Gus Dur, Sarwo to be named Indonesia's national heroes

Gus Dur, Sarwo to be named Indonesia's national heroes
PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa confirmed on Saturday that former president Abdurrahman "Gus Dur" Wahid and former army commander Sarwo Edhie Wibowo would soon be declared national heroes, as the review process was nearly complete.

To be named a national hero, evaluations are carried out by the Regional Title Research and Assesment Team (TP2GD), the Central Title Research and Assesment Team (TP2GP), as well as the Title, Order of Merit and Honors Council. Then recommendations are sent to the President for approval.

Proposals can come from citizens, organisations, or government institutions.

"Gus Dur name has passed the review by TP2GP. He will then be reviewed by the Title Council in May. The bestowal as national hero will be done approaching Nov. 10 (Heroes Day)," said Khofifah in Amir Hamzah Park, Central Jakarta, on Saturday.

Among the particular requirements for a figure to be named a national hero are that the person must have produced a large body of work supporting the country's development, as well as exhibiting lifetime devotion and struggle for the country.

Gus Dur was known for his influential beliefs, especially on pluralism. He championed a tolerant teaching of Islam, and he was a chairman of Indonesia's largest Islamic organisation, the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU).

The influential cleric was also known as a defender of the rights of Chinese who live in Indonesia, revoking a presidential instruction from the Soeharto era that suppressed their freedom to express their culture and religion.

Lt. Gen. (ret) Sarwo Edhie Wibowo, following the botched coup of 1965, was a lead architect of the purge of citizens linked to the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) -- a campaign that ultimately claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.

Sarwo was commander of the Army's Para-Commando Regiment (PRKAD), now Kopassus, during the time of the botched coup. The proposal to name Sarwo a national hero has elicited heavy criticism from the public.

Sarwo was the father of former first lady Ani Yudhoyono and former Army chief of staff Gen. (ret) Pramono Edhie Wibowo.

Khofifah also highlighted that out of 163 people who have been named national heroes, only 13 have been women.

"I hope people can start proposing female national heroes," she said.

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