THE PRESIDENT: Terima kasih. Terima kasih, thank you
so much, thank you, everybody. Selamat pagi.
(Applause.) It is wonderful to be here at the University of
Indonesia. To the faculty and the staff and the students, and
to Dr. Gumilar Rusliwa Somantri, thank you so much for your
Assalamualaikum dan salam sejahtera. Thank you for
this wonderful welcome. Thank you to the people of Jakarta and
thank you to the people of Indonesia.
Pulang kampung nih. (Applause.) I am so glad that I
made it back to Indonesia and that Michelle was able to join
me. We had a couple of false starts this year, but I was
determined to visit a country that’s meant so much to me. And
unfortunately, this visit is too short, but I look forward to
coming back a year from now when Indonesia hosts the East Asia
Before I go any further, I want to say that our thoughts and
prayers are with all of those Indonesians who are affected by
the recent tsunami and the volcanic eruptions -- particularly
those who’ve lost loved ones, and those who’ve been displaced.
And I want you all to know that as always, the United States
stands with Indonesia in responding to natural disasters, and we
are pleased to be able to help as needed. As neighbors help
neighbors and families take in the displaced, I know that the
strength and the resilience of the Indonesian people will pull
you through once more.
Let me begin with a simple statement: Indonesia bagian
dari didi saya. (Applause.) I first came to this country
when my mother married an Indonesian named Lolo Soetoro. And as
a young boy I was -- as a young boy I was coming to a different
world. But the people of Indonesia quickly made me feel at
Jakarta -- now, Jakarta looked very different in those days.
The city was filled with buildings that were no more than a few
stories tall. This was back in 1967, ‘68 -- most of you weren’t
born yet. (Laughter.) The Hotel Indonesia was one of the few
high rises, and there was just one big department store called
Sarinah. That was it. (Applause.) Betchaks and
bemos, that’s how you got around. They outnumbered
automobiles in those days. And you didn’t have all the big
highways that you have today. Most of them gave way to unpaved
roads and the kampongs.
So we moved to Menteng Dalam, where -- (applause) --
hey, some folks from Menteng Dalam right here.
(Applause.) And we lived in a small house. We had a mango tree
out front. And I learned to love Indonesia while flying kites
and running along the paddy fields and catching dragonflies,
buying satay and baso from the street vendors.
(Applause.) I still remember the call of the vendors. Satay!
(Laughter.) I remember that. Baso! (Laughter.) But
most of all, I remember the people -- the old men and women who
welcomed us with smiles; the children who made a foreign child
feel like a neighbor and a friend; and the teachers who helped
me learn about this country.
Because Indonesia is made up of thousands of islands, and
hundreds of languages, and people from scores of regions and
ethnic groups, my time here helped me appreciate the common
humanity of all people. And while my stepfather, like most
Indonesians, was raised a Muslim, he firmly believed that all
religions were worthy of respect. And in this way -- (applause)
-- in this way he reflected the spirit of religious tolerance
that is enshrined in Indonesia’s Constitution, and that remains
one of this country’s defining and inspiring characteristics.
Now, I stayed here for four years -- a time that helped shape
my childhood; a time that saw the birth of my wonderful sister,
Maya; a time that made such an impression on my mother that she
kept returning to Indonesia over the next 20 years to live and
to work and to travel -- and to pursue her passion of promoting
opportunity in Indonesia’s villages, especially opportunity for
women and for girls. And I was so honored -- (applause) -- I
was so honored when President Yudhoyono last night at the state
dinner presented an award on behalf of my mother, recognizing
the work that she did. And she would have been so proud,
because my mother held Indonesia and its people very close to
her heart for her entire life. (Applause.)
So much has changed in the four decades since I boarded a
plane to move back to Hawaii. If you asked me -- or any of my
schoolmates who knew me back then -- I don’t think any of us
could have anticipated that one day I would come back to Jakarta
as the President of the United States. (Applause.) And few
could have anticipated the remarkable story of Indonesia over
these last four decades.
The Jakarta that I once knew has grown into a teeming city of
nearly 10 million, with skyscrapers that dwarf the Hotel
Indonesia, and thriving centers of culture and of commerce.
While my Indonesian friends and I used to run in fields with
water buffalo and goats -- (laughter) -- a new generation of
Indonesians is among the most wired in the world -- connected
through cell phones and social networks. And while Indonesia as
a young nation focused inward, a growing Indonesia now plays a
key role in the Asia Pacific and in the global economy.
Now, this change also extends to politics. When my
stepfather was a boy, he watched his own father and older
brother leave home to fight and die in the struggle for
Indonesian independence. And I’m happy to be here on Heroes Day
to honor the memory of so many Indonesians who have sacrificed
on behalf of this great country. (Applause.)
When I moved to Jakarta, it was 1967, and it was a time that
had followed great suffering and conflict in parts of this
country. And even though my stepfather had served in the Army,
the violence and killing during that time of political upheaval
was largely unknown to me because it was unspoken by my
Indonesian family and friends. In my household, like so many
others across Indonesia, the memories of that time were an
invisible presence. Indonesians had their independence, but
oftentimes they were afraid to speak their minds about issues.
In the years since then, Indonesia has charted its own course
through an extraordinary democratic transformation -- from the
rule of an iron fist to the rule of the people. In recent
years, the world has watched with hope and admiration as
Indonesians embraced the peaceful transfer of power and the
direct election of leaders. And just as your democracy is
symbolized by your elected President and legislature, your
democracy is sustained and fortified by its checks and
balances: a dynamic civil society; political parties and
unions; a vibrant media and engaged citizens who have ensured
that -- in Indonesia -- there will be no turning back from
But even as this land of my youth has changed in so many
ways, those things that I learned to love about Indonesia --
that spirit of tolerance that is written into your Constitution;
symbolized in mosques and churches and temples standing
alongside each other; that spirit that’s embodied in your people
-- that still lives on. (Applause.) Bhinneka Tunggal Ika
-- unity in diversity. (Applause.) This is the foundation of
Indonesia’s example to the world, and this is why Indonesia will
play such an important part in the 21st century.
So today, I return to Indonesia as a friend, but also as a
President who seeks a deep and enduring partnership between our
two countries. (Applause.) Because as vast and diverse
countries; as neighbors on either side of the Pacific; and above
all as democracies -- the United States and Indonesia are bound
together by shared interests and shared values.
Yesterday, President Yudhoyono and I announced a new
Comprehensive Partnership between the United States and
Indonesia. We are increasing ties between our governments in
many different areas, and -- just as importantly -- we are
increasing ties among our people. This is a partnership of
equals, grounded in mutual interests and mutual respect.
So with the rest of my time today, I’d like to talk about why
the story I just told -- the story of Indonesia since the days
when I lived here -- is so important to the United States and to
the world. I will focus on three areas that are closely
related, and fundamental to human progress -- development,
democracy and religious faith.
First, the friendship between the United States and Indonesia
can advance our mutual interest in development.
When I moved to Indonesia, it would have been hard to imagine
a future in which the prosperity of families in Chicago and
Jakarta would be connected. But our economies are now global,
and Indonesians have experienced both the promise and the perils
of globalization: from the shock of the Asian financial crisis
in the ‘90s, to the millions lifted out of poverty because of
increased trade and commerce. What that means -- and what we
learned in the recent economic crisis -- is that we have a stake
in each other’s success.
America has a stake in Indonesia growing and developing, with
prosperity that is broadly shared among the Indonesian people --
because a rising middle class here in Indonesia means new
markets for our goods, just as America is a market for goods
coming from Indonesia. So we are investing more in Indonesia,
and our exports have grown by nearly 50 percent, and we are
opening doors for Americans and Indonesians to do business with
America has a stake in an Indonesia that plays its rightful
role in shaping the global economy. Gone are the days when
seven or eight countries would come together to determine the
direction of global markets. That’s why the G20 is now the
center of international economic cooperation, so that emerging
economies like Indonesia have a greater voice and also bear
greater responsibility for guiding the global economy. And
through its leadership of the G20’s anti-corruption group,
Indonesia should lead on the world stage and by example in
embracing transparency and accountability. (Applause.)
America has a stake in an Indonesia that pursues sustainable
development, because the way we grow will determine the quality
of our lives and the health of our planet. And that’s why we’re
developing clean energy technologies that can power industry and
preserve Indonesia’s precious natural resources -- and America
welcomes your country’s strong leadership in the global effort
to combat climate change.
Above all, America has a stake in the success of the
Indonesian people. Underneath the headlines of the day, we must
build bridges between our people, because our future security
and prosperity is shared. And that is exactly what we’re doing
-- by increasing collaboration among our scientists and
researchers, and by working together to foster
entrepreneurship. And I’m especially pleased that we have
committed to double the number of American and Indonesian
students studying in our respective countries. (Applause.) We
want more Indonesian students in American schools, and we want
more American students to come study in this country.
(Applause.) We want to forge new ties and greater understanding
between young people in this young century.
These are the issues that really matter in our daily lives.
Development, after all, is not simply about growth rates and
numbers on a balance sheet. It’s about whether a child can
learn the skills they need to make it in a changing world. It’s
about whether a good idea is allowed to grow into a business,
and not suffocated by corruption. It’s about whether those
forces that have transformed the Jakarta I once knew --
technology and trade and the flow of people and goods -- can
translate into a better life for all Indonesians, for all human
beings, a life marked by dignity and opportunity.
Now, this kind of development is inseparable from the role of
Today, we sometimes hear that democracy stands in the way of
economic progress. This is not a new argument. Particularly in
times of change and economic uncertainty, some will say that it
is easier to take a shortcut to development by trading away the
right of human beings for the power of the state. But that’s
not what I saw on my trip to India, and that is not what I see
here in Indonesia. Your achievements demonstrate that democracy
and development reinforce one another.
Like any democracy, you have known setbacks along the way.
America is no different. Our own Constitution spoke of the
effort to forge a “more perfect union,” and that is a journey
that we’ve traveled ever since. We’ve endured civil war and we
struggled to extend equal rights to all of our citizens. But it
is precisely this effort that has allowed us to become stronger
and more prosperous, while also becoming a more just and a more
Like other countries that emerged from colonial rule in the
last century, Indonesia struggled and sacrificed for the right
to determine your destiny. That is what Heroes Day is all about
-- an Indonesia that belongs to Indonesians. But you also
ultimately decided that freedom cannot mean replacing the strong
hand of a colonizer with a strongman of your own.
Of course, democracy is messy. Not everyone likes the
results of every election. You go through your ups and downs.
But the journey is worthwhile, and it goes beyond casting a
ballot. It takes strong institutions to check the power -- the
concentration of power. It takes open markets to allow
individuals to thrive. It takes a free press and an independent
justice system to root out abuses and excess, and to insist on
accountability. It takes open society and active citizens to
reject inequality and injustice.
These are the forces that will propel Indonesia forward. And
it will require a refusal to tolerate the corruption that stands
in the way of opportunity; a commitment to transparency that
gives every Indonesian a stake in their government; and a belief
that the freedom of Indonesians -- that Indonesians have fought
for is what holds this great nation together.
That is the message of the Indonesians who have advanced this
democratic story -- from those who fought in the Battle of
Surabaya 55 years ago today; to the students who marched
peacefully for democracy in the 1990s; to leaders who have
embraced the peaceful transition of power in this young
century. Because ultimately, it will be the rights of citizens
that will stitch together this remarkable Nusantara that
stretches from Sabang to Merauke, an insistence -- (applause) --
an insistence that every child born in this country should be
treated equally, whether they come from Java or Aceh; from Bali
or Papua. (Applause.) That all Indonesians have equal rights.
That effort extends to the example that Indonesia is now
setting abroad. Indonesia took the initiative to establish the
Bali Democracy Forum, an open forum for countries to share their
experiences and best practices in fostering democracy.
Indonesia has also been at the forefront of pushing for more
attention to human rights within ASEAN. The nations of
Southeast Asia must have the right to determine their own
destiny, and the United States will strongly support that
right. But the people of Southeast Asia must have the right to
determine their own destiny as well. And that’s why we
condemned elections in Burma recently that were neither free nor
fair. That is why we are supporting your vibrant civil society
in working with counterparts across this region. Because
there’s no reason why respect for human rights should stop at
the border of any country.
Hand in hand, that is what development and democracy are
about -- the notion that certain values are universal.
Prosperity without freedom is just another form of poverty.
Because there are aspirations that human beings share -- the
liberty of knowing that your leader is accountable to you, and
that you won’t be locked up for disagreeing with them; the
opportunity to get an education and to be able to work with
dignity; the freedom to practice your faith without fear or
restriction. Those are universal values that must be observed
Now, religion is the final topic that I want to address
today, and -- like democracy and development -- it is
fundamental to the Indonesian story.
Like the other Asian nations that I’m visiting on this trip,
Indonesia is steeped in spirituality -- a place where people
worship God in many different ways. Along with this rich
diversity, it is also home to the world’s largest Muslim
population -- a truth I came to know as a boy when I heard the
call to prayer across Jakarta.
Just as individuals are not defined solely by their faith,
Indonesia is defined by more than its Muslim population. But we
also know that relations between the United States and Muslim
communities have frayed over many years. As President, I have
made it a priority to begin to repair these relations.
(Applause.) As part of that effort, I went to Cairo last June,
and I called for a new beginning between the United States and
Muslims around the world -- one that creates a path for us to
move beyond our differences.
I said then, and I will repeat now, that no single speech can
eradicate years of mistrust. But I believed then, and I believe
today, that we do have a choice. We can choose to be defined by
our differences, and give in to a future of suspicion and
mistrust. Or we can choose to do the hard work of forging
common ground, and commit ourselves to the steady pursuit of
progress. And I can promise you -- no matter what setbacks may
come, the United States is committed to human progress. That is
who we are. That is what we’ve done. And that is what we will
Now, we know well the issues that have caused tensions for
many years -- and these are issues that I addressed in Cairo.
In the 17 months that have passed since that speech, we have
made some progress, but we have much more work to do.
Innocent civilians in America, in Indonesia and across the
world are still targeted by violent extremism. I made clear
that America is not, and never will be, at war with Islam.
Instead, all of us must work together to defeat al Qaeda and its
affiliates, who have no claim to be leaders of any religion –--
certainly not a great, world religion like Islam. But those who
want to build must not cede ground to terrorists who seek to
destroy. And this is not a task for America alone. Indeed,
here in Indonesia, you’ve made progress in rooting out
extremists and combating such violence.
In Afghanistan, we continue to work with a coalition of
nations to build the capacity of the Afghan government to secure
its future. Our shared interest is in building peace in a
war-torn land -- a peace that provides no safe haven for violent
extremists, and that provide hope for the Afghan people.
Meanwhile, we’ve made progress on one of our core commitments
-- our effort to end the war in Iraq. Nearly 100,000 American
troops have now left Iraq under my presidency. (Applause.)
Iraqis have taken full responsibility for their security. And
we will continue to support Iraq as it forms an inclusive
government, and we will bring all of our troops home.
In the Middle East, we have faced false starts and setbacks,
but we’ve been persistent in our pursuit of peace. Israelis and
Palestinians restarted direct talks, but enormous obstacles
remain. There should be no illusion that peace and security
will come easy. But let there be no doubt: America will spare
no effort in working for the outcome that is just, and that is
in the interests of all the parties involved -- two states,
Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and
security. That is our goal. (Applause.)
The stakes are high in resolving all of these issues. For
our world has grown smaller, and while those forces that connect
us have unleashed opportunity and great wealth, they also
empower those who seek to derail progress. One bomb in a
marketplace can obliterate the bustle of daily commerce. One
whispered rumor can obscure the truth and set off violence
between communities that once lived together in peace. In an
age of rapid change and colliding cultures, what we share as
human beings can sometimes be lost.
But I believe that the history of both America and Indonesia
should give us hope. It is a story written into our national
mottos. In the United States, our motto is E pluribus unum
-- out of many, one. Bhinneka Tunggal Ika -- unity in
diversity. (Applause.) We are two nations, which have traveled
different paths. Yet our nations show that hundreds of millions
who hold different beliefs can be united in freedom under one
flag. And we are now building on that shared humanity --
through young people who will study in each other’s schools;
through the entrepreneurs forging ties that can lead to greater
prosperity; and through our embrace of fundamental democratic
values and human aspirations.
Before I came here, I visited Istiqlal mosque -- a
place of worship that was still under construction when I lived
in Jakarta. And I admired its soaring minaret and its imposing
dome and welcoming space. But its name and history also speak
to what makes Indonesia great. Istiqlal means
independence, and its construction was in part a testament to
the nation’s struggle for freedom. Moreover, this house of
worship for many thousands of Muslims was designed by a
Christian architect. (Applause.)
Such is Indonesia’s spirit. Such is the message of
Indonesia’s inclusive philosophy, Pancasila.
(Applause.) Across an archipelago that contains some of God’s
most beautiful creations, islands rising above an ocean named
for peace, people choose to worship God as they please. Islam
flourishes, but so do other faiths. Development is strengthened
by an emerging democracy. Ancient traditions endure, even as a
rising power is on the move.
That is not to say that Indonesia is without imperfections.
No country is. But here we can find the ability to bridge
divides of race and region and religion -- by the ability to see
yourself in other people. As a child of a different race who
came here from a distant country, I found this spirit in the
greeting that I received upon moving here: Selamat Datang.
As a Christian visiting a mosque on this visit, I found it in
the words of a leader who was asked about my visit and said,
“Muslims are also allowed in churches. We are all God’s
That spark of the divine lives within each of us. We cannot
give in to doubt or cynicism or despair. The stories of
Indonesia and America should make us optimistic, because it
tells us that history is on the side of human progress; that
unity is more powerful than division; and that the people of
this world can live together in peace. May our two nations,
working together, with faith and determination, share these
truths with all mankind.
Sebagai penutup, saya mengucapkan kepada seluruh rakyat
Indonesia: terima kasih atas. Terima kasih. Assalamualaikum.