Gus Dur’s 40th Day Memorial Celebrates His Pluralism

By webadmin on 10:01 pm Feb 07, 2010
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Amir Tejo & Candra Malik

Thousands of people across Java on Sunday commemorated the 40th day since the death of Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid.

Followers of Nahdlatul Ulama, which the former president once headed, gathered in several cities in Java on Sunday, including in his hometown of Jombang in East Java, in Solo, Central Java, and in Jakarta.

Lukman Hakim, chairman of the commemoration committee in Jombang, said activities centered on the Tebu Ireng boarding school, where heavy rain in the area failed to dull the spirits of the huge crowd. Some 24 tents plus seven jumbo screens had been set up for the visitors.

“The jumbo screens are for those who couldn’t get seats so they can still watch the event,” Lukman said.

In Surabaya, about 8,000 people crowded into the mosque of Al-Akbar on Saturday evening, where several speeches were heard, including from Gus Dur’s brother, Salahuddin Wahid.

“Don’t let it happen, that when one dies, his ideas are still debated,” Salahuddin said, representing the family in Surabaya.

He said the idea of pluralism encouraged by Gus Dur was divided into two parts, namely pluralism, social or familial, and religious pluralism. “But in terms of religious pluralism Gus Dur did not budge. Because according to him, Islam is the truest religion.”

In Malang Lowokwaru prison, a Saturday morning commemoration was attended by about 500 inmates.

In Solo, the Interfaith Forum remembrance emphasized the theme: celebrating and fighting for pluralism.

“The death of a major figure such as Gus Dur is not commemorated with endless grief,” said Reverend Retno Suryaning Handayani, a Javanese Christian Church leader. “We want people to celebrate this great gift from God that during our lives we once lived with Gus Dur, who fought for pluralism until his death.”