Today is the 6th anniversary of the death of Abdurrahman Wahid, 4th President of the Republic of Indonesia. For Chinese-ethnic minorities like me, he is a hero. Before him it's illegal to celebrate Chinese New Year and even display Chinese characters, we should change our Chinese name to Indonesia, and we banned from speaking chinese language. But when he was in power, to be precise in January, 2001, he made the announcement that Chinese New Year was to become an optional holiday. he followed this up in February by lifting the ban on the display of Chinese characters and the imports of Chinese publications. I admire him deep on my heart, and wish to follow his example.
Abdurrahman Wahid, byname Gus Dur (born Sept. 7, 1940, Denanyar, East Java, Dutch East Indies [now Indonesia]—died Dec. 30, 2009, Jakarta, Indonesia.) Indonesian Muslim religious leader and politician who was 4th president of Indonesia from 1999 to 2001.
As NU (Nahdatul Ulama) chief, Wahid was one of the most respected figures in Indonesian Islam and the most politically active. He headed the political discussion group Forum Demokrasi, which welcomed dissidents and human rights advocates. Wahid spoke frankly on national issues to ministers, diplomats, journalists, and others who consulted him. Deviating from the positions held by the leaders of many Muslim countries, he suggested normalizing ties with Israel and contended that the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina was not religious. Many admired his defense of Indonesia’s Christian minority. Even the powerful military was keen to maintain good ties to a perceived bulwark against radical Islam. Honoured in 1993 with the Magsaysay Award, Wahid was elected the following year to lead the World Council for Religion and Peace.
Wahid once said: "All religions insist on peace. From this we might think that the religious struggle for peace is simple ... but it is not. The deep problem is that people use religion wrongly in pursuit of victory and triumph. This sad fact then leads to conflict with people who have different beliefs."