Page last updated at 11:45 GMT, Thursday, 31 December 2009

Papers remember Indonesian democrat

Former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid
Former President Abdurrahman Wahid

Indonesian papers are paying tribute to former president Abdurrahman Wahid, also known as Gus Dur, who died this week, praising his efforts to promote democracy.

One paper remembers him as a man who promoted understanding between East and West, while another hailed him as a defender of the oppressed.

Editorials speak of love for the former leader and sorrow over his death.


Abdurrahman Wahid, whom we love very much, has passed away. The world should thank Gus Dur because he played a big diplomatic role in easing tension between East and West… He encouraged the world to appreciate the interests of each country so that no country felt superior or inferior.


The passing of Gus Dur has not only raised deep sorrow, but also revealed his reputation as a religious figure, democracy fighter, political leader, minority group defender, human rights supporter, pluralism hero, peace initiator and opponent of violence.


Gus Dur was the most colourful, if not the most illustrious, among the six presidents Indonesia has had. He was a leader whose vision for this nation was so far ahead of his time. His views on nation, nation-building, nationhood, and specifically on Islam and the place of religion in the state, often went against mainstream thinking. He broke away from the imperial style that all other presidents before and after him felt comfortable with. But this informality and his relentless jokes became too much to bear for the nation's elite and together they conspired to bring his presidency to an abrupt end in 2001.


Gus Dur never discriminated against others based on their race, religion, ethnicity, identity or status. He embraced all groups in the spirit of togetherness and brotherhood. Gus Dur sincerely defended the oppressed.


This nation has lost a great figure who for nearly all of his life devoted himself to building democracy, defending pluralism and voicing resistance towards all forms of injustice... Gus Dur was a promoter for the initial journey of democracy in our country.


Abdurrahman Wahid, a charismatic leader, has finally gone forever... Gus Dur, an intelligent and wise person of Jombang [East Java], did a lot for this country and for the people... We will never forget him... Goodbye Gus Dur.


Gus Dur was known for his way with words and his love of jokes. Some of his memorable quotes include: ''Upholding democracy is one of the principals of Islam.''

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.

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