New Zealanders Last Tribute to Gus Dur


The national flag Red and White at the Indonesian Embassy in Wellington was flown half-mast following the heart-rending news of the passing away of the former Indonesian President, K.H. Abdurrahman Wahid, better known as Gus Dur, on 30 December 2009. It is a great loss not only for fellow Indonesians who consider the statesman as a visionary pluralist with great endeavour to promote religious tolerance, but also for New Zealanders who are eager to write their last remarks for Gus Dur on the condolence book opened by the Embassy.
Initially, the Embassy was planning to open the condolence book for only two days after his demise. It was the weeks of Christmas and New Year holiday, a very long holiday for New Zealanders. Yet, some New Zealanders took the time to visit the Embassy to pay their last acknowledgment to Gus Dur while others phoned the Embassy requesting for the condolence book to be available for the whole week so they could write their final regards as they returning from their vacation. The Embassy appreciates the enthusiasm and decided to let the book open until Friday of the following week.
Ordinary New Zealanders, civil societies, government high-level officials, Ambassadors, and Cabinet Minister paid their respect on the book. Among them is Hon. Tim Groser, New Zealand Minister of Trade and former Ambassador to Indonesia.
For New Zealanders, Gus Dur will be long remembered as a champion for democracy and the defender of the rights of minorities.