeting like this would not be possible.  Today, 32 countries from the vast continental and maritime Asia, representing various political systems and different levels of economic development, are represented here today.  With such extensive participation, we can  comfortably assert that this is an entirely Asian process—from Beirut to Beijing, from Ulan Bator to Wellington.
            Perhaps one reason for the great interest in this Forum is the unique approach we have taken.
            We have all come here as equals.  We are not trying to impose a particular model on any of us.  We are not here to debate on a commonly agreed definition of democracy–for which I believe there is none.  We have come here not to preach, not to point fingers.  Indeed, we have come here to share our respective experience, our thoughts and our ideas for cooperation to advance democracy.
            For no matter what political systems we adopt, or what parts of Asia we come from, or what cultural legacies we boast, I believe what brings us together in this Bali Democracy Forum is our common recognition that democracy remains a work in progress.  There is no such thing as a perfect democracy.  Democracy is a never-ending journey.  Remember: it took British democracy 792 years from the Magna Charta, American democracy 231 years from the Declaration of Independence, and French democracy 218 years since the French Revolution, to get to where they are now. And even today these democracies are still evolving.
            This is certainly true for Indonesia, where democracy has been an endless process of soul-searching and trial-and-error.  Since our independence in 1945, we have tried out a series of political systems.  We experienced a liberal democracy that eventually collapsed.  We experimented with Guided Democracy, under President Soekarno.  We adopted Pancasila Democracy, under President Soeharto. We went through an authoritarian phase for several decades.  All these systems turned out to be problematic. 
            Our present democracy is now 10 years old, born in the aftermath of a financial crisis that gave birth to the reformasi movement.  We have made much progress in our democratic transition, but there is still much more to be done, and we will continue to evolve our democracy, drawing on lessons from the past. 
            In truth, our democratic experiment has been anything but easy. Indeed, it has been painful.  We went through periods of instability, crisis, paralysis, uncertainty, conflicts, regression, self-doubt, polarization. There was never any guarantee that we would pull through.  Some even predicted that Indonesia would be Balkanized—broken-up to little pieces.
            But we survived.  We overcame.  Our people kept their faith in democracy, despite all its imperfections and idiosyncrasies.  As a result, Indonesia today is better, stronger and more united.
            And along the way, we learned many things.  We learned that in the wake of every challenge we faced—be it terrorism, ethnic conflicts or economic crisis--our response, our instinct has always been to strengthen, not lessen, democracy—what we would call a "democratic response".
            We learned that democracy is anything BUT easy, and takes a lot of hard work and getting used to.  It demands that we evolve an appropriate political culture to nourish it.
            We learned that the best way to consolidate a democracy is by strengthening its institutions, and by subordinating even the high and mighty to the supremacy of the law.
            We learned that in Indonesia democracy effortlessly goes hand-in-hand with Islam and modernity.
            We learned that democracy is best served when we enhance the people's political participation, and when we enact policies that bring the greatest benefit to the greatest number.
            And we learned that the health of a democracy is very much linked to the concepts of tolerance, pluralism, and civic culture.
            These lessons have been relevant to our democratic development.  But we are also eager to learn from others with similar or entirely different experiences. 
            Ultimately, we have to learn from one another. That is the essence of the chosen theme for this Forum, that is: "Building and Consolidating Democracy: A Strategic Agenda for Asia".
            Our collective ability to advance democracy will shape the face of Asia in the years and decades to come.  It will also determine what I believe will be the Asian Century.
            In recent years, we are seeing a seismic shift in the international system.  The old power structure—previously dominated by the West--is giving way to a new one. This is manifest in the present global financial crisis, which demonstrates the vulnerability of the West as well as the important role of emerging markets in the unfolding 21st century global economic order.  And in this global shift, Asia--with its huge population, large market, growing middle-class, social dynamism, enormous natural resources and newfound confidence—with all this, Asia is rising.
            The rise of Asia in the 21st century will still be determined by our ability to meet the challenge of peace, and the challenge of development.  But our fate will also be increasingly determined by the challenge of democracy.  Our ability to meet this democratic challenge will be critical because unlike the 20th century which was the century of hard power, the 21st century will be the century of soft power. And much of this soft power will be sourced in our democratic  development.
            I do not believe in the notion that "democracy is not for Asia". Many of democracy's success stories have occurred in Asia.  And while the Greeks get the credit for inventing the term "democracy", democratic practices were found pervasively in many Asian societies for centuries, including here Indonesia.  There are many records of the practice of pluralism, consultation, tolerance, consensus-building, mutual accommodation, egalitarianism, protection of minority rights throughout Asia.
            We in Indonesia can relate to this reality very well, since we are on the crossroads of civilizations and I mean that not only in a geographical sense.  Indonesia is a unique blend of Islamic, Oriental and Western civilizations.  Hindu and Buddhist influences came to our people in the third century.  Islam arrived in the 13th century, and western civilization came in the 17th century, first in the form of colonialism but later in the form of modern nationalism.  Over the centuries, we absorbed influences from those civilizations. There is always the possibility that these influences collide.  But our democracy is providing a home for these civilizational influences to blend harmoniously.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
            This Bali Democracy Forum came forth because we realized the need for an organized learning process—a comprehensive dialogue on democracy.  A high level dialogue that is wider, more inclusive and more focused than any that has been attempted before. 
            Such a dialogue entails exchanges in  experiences and best practices that will help develop and refine notions of democratic governance. Each  participating country can then apply these notions in its own distinctive way on its unique situation. Because this dialogue will be a sustained one, it will have to be supported by an institutionalized body of scientists of various disciplines.
            The Bali Democracy Forum shall not be mistaken for an exclusive dialogue of democracies. It is inclusive and it aims to promote cooperation among states in the development of social and political institutions necessary for democratic governance.
            For that reason, this Forum will discuss a number of issues that are relevant to democratic development : such as regular and genuine elections; a multi-party system in a pluralistic and tolerant society; effective parliaments; an independent judiciary; the rule of law; protection and promotion of human rights; good governance; creating an active and vibrant media; benefits of an open and competitive economy that ensures social justice for all; forging strong and dynamic civil society; the role of a professional military in a democratic society, just to name a few.
            Discussion of these practical issues and what they mean for democracy will be important because in the emerging discussions on international peace and security, in both developed and developing countries alike, we are seeing new tensions arise between competing ideas and priorities. We are seeing tension between “freedom” and “security” – between the right to be free, the right to be secure. We are seeing tension between human rights and social obligation. We are seeing tension between the need to promote democracy and the need to preserve harmony, which is the core of Eastern values. We are seeing tension between democracy and prosperity—which comes first. There is no easy answer to all these, but we can begin to find a better understanding of these issues through our discussions here.
            These are indeed critical issues to any democracy and to countries undergoing democratic transition.  They are relevant to how we address a key challenge: how to connect democracy and governance—something that Indonesia has also been grappling with. The failure to connect with governance has caused many democracies to falter or even crumble. The success of our efforts to promote democracy will much depend on our ability to ensure that democracy does not run ahead of good governance, since they should go together.
            I am also pleased to inform this Forum that later today I will go to the Jimbaran Hill Campus of the University of Udayana to inaugurate the Institute for Peace and Democracy.  An independent non-profit organization, the Institute will support the Forum by organizing workshops, conducting studies and research, networking with related organizations and institutions, and publishing papers and periodicals.
            We have thus begun a day of meaningful activities by which we observe a watershed event in modern political history. It is no coincidence that as we launch the Bali Democracy Forum today, we also mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. There can be no better time than this day for launching a Forum that is dedicated to the promotion of democracy.  I have every hope, and confidence, that this Forum will grow, and will contribute to our respective democratic development and to the stability and   cooperation of our region.
            For democracy is nothing if it is not about the people's exercise of one of their most basic human rights—the right to be their own sovereigns. Only through the exercise of that right can all the other human rights be promoted and protected.
Your Majesty,
            Our basic role as leaders in a democracy is to serve the people. It is my fervent hope that through the Bali Democracy Forum, through the fostering of effective democratic institutions, we will learn how to be even more effective servants of our peoples than we already are.
            And finally, by saying Bismillah Hirrahmanir-rahim, I take great pleasure in declaring this Bali Democracy Forum open.

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