Emile D. Mailangkay
Chairman “Kawanua USA, Inc.”
Dear Mr. Chairman:
I am writing to comment to your letter addressed to President George W. Bush regarding the INS Special registration. That letter was posted on http://www.kawanuausa.org/displayad.asp?Ad_ID=273 .
I share your concerns regarding the INS Special Registration. It is indeed causing unjust hardship for many Indonesian nationals in the US. Your letter also expressed the feeling that the people of Minahasa are being alienated in Indonesia. Anyone can agree or disagree with that feeling as Indonesians have diverse feeling about many things, yet it is a mere feeling so I will let it go unchallenged. But your depiction of the Maluku conflict must be challenged.
I am deeply troubled by this bloody conflict and that both sides must restrain. Nonetheless, the world knew (1) who ignited this fierce conflict in January of 1999 -not even 5 years ago as you described it in the letter-, that (2) harms have been done by and to both sides, and that (3) this conflict takes place in an extremely complex socio-politic-economic circumstances. I do not intend to discuss this conflict in length, as they are readily available through various online resources. However, I should note that your depiction of this conflict is a serious attempt to fabricate the facts and produce falsehood. You have tried to mislead President George W. Bush into believing that Christians were the only victim of this fierce and violent conflict. For that reason, please kindly allow me to remind you that misleading is wrong and it is against the very principle of any religion.
Mr. Chairman, I do not share the tone of your letter. You are trying to achieve your end of being waived from the INS special registration at the expense of your fellow countrymen who are no less innocent than those whom you described as peace-loving, hard-working and law-abiding people. We all know that many Indonesians are coming to the new world for better future, not only for them but mostly for their children. They are working hard trying to prove that they are good enough to be accepted as a member of the new world. This is a legitimate course of action. But, it is disgraceful to witness some are trying to get naturalized not by proving that they are good, honest, and hardworking people but by the way of begging for mercy and by deceptively accusing their fellow countrymen as hostile and murderous.
Mr. Chairman, this is a strategic choice of yours and can only be judged by a shared moral principle, therefore I chose not to pronounce it as wrong or right course of action. I respect your choice of action and I will not assert that you are simply practicing what one calls it as "the end justifies the sins" but I should warn you that others might well think of that.
Last but not least, only those who are not law-abiding people discouraged by the INS special registration. Therefore, if what you wrote in the letter is truthful, that is you and your members are law-abiding people, then I do not see the reason why you should be concerned about this matter at all. Only those who are breaking any law of the land be it the immigration law or criminal law, should be concerned with this special registration.
Bersama ini disampaikan tembusan surat permohonan Kawanua USA ke Presiden George W.Bush yang dibawa sendiri ke State Department Washington DC, dan serahkan pada hari Jumat 7 Februari 2003.
Pada pertemuan di State Department, Ketua Umum Kawanua USA Emile Mailangkay dan Ketua Kawanua USA Wilayah Washington DC Bernhad Lapian menjelaskan posisi dan permohonan Kawanua USA kepada Mr. David Abramson dari Office of International Religious Freedom, Ms. Deborah Cahalen, Ph.D. dari Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Mr. Ted Lyng, Sekretaris I Kedutaan Besar Amerika Serikat di Jakarta, dan Mr. Mitch dari Department of Homeland Security. Permintaan Kawanua USA agar warga kawanua di AS dikecualikan dari call-in registration INS dimengerti dan ditanggapi dengan positif.
Pada hari yang sama kedua pimpinan Kawanua USA juga menghadap ke Congress AS dan menyerahkan copy surat tersebut ke kantor Wakil Congress AS dari California, Joe Bacca.
Mr. President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500
February 6, 2003
Dear Mr. President:
First of all please accept our condolences and deepest sympathy for the tragedy of the Columbia on Saturday, February 1. May the Most Gracious God shelter this great nation and comfort the families of the brave and heroic astronauts who sacrificed their lives to advance the cause of humanity.
On behalf of Kawanua USA, Inc. a not-for-profit corporation with over 15,000 members in the United States, I would like to express our appreciation for providing us with the opportunity to reside in the United States and to participate in the development of the well being and prosperity of this great nation.
We are people from Minahasa, Province of North Sulawesi, Indonesia. (see Appendix A)
The land of Minahasa is the home of almost one and a half million Christians, who together with around seven million other Christians, scattered all over the Indonesian archipelago, make up the 5% Christian minority among more than 200 million Moslems and other smaller religious groups. Kawanua USA, Inc is a brotherhood of Minahasa people—known as the Manadonese for its provincial capital Manado—who were forced to leave various parts of our country of origin to find freedom, and make our home in the United States.
This letter is written to convey our concern over the plight of our thousands of brothers who face serious predicament brought upon the newly introduced laws necessitating nonimmigrants from Indonesia to report to INS. While we wholeheartedly support your policies and concerns for national security, we humbly request that our members and all individuals from Minahasa currently in the United States be excempt from participating in the call-in registration program for the reasons enumerated below.
1. We the people of Minahasa, North Sulawesi, Indonesia have for decades felt ourselves alienated in our own country. In fact, everywhere in Minahasa you can see open display of affection toward US and the West, a sentiment that has its roots in our history. In the fifties when Indonesia was falling further and further into the Communist camp, Minahasa rebelled under the leadership of her Western-trained generals. The rebellion, soundly defeated, making Minahasan people more determined to seek protection across the Pacific.
2. Within weeks of September 11, 2001, thousands of marchers observed a moment of silence at the Square of Tondano, regency of Minahasa, in a show of respect for the victims of 911 and solidarity with the people of the United States, to condemn the act of terrorism, waved US flags and burned the effigy of Osama bin Laden (see Appendix B).
3. On October 19, 2001, a greater rally was held at Sario Square, Manado, capital of North Sulawesi, with the theme “Prayer for All” and “Declaration of Peace,” condemning terrorism in all types or forms, supporting all international agencies and efforts to combat terrorism and proposing the establishment of anti-terrorism laws in the Indonesian legislature. American flags were again waved in this respectful occasion. (see Appendix C).
4. On September 11, 2002, another rally was held in Tompaso, Minahasa, where the Alliance of Minahasa People Against Terrorism (Almamater)sponsored an ecumenical prayer gathering in commemoration of the 1st anniversary of the September 11 tragedy, and to denounce terrorism. About 6.000 people attended. (see Appendix D).
5. The last five years have witnessed massacres and mass killings of Christians by fanatic Moslems using firearms in Maluku, Central Sulawesi and other parts of Indonesia, not to mention the burning of churches all over Indonesia, all without any meaningful restraint from the Government. Throughout, Minahasa, Indonesia’s only place where Christian has absolute majority, has remained calm and stable thanks to the peace-loving spirit of the Manadonese. Not even one of the few mosques in Minahasa has one rock thrown at it. In the meantime, thousands of Christian refuges from various parts of Indonesia have arrived by boatloads to find shelter in the land of Minahasa, to escape torture, killing and burning.
6. Various attempts of terror have been foiled in Manado recently thanks to the people’s strong unity and vigilance. We praise the Lord Almighty for that. There are strong indications however that the militants are putting together plans to launch major strikes against Minahasa, the last bastion of Christianity in Indonesia. At the same time a bill is being pushed very hard in the legislature to change Indonesia constitutionally to an Islamic State.
The presence of the Manadonese in the United States, these peace-loving, hard- working and law-abiding people, and what meager assistance they are sending every now and then to their families and loved ones back home are part of the support that makes Minahasa what it is today. Many of us are US citizens and permanent residents and many of our children have served your country in the armed forces.
We have come to you with a special request for the Manadonese Indonesians who have been staying in the United States for years to be excempt from the call-in regisration program. We are a small community; we know one another and we can say with confidence that none of us are a threat to the United States national security or harboring subversive activities against the United States. We are law abiding citizens and have contributed to the well being of the nation in many and various ways. We work hard and we pay our taxes. We have left our country behind to seek freedom in this land of opportunity; please don’t deny us what we have come here for. We are casting our lot with the United States.
Detention and deportation of our people will not help our fight against terrorism. Granting us permit to stay and live free here in the United States will. For this reason I would like to meet with your representatives to further discuss this matter. Be rest assured of our loyalty and cooperation for your efforts. Your attention to this important matter is highly appreciated.
Thank you very much, we look forward to hear from you soon.
God bless you, God bless America and God bless the people of Minahasa.
Emile D. Mailangkay
Chairman “Kawanua USA, Inc.”
Copies Sent to:
Mr. John Ashcroft
Attorney General of the United States
U.S.Department of Justice, Washington, D.C. 20530
Mr. Tom Ridge
Secretary of the Homeland Security
Room 225, Main Capitol Building, Harrisburg, PA 17120
Mr. Collin L. Powell
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State, Washington D.C. 20520
Mr.Michael J. Garcia
U.S.Immigration and Naturalization Service, Washington D.C.
Mr. Sumadi D.M. Brotodiningrat
Indonesian Ambassador to the United States, Washington D.C. 20036
Mr.Ralph L. Boyce
U.S.Ambassador for Indonesia
Jl. Merdeka Selatan, Jakarta, Indonesia
Mr. A.J. Sondakh
Governor of North Sulawesi, Manado, Indonesia
Mr. Vreeke Runtu
Regent of Minahassa, Tondano, Indonesia.