The Jakarta Post
Diva Suukyi was only 2 years and 2 months old when her father, human rights defender Munir Said Thalib, was poisoned en route to the Netherlands in 2004. Nobody knows how much Diva had absorbed in her memory about her father, considering how young she was when he died.
Nine years on and various stories, accounts, photographs, images and books are helping to complete the now young girl's memory about the character of her father, a leading advocate for human rights.
The power of literary accounts and images to preserve memory and represent reality have inspired Munir's widow, Suciwati, along with some of his close friends, to set up a museum in honor of the man and to act as a testament both to his distinctive personality and his personal struggle for the sake of humanity.
The museum is called 'Omah Munir', in Javanese meaning the House of Munir. It is so called because the museum, which was inaugurated on Dec. 8, has been established in none other than Munir's former home at Jl. Bukit Berbunga No. 2, Sidomulyo, Batu, East Java.
Munir's personal belongings along with documents and photos of him have all been collected and are on display in the museum. The items include the desk he used at the Surabaya Legal Aid Institute (LBH); a bulletproof vest he once wore during a visit to then-East Timor; various local and foreign awards; his college thesis; and various pieces of clothing.
The entire personal collection is enhanced by audiovisual media and info-graphics to offer a fully rounded picture of Munir and his work in defending and protecting human rights.
Omah Munir has been designed by Andi Achdian, who was also involved in the development of the National Police Museum, in collaboration with Erwien Kusuma. According to his design, the museum will be complemented with a library, a souvenir sale gift shop and a room for discussions.
The museum will also work in conjunction with nearby high schools to help educate students about human rights and inculcate a culture of human rights among them.
For Suciwati, the founding of Omah Munir represents a breakthrough in her long fight to ensure the memory and work of her late husband is preserved, especially among the younger generation.
After years of struggling to bring Munir's murderer(s) to justice, Suciwati is turning her attention to a wider perspective; one that fosters a greater understanding and awareness of human rights in society so as to ensure similar cases of injustice do not befall others.
It is hoped that Omar Munir, which will be Southeast Asia's first museum on human rights, will help to inspire people and inform them of the importance of speaking out to improve their own lives and those of other people.
'By continuing what Munir began, his spirit will live on,' Suciwati said during a recent fundraising event.
Munir was previously remembered and honored by having a street in the Dutch center of government, The Hague, named after him. Meanwhile, Omah Munir will be furnished with artifacts marking historic milestones so as to keep the memory of the man and his work alive and vivid.
Like the red and yellow dots that form the image of Munir's face on the Omah Munir logo, so Omah Munir itself represents a slice of memory that helps form the face of Indonesia's history.
Diva, now an 11-year-old sixth grader, will be able to embrace a fuller and more coherent picture of her famous father. And perhaps her school's history exam may include her father's story in the questions she has to answer.
It will be a test of history.
' Phots by Fanny Octavianus
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