July, 2008 – New book launched honouring Joesoef Isak

New book launched honouring Joesoef Isakby Max Lane

18 July, 2008

JI with my partner, Faiza.JPG

Joesoef autographing his book. There was a LONG queue!


On Sunday July 13 more than 300 people gathered to honour Joesoef Isak on the occcasion of his 80th year. At a three hour event in the Theatre Kecil at the Jakarta Arts Centre that featured speeches by a range of activists and intellectuals, a 35 minute documentary, music, cutting of a traditional rice cake, the editors of the book, Bonnie Triyana and Max Lane presented it to Joesoef Isak.

Joesoef Isak has been a journalist, publisher and editor since the 1950s.

Bonnie Triyana is a historian and journalist. He has become a prolific writer on the history of the peoples movement and the Left, until recently editing the history pages in the daily Jurnas. He is part of the leadership of Masyarakat Indonesia Sadar Sejarah. In 2003 he co-edited, revolusi Belum Selesai: Kumpulan Pidato Soekarno 30 September 1965 – Pelengkap Nawaksara. he is almost finsihed a new book, Republik Bandit. He was the primary editor of the new book.

JI present book to contributors.JPG

Joesoef presenting copies of the book to some of the contributors

The several excellent short speeches were from mainly young people, but including the most respected figure from the Indonesian Netherlands exile community.

The film was a very effective 35 min documentary with a great spirit done on a shoestring budget by Daniel Indrakusuma. The film ws produced by Wilson bin Nurtias, who – along with Irina Dyarsih and many others – also played a key role in organising the Sunday event.

There was a wonderful singing group of 60 year old tapol women or from tapol families, who had everybody on their feet singing the Internationale as well as other songs; and funny and moving comments from Joesoef and a good atmosphere when we presented the book to him.

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Bonnie Triyana and Max Lane presenting the new book to Joesoef.

Zely Ariane - national spokesperson KPRM.JPG

More autograph signing


The film was very good. Quieting an Indonesian audience is not easy. But by about 10 mins into the film, everybody was concentrating, engrossed, laughing when they should and clapping loudly at the end. Apart from material on Joesoef, there was also old, never seen footage of interviews with Hasyim Rachman and Pramoedya. These were interviews I did in the 90s and filmed in a studio by an Australian film-maker. It also had footage of when all of us – Pram, Joesoef and Hasyim and myself, plus two filmmakers – to the actual grave of “Minke” (Tirto Adhisuryo) in Bogor – then a semi-abandoned grave. Pram knelt down and cleaned the headstone. Hasyim said prayers by the grave.

The atmosphere was strong with solidarity, sharp with the politics of struggle, and humane it its spirit. To everybody’s surprise one of Joesoef’s and the left’s longterm bitter opponents, the rabidly anti-communist journalist Rosihan Anwar attended. Joesoef used the rice-cake cutting ceremony to invite him up onto the stage – which he had no choice but to agree to.

The book is entitled:
Liber Americom 80 Tahun Joesoef Isak Seorang Wartawan, Penulis, dan Penerbit.

It was published by the 80 Years Joesoef Isak Committee in cooperation with the Institut Studi Arus Informasi, Komunitas Bambu and Perkumpulan Praxis. It is 360 pages and contains 27 articles and ten pages of appendices, including a list of the 80 titles published by Hasta Mitra publishers of which Joesoef Isak has been the backbone for the last 2 decades.

There are articles about Joeosef Isak as well as others on history, on the theme of nationalism and national self-reliance, and on journalism. There are also six articles by Joesoef himself.

Contributors include:

In Joesoef Isak menurut Kami section:

Amarzan Loebis
Eddi lembong
Ibrahim Isa
Mawie Annanta Jonie
Umar Said

In Dari Masa Lalu untuk Masa Depan section

Asvi Warman Adam
Harsono Sutedjo
Hilmar Farid
Jaap Erkelens
Sylvia Tiwon

In Tentang Nasionalisme dan kemandirian Bangsa section

Coen Husain Pontoh
Daniel Indrakusuma
Goenawan Mohammad
Max Lane
Zelly Ariane

In Oleh Wartawan untuk Wartawan section
Andreas Harsono
Bersihar Lubis
Bonnie Triyana
Ignatius Haryanto
Articles by Joesoef Isak include:

* Soekarno + Demokrasi Terpimpin = Diktator> Mengibas fitnah dan keranxcuan berpikir

* Abad Intervensi adalah Abad Intelligence!

* Dua warisan Soeharto

* Dari membangun Kekuasaan, kembalui membangun bangsa

* Zhou Enlai, Potret Seorang Intelktual regvolusioner

* On Pramoedya

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