Cablegate: Commemorating the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin
PP RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #0142 0231024
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 231024Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7736
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1536
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1438
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 4661
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1913
RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY 3632
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 4375
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 2262
RUEHPT/AMCONSUL PERTH 0532
UNCLAS JAKARTA 000142
DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, EAP/PD, DRL/AWH
NSC FOR EPHU
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KPAO ID
SUBJECT: COMMEMORATING THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF DR. MARTIN
LUTHER KING, JR.
1. (U) SUMMARY: A large group of Indonesian activists,
labor leaders, scholars and students gathered at Pol/C's
residence on January 22 to commemorate the life and legacy of
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. They watched a short film about
Dr. King and the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, and listened to
personal stories from Americans and an Indonesian speaker
about Dr. King's influence on each of their lives. Activists
and students asked many questions about Dr. King, linking his
legacy to the struggle for justice and human rights around
the world. END SUMMARY.
2. (U) On January 22, Mission hosted at San Francisco House,
Pol/C's residence, approximately 65 Indonesian civil society,
religious and labor leaders, academics and students for a
discussion focused on the life and legacy of Dr. Martin
Luther King, Jr. The event was held in honor of Dr. King and
what would have been his 78th birthday on January 15. The
Ambassador, USAID Director, U.S. Library of Congress
Director, DOJ/ICITAP Director, and other emboffs and FSN's
also participated in the event. The students--about a third
of whom were women--were drawn from: The University of
Indonesia; Muhammadiyah University; and, Atma Jaya
University. (Note: Muhammadiyah is the second-largest
Muslim organization in Indonesia with a following of over 30
million. Atma Jaya is a Catholic university.)
3. (U) Pol/C kicked off the event, underscoring that Dr.
King was not only a great American but a great world leader
who still speaks to us across all boundaries today. He also
read President Bush's recent statement on the life of Dr.
King. Pol/C introduced a short film on Dr. King and the U.S.
Civil Rights Movement. The film--produced by PAS--outlined
the severity of segregation under Jim Crow, the sparking of
the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. King's support for
non-violence and his inspirational advocacy.
4. (U) Against this backdrop, one Indonesian and three
Americans shared their personal experiences of Dr. King's
leadership. Well-known Indonesian academic and intercultural
exchange leader Irid Agoes underlined the qualities of
integrity and compassion that Dr. King embodied, noting that
his convictions about freedom for all people had parallels in
the Indonesian struggle for independence. Agoes stressed the
continuing relevance of Dr. King's message of tolerance and
pluralism, and the need for Indonesians and all global
citizens to respect differences.
5. (U) USAID Program Officer talked about how Dr. King
inspired her life growing up and gave her courage to fight
discrimination. DOJ/ICITAP Director discussed how Dr. King
and the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement inspired him to
dedicate his life to public service. (Note: DOJ/ICITAP
Director was a recipient of the Dr. King "Living the Dream"
award for his achievements in police-community relations as a
police officer in Arizona.)
6. (U) Ambassador Hume related his experience as a teenager
traveling to join the 1963 March on Washington and listening
in the audience on the Mall to Dr. King's "I have a Dream"
speech. Of Dr. King's importance, Ambassador Hume said:
"Dr. King was a great man. In the lifetime of anyone here,
his leadership was the most important thing that happened to
the U.S. since the end of the Second World War. He changed
not only what it meant to be a citizen, but what it meant to
be a person."
7. (U) The discussion segment of the event was lively, with
students, activists and academics asking many questions about
the U.S. civil rights situation today and reflecting on
Indonesia's own human rights situation. Students said that
prior to the program they had only a vague concept of Dr.
King and his contributions, but that the event had educated
them on the meaning of his life and its international