I Will Tell My Story #3: Free In A Madrassah But Not In Victoria

GHF - PP

In the past year, I have lived in three very different places.

First, there was almost three weeks as a non-paying guest receiving asylum in an Indonesian Pondok Pesantren (madrassah). This learning institution gave me asylum under Islamic law after I explained to them my reasons that I went to Indonesia to renounce Australian citizenship under Indonesian law. My long standing commitment to studying the 99 Islamic names of God, asmaulhusna, from a western perspective is probably the biggest reason that I received this rare privilege. Or perhaps I should call it a rare recognition of my fundamental human rights.

Then in the second week of August last year, I was arrested and placed in solitary confinement in an Immigration Detention Centre in Indonesia for three months.

Thirdly, after being deported to Australia against my will, I have been living in Premier Daniel Andrews’ Police State Of Victoria.

What follows is a comparison of life in these three places.

In the Pondok (madrassah) I had the most freedom, and was in the most democratic and civilised environment of all three places. The Islamic lifestyle is one of clean living and devotion to God. The People talked softly and modestly and were always friendly.

I could come and go whenever I liked, and on the rare occasions, when a door was locked but I wanted to enter, someone would invariably unlock it for me.

The religious tolerance was extraordinary. In an institution dedicated to the very devout Islamic practice, I was totally accepted even though I was not a Muslim and not engaging in all Islamic rituals. This is because Islamic people in Indonesia have a very widespread and deep tolerance for their own principle La Ikraha Fiddin. (There is no compulsion in religion.)

I learnt a lot among those students about good calm living and made a little film about the liberation and enrichment which can be gained by prayer.

The Islamic environment was democratic because all the people there had freely consented to be there and were proud to be there. In any democratic organisation governing by the consent of the governed is essential.

The immigration detention centre was obviously very different. I was there because immigration officials believed I had broken Indonesian law. I disagreed with them and still do. The head of the madrassah and the very devout mayor of the large city in which it was located both agreed that from the religious point of view I had the right to seek “aman” (meaning safety) in Indonesia.

I was not in the detention centre by consent but my basic needs were met. There were lots of great people there. I got enough exercise and the food was nutritious and I was always delivered three meals a day. The ventilation of my cell was great. It was never too hot or too cold. I had all the sterile drinking water and washing water and toiletries  I needed. I received the medical care I needed.

I was able to communicate with a senior guy in America’s National Coalition For Men who wrote a letter to the head of the Detention Centre explaining why he thought my actions were justified. For two months I was able to engage online in artistic collaborations with Australians of which I remain proud.

There was a good balance between privacy and social interaction.

I also became much more accurate at kicking a soccer ball.

Compared to those two Indonesian places Daniel Andrews’ Victoria just doesn’t measure up. In this sad state all of the worst traditions of Terra Nullius are fully maintained. (It has to be said that there are a few great people here who have ensured that my experience here these last 8 and a half months has not been as bad as I feared it would be.)

This is a state where too many people live in fear.

Thats not surprising. If anyone was silly enough to go and sit on a park bench here in Victoria’s capital, Melbourne, that person would risk being fined $1,600.

Widespread fear now means that the economy is being trashed to fight a disease which is well under control by global standards.

Daniel Andrews has had the most draconian lockdown laws in Australia but this severity has given him the least success in getting the sort of community effort going where a virus can be controlled.

Freedom works, Daniel Andrews. Your Police State tactics don’t.

Democracy dies when the governing political party uses scandalous branch stacking the way it’s been used in Daniel Andrews’ branch of the Australian Labor Party and that party stays in power.

Being civilised is impossible when the government treats outdoor activities like golf and fishing in wide open spaces as dangerous.

Australian Rules Football is sometimes said to be the religion of  Melbourne. AFL footy was born in Victoria and none of the best clubs are playing here anymore. The grand final appears more likely to be played in Brisbane or Perth than in its normal home of Melbourne.

For any government in the world, getting the balance right between the economy and the Corona-virus pandemic is going to be hard.

Daniel Andrews and his political party proved to me in 2016 and 2017 that they don’t respect people like me or our rights or needs.

Nothing has changed.

Compared with being in Victoria, life in the Pondok in Indonesia was very very good.

I miss you, Gus.

Geoff Fox 23rd July 2020, Melbourne, Victoria, Terra Nullius

(“Gus” is an affectionate honorific title frequently used to address Islamic leaders in the Indonesian island of Java.)

Human Rights Trashed in Terra Nullius.

Too many Australians dont know what it is to be human anymore. Or maybe that is not so new. The continent was once called Terra Nullius (Nobody’s Land) so that colonisers could ignore the indigenous inhabitants and claim ownership for their own nation.

Many people in Australia believe Australia has a good human rights record, but, so far, not a single one of them from the Prime Minister down has been willing to say publicly and openly for me on this blog that what happened to me was wrong: in 2016 when I wanted to celebrate human rights in Australia, my own human rights were trashed.

So I renounced my citizenship and sought asylum in Indonesia, a nation built on civilised humanity.

After two weeks of sanctuary in a tertiary level madrassah and three months in Immigration Detention, I was deported back to Australia against my will.

I might become homeless this Australian summer.

But I wont back down: I stand on and I speak up for my right to be free.

For freedom of speech.

For the integrity of representative democracy.

For the right to self-determination.

Geoff Fox, Human Rights Day, 2019, Terra Nullius

I love Pancasila

In my country of birth, Australia, love and praise of God are scorned; people are cruel to each other and think that it is normal; many Australians are patriots but patriotism does not often bring Australian people together; it more commonly gives them reasons to fight each other; the freedom of speech essential to consultative government is being eroded all the time in Australia; and social justice is absolutely impossible if you are a 62 year old white male like me.

But in Indonesia loving and praising God gives me plenty of friends.

People in Indonesia are normally kind and friendly. The civilised humanity is real.

My flesh tingles when I hear the Indonesian national anthem. It is one of the most uplifting songs I know of.

In Indonesia I have met and spoken with three presidents. In Australia, I was arrested by the police for trying to communicate with my local government.

Pancasila, strong religion and the glorious open spirit of the Indonesian people protects the human right to a decent life and to social justice better than the Australia I know where far too many people live in misery and fear.

Geoff Fox, Maribyrnong, The Police State Of Victoria, Australia

1st June, Hari Lahir Pancasila, 2019

Kebersamaan Kartini: We Want To Stay.

I LOVE KARTINI. SHE TEACHES ME.

On the 25th of April 1903, Javanese princess Raden Ajeng Kartini wrote about her dream (shared with her sisters) of studying in Europe:

“We want to stay (in Indonesia) ……. We saw this as soon as we ceased to think of ourselves, but only of our cause ……. Our aim is our people …… The people for whom we wish to work, must learn to know us. If we went away, we should become as strangers to them ……. Always we wish to work for the good of our people, and we must not set them against us by crushing with relentless hands the ideas upon which they have thriven and grown old through the centuries.”

Kartini’s greatness is born from her choice of her own country and her own people ahead of foreign education. By choosing “Indonesia First” she became an education pioneer and a national hero.

The search for truth is dead in Western Universities. Seeking wisdom has been replaced by left wing political correctness and radical man-hating feminism.

I hope more modern Indonesians can do what Kartini did. Learn in Indonesia from Indonesians and from those foreigners here who love Indonesia and the glories of Indonesian culture. Kebersamaan. Panca Sila. Gotong Royong. Kekeluargaan.

Send fewer young people to unhealthy foreign cultures but bring more foreign teachers and intellectuals to Indonesia instead.

Be like Kartini and say,”We want to stay.”

Geoff Fox, Jakarta Pusat, 19/04/19

Open Letter to Indonesian Parents: Beware of Western “Education”

To The Parents Of Indonesia:

My country of birth, Australia, is a nation in decline. Australian traditions, democracy, freedoms and human rights are all under attack from within.

The lives of too many people in Australia are ruined by fear, stress and unrelenting callousness by some Australians towards their fellow citizens.

My second home, Indonesia, is a nation on the rise. This vibrant young democracy consistently produces leaders respected around the world. National self-confidence and solid sustainable values give decent people in Indonesia the chance of building decent lives.

In 2016, President Jokowi inspired me and other people with the glorious words in reponse to the Thamrin terrorist attack, “Kita tidak boleh takut dan kalah.” which I transcreate as, “It’s just not on for us to be frightened or defeatist.” This is easily the best response to modern terrorism I have heard from any world leader. President Yudhoyono was also very effective against terrorism.

It is a great tribute to the whole Indonesian education system that a man of humble origins like Joko Widodo could go on to inspire the world with his clear powerful thinking. The words quoted above rest on the foundations of Amar Ma’ruf Nahi Munkar, Pancasila, Gotong Royong and Kebersamaan.

At the age of 59, in 2016, in Australia, I was treated like a criminal when I tried to share my love of the Indonesian values which now give my life its meaning. My efforts to talk about how much Australia can learn from and share with Indonesia lead to me being arrested by the Victoria Police on July 5th that year and put through psychological hell in Melbourne’s Family Violence Court until December. I am still struggling to recover from that trauma.

My father and over thirty thousand of his fellow Australians fought against tyranny at Balikpapan in July 1945. 229 of those Australians died. The freedoms they fought for are now thriving in Indonesia but are dying in Australia. If I could swap my Australian citizenship for Indonesian citizenship, I believe I would have a much better future.

To any Indonesian parents hoping to give their children a better life through education in Australia, I say this: think very, very carefully about that choice.

There are many wonderful teachers in this archipelago. Among the ones I have known personally are Gus Mus, AmienRais and Mbah Lim. Such teachers should be the envy of the world. I have learnt things about living and society from these and other Indonesian teachers which I could never have learnt in Australia. But what I have been able to learn and love here just does not get respect in Australia. The toxic forces now undermining human rights in Australia can also be very powerful on Australian university campuses and in Australian schools.

Please ask yourself this question if you are considering sending your child to Australia to study: do you want your child to learn in an environment of fear or in an environment of self-confident freedom?

Please choose carefully. Hati hati ya.

Selamat Tujuhbelasan. Merdeka!

Geoff Fox, Solo, Jateng, Indonesia, 17-08-2018

MERDEKA ATAU MATI …….. “YOU’LL NEVER CATCH ME ALIVE” CRIED HE

“Merdeka atau mati!” (which is best transcreated as “Freedom or death!”) was a slogan of the Indonesian Revolution of 1945-1949. It was a key part of the spirit of rebellion against colonial repression. Pictured above is Bung Tomo, circa 1947, a hero of the Indonesian revolution famous for his insistence that the war cry “Freedom or death!” was a non negotiable principle of the new Republic Of Indonesia. The slogan still inspires this nation, which I call my second home and where I find a profound sense of freedom denied to me in my country of birth.

Australia’s unofficial national anthem, “Waltzing Matilda” is the story of an itinerant swagman (hobo) who “steals” a sheep that wanders into his camp.The “swaggie” chooses suicide by drowning ahead of arrest by the constabulary siding with the rich squatter (pastoralist) to whom the sheep probably belonged. I have read that the penalty for sheep stealing was hanging.

Waltzing Matilda is an allegory about social justice which came second out of four songs in a 1977 plebiscite to decide on a new official national anthem. The swagman’s final words are “You’ll never catch me alive.” In this defiance there is both a celebration of the spirit of freedom and tragic loss of life. For Australians, Waltzing Matilda is a song that lives at the very heart of our sense of our identity.

Personally, I have been a midwife for 3 decades but now events outside midwifery have plunged me into a horrific 16 months of psychological torment characterised by far too much suicidal ideation.  Am I alone in this experience?

I now find myself forced to ask a question which is completely different from the wonderful working life of harmony with women which I have been privileged to enjoy: “How many men are being driven towards suicide by modern feminist tyranny?”

Professor of English Janice Fiamengo of the University Of Ottawa responds:

“Dear Geoff,

I like how you have worded this question: an underlying problem is our modern empathy gap. Harms to women are considered far more serious and worthy of public outcry than harms to men.

In the world of the past, the world of my favorite writer, Jane Austen, there was recognition of men’s sacrifices to build civilization. They sacrificed in war, in their labor, in their heroism, in their defense of women and children. This was a part of the social contract between men and women; men did these things, and they were honored for them. Women recognized men’s sacrifice, and they in turn sacrificed a part of their autonomy in return for men’s protection.

In the world we live in now, too many women no longer honor men or recognize any of their sacrifices, but they still expect men to provide for them (whether as husbands/partners or through their tax dollars in use by the state) and to support laws such as equity hiring and divorce provisions that disadvantage men and advantage women. At the same time, men are now publicly defamed and belittled as rapists, sexual harassers, and stalkers who need to constantly apologize for their so-called “privilege.”

Australian psychologist Bettina Arndt described the modern world like this in the keynote speech at the International Conference on Men’s Issues held on Australia’s Gold Coast in June 2017:

“We live in a time where women’s needs and women’s wants are given endless priority over men’s. We face a constant stream of propaganda demonising men and praising women.

Men are on a very short leash always in trouble for not doing enough. Everywhere we see puritanical women judging men.

Across the world the most extraordinary changes are occurring in the rule of law. The basic assumptions about being innocent until proven guilty are totally discarded in order to shaft men.

A huge social betrayal rolls on. The effrontery of this industry is truly remarkable.

Six men kill themselves every day in Australia and no one cares. We have to keep asking: “What is wrong with you, you mothers of sons, you daughters of men, you women who have loving men in your lives. Why don’t you care about them?” “

 …………………. watch this space for further responses to my question: “How many men are being driven towards suicide by modern feminist tyranny?” ………..

Geoff Fox, Java, Indonesia, this post begun November 22nd 2017 completed ????????