Indonesia’s Muslims urged to ‘go green’ and ditch plastic bags on Eid

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Indonesia is going without plastic bags to distribute qurban meat during this year’s Eid and replace the meat packaging with the more environmentally friendly, reusable woven bamboo baskets or banana leaves. (Photo: Instagram @kerajinan_handycraft_indonesia)
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Woven bamboo baskets or besek are ready for shipment as demand for the baskets have soared with Eid approaching after the Indonesian government has called on qurban committees across the archipelago to distribute qurban meat with eco-friendly packaging. Photo: Instagram @kerajinan_handycraft_indonesia (Photo: Instagram @kerajinan_handycraft_indonesia)
Updated 14 August 2019

Indonesia’s Muslims urged to ‘go green’ and ditch plastic bags on Eid

  • North Jakarta’s Ancol Dreamland Park will hand out sacrificial meat to the first 100 recipients in woven bamboo baskets, or besek

JAKARTA: Indonesia is urging Muslims to use eco-friendly packaging when distributing sacrificial meat on Eid Al-Adha this year, as the country fights to reduce the amount of plastic waste it produces.   
Indonesia is second only to China when it comes to dumping plastic waste in the ocean and, with a Muslim-majority population, the use of plastic bags to package sacrifical meat could lead to tens of thousands of tons of additional waste.
The slaughter of an animal — qurbani — is carried out in remembrance of the Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael at Allah’s command.
Regional leaders across Indonesia were last month urged by the government to tell people to bring their own reusable containers instead of single-use plastic bags for the sacrificial meat.
“Alternatively, they can replace plastic bags with wrappings from banana or teak leaves, woven bamboo baskets, or other biodegradable or reusable packaging,” an official from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Rosa Vivien Ratnawati, said in a circular.
Jakarta Gov. Anies Baswedan said the use of woven bamboo baskets would help to reduce plastic waste and generate additional income for local tradesmen, while Central Jakarta Mayor Bayu Meghantara said his office would distribute 500 woven bamboo baskets to qurbani committees.
Abu Hurairah Abdul Salam, a spokesman for Istiqlal Mosque in Central Jakarta, said the qurbani committee had starting using plastic bags made of cassava pulp four years ago.
“But, in accordance with the governor’s instructions, we will be using woven bamboo baskets to distribute qurbani meat this year. We have prepared 5,000 baskets and, if we run out of baskets, we will be using biodegradable cassava plastic bags,” he told Arab News.
North Jakarta’s Ancol Dreamland Park will hand out sacrificial meat to the first 100 recipients in woven bamboo baskets, or besek.
“We will wrap the rest of the qurbani meat packages, which on average are up to 5,000, in biodegradable, cassava-based bags. This is one of the many policies that park management has issued to address the waste problem. We have stopped using plastic straws at all vendor stalls,” Ancol spokeswoman Rika Lestari told Arab News.
The Indonesian Council of Ulema is backing the nationwide green initiative.
“We can take this Eid moment to start a new habit using eco-friendly bags and to change our society’s dependence on plastic bags,” council official Hasanuddin Abdul Fattah said in a statement.


Jakarta literary festival aims to give a voice to the voiceless

Updated 51 min 54 sec ago

Jakarta literary festival aims to give a voice to the voiceless

  • The four-day festival features authors from the Middle East and Africa
  • The festival unites international authors with dozens of fellow writers from Indonesia

JAKARTA: The inaugural Jakarta International Literary Festival commenced on Tuesday evening with a focus on bringing together writers and literary works from the Global South. 

Festival Director Yusi Avianto Pareanom said that the organizer, the Literary Committee of the Jakarta Arts Council, wanted to emphasize the importance of creating balance in a discourse that has been dominated by work from the Global North.

The four-day festival features authors from the Middle East and Africa, such as Legodle Seganabeng from Botswana, Adania Shibli from Palestine, Bejan Matur from Turkey, Zainab Priya Dala from South Africa, Shenaz Patel from Mauritius, Momtaza Mehri from Somalia and many authors from Southeast Asian countries.

The festival unites international authors with dozens of fellow writers from Indonesia at the Taman Ismail Marzuki arts and cultural center in Jakarta between Aug. 20 and 24.  

“Our theme ‘Fence’ highlights that we want to unlock and deconstruct the barriers that separate us, so that these writers can get to know each other,” Yusi told Arab News. 

“From authors like Adania Shibli, we can enrich our knowledge about Palestine and its literary scene. There are plenty of ways to portray a situation. Through Shibli, we can get understand Palestine through its literary side.

“By featuring Bejan Matur, we know that there is another prominent Turk author apart from the world-renowned Orhan Pamuk,” he added. 

Shibli delivered her keynote speech titled “I am not to speak my language” at the opening of the festival, in which she described how the Israeli occupation has silenced Arabic-speaking Palestinians.

“The phenomenon of Palestinians taking refuge in silence whenever they are around Hebrew speakers in Palestine or Israel is not unfamiliar,” Shibli said.

She added that decades of military occupation had made speaking in Arabic a fraught experience. 

“Colonialism, however, does not only show contempt toward the colonized, their history and their culture by silencing them, but also toward their language,” she said.  

Shibli described how the nationality law, which the Israeli government passed in July 2018, strips Arabic of its designation as an official language and downgrades it to a special status. 

“Arabic was downgraded from a language into a threat a long time ago,” she added. 

Yusi said that what Shibli described in her speech is relevant to similar situations in other countries, including Indonesia. 

Multilingual Indonesia has more than 700 actively spoken local dialects, with 652 of them verified by the Ministry of Education and Culture. Many of the remaining dialects are in danger of dying out due to diminishing speakers, especially among the younger generation.