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Jakarta Post

Editorial: Go with God, Gus

  • The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, December 31 2009   /  09:04 am

Abdurrahman Wahid, more affectionately known as Gus Dur, was the most colorful, if not the most illustrious among six presidents Indonesia has had. He was a leader whose vision for this nation was so far ahead of his time, certainly ahead of the Muslim Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) organization, which he once chaired, and in many respects also ahead of the Indonesian people, whom he led for 19 months. His views on nation, nation-building, nationhood, and specifically on Islam and the place of religion in the state, often went against mainstream thinking. Although brought up in rural-traditionalist NU surrounding, his views cut across religious, ethnic and cultural lines that divide this highly diverse nation. Gus Dur never cut the figure of a typical politician. Instead he was more of a thinker, a religious leader (an unorthodox one), a writer, columnist, and a humorist all packed into one. Combi...