Indonesian poet Seno Gumira Ajidarma followed in the steps of several intellectuals by refusing to the 2012 Achmad Bakrie Award, which comes with Rp 250 million (US$ 26,250) of prize money.
Seno stated in his website on Friday that he received an official letter from the award organizer, the Freedom Institute, on June 12, announcing him the winner for his exceptional works in literature.
“I wrote on June 18 to the Freedom Institute, saying it was better that the award was given to someone else that deserves it, because I cannot accept it,” Seno wrote in www.duniasukab.com, without further explanation.
Writer Djenar Maesa Ayu, actor Butet Kartaredjasa, poets Sitok Srengenge and Agus Noor lauded Seno’s action on the Twitter.
“Salute to Seno Gumira Ajidarma who refuses the Bakrie Award,” said Sitok in his account @1Srengenge.
“This [Seno’s refusal] is the most beautiful blessing on Friday,” stated Agus in @agus_noor.
Two years ago, noted poet Sitor Situmorang and social scientist Daoed Joesoef, also a former education and culture minister, refused to receive the award.
Daoed’s refusal was due to the connection of Achmad Bakrie’s son, businessman and politician Aburizal Bakrie, to the ongoing mudflow disaster in Sidoarjo, East Java since 2006.
In June 2010, poet, journalist and cultural critic Goenawan Mohamad returned the same award he was presented in 2004, along with Rp 100 million in prize money plus interest.
“I tried not to relate the award with what he does as a political figure and businessman, but the contradiction has gone too far,” he said previously.
In 2007, Catholic intellectual Rev. Franz Magnis-Suseno declined to receive the award due to the mudflow disaster.
For the past ten years, the awards have been given to prominent figures for their outstanding achievements in literature, medicine, science, technology and social fields. (yps)