Issue of the day: Minister bemoans Ford's attitude
The Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Post
Sept. 9, Online
Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan has complained about Harrison Ford's attitude when the Hollywood actor interviewed him for a documentary being filmed in Indonesia.
Ford, who is known for his role in the Indiana Jones movies, arrived at the Forestry Ministry in Jakarta on Monday to interview the minister for the documentary on global warming that is being shot in forested areas, such as in Palangkaraya in Central Kalimantan and in Riau.
Zulkifli said during the interview, Ford claimed that widespread deforestation had happened in protected national parks and the perpetrators had not been brought to justice.
'I can understand that this is the first time for this American to come here and see Tesso Nilo [National Park in Riau]. And it seems that what he wants to see is any perpetrators involved in the damage immediately arrested,' said Zulkifli.
Ford is correct. Why is nobody in jail and all their assets taken? Is the minister looking for sympathy?
How many plantation and land owners have been charged in court for burning to clear their land in Riau?
Next year, it will be the same again. The only difference is the wind direction.
I wonder if the people's representatives are doing anything about it, especially in Pekan Baru and Dumai. Meanwhile, the Indonesian people are gracious enough to breathe in acutely polluted air and not bother to complain.
In the past, government officials were acutely involved in corruption and only recently have President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo started to carry out real reforms.
If people are really concerned, they should stop condemning and start appreciating the small changes around us while understanding that efforts to make the big changes are taking place. These efforts just need time to be successful.
Don't be overly sensitive, Mr. Minister. His hard questions are testing your competency as a minister and your ministry.
Providing areas for productive forestry activities?
This sort of statement would come from the Industry Ministry, while the Forestry Ministry should be protecting forests instead of giving brain-dead excuses for further destruction.
Why does China have a moratorium on forestation and where is China buying all of its forests from?
I quote: 'Illegal forest clearing can no longer be responded to with force but by providing areas for productive forestry activities.'
In other words: It doesn't matter if you cut down the forest, just show me the money.
That was probably the first time in his life that the forestry minister was held accountable. Good work, Mr. Ford.
The minister didn't prepare any answers or excuses for journalists, that is why he was caught by surprise.
It is better to be careful when promoting Indonesia as a 'wonderful country'. We have wonderful natural resources. That's undisputed. But the not-so-wonderful government has not been protecting these resources and pretty soon the country will not be so wonderful anymore!
So for once, let's be honest as a nation and tell the deforestation story as it is. Then maybe, just maybe, something real will be done about it instead of just spreading the 'image' of a wonderful country. Good for Harrison Ford!
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