Spirituality of Common Future
[Short abastract]

"The Spirit of Bandung" has great historic significance 'shaped by tribulations which have exacted a heavy toll in life, in material things, and in the things of the spirit'. It was born among the "smugglers of the spirit of independence" [from colonialists and imperialists] in Asia and Africa.

History tells that Bandung, a city in Indonesia, showed itself to be the 'liaison city' for the freedom fighters of Asia-Africa. Delegates who were able to escape the encirclement and the shackles of colonialism in Africa and Asia came to meet in Bandung about 70 to 80 years back or even before that! Bandung was not only an asylum for them, but also the place from which they got new inspiration and new strength. Bandung functioned as the 'mastermind' in continuing the historic process of the awakening of nations that were once colonized and those who were still colonized. The name "Bandung" therefore, has colossal importance to the people of Asia Africa as it echoes the spirit of 'merdeka' [freedom] and hope.

The details of the emergence on the idea for the Asian-African Conference are given in the succeeding writings.

What was sown decades and decades back has not died: The Spirit of Bandung reverberates again and again. The first Asian-African Conference, which was held on Monday, 18 April 1955, will see its second conference in 2005, exactly after 50 years! Similar conferences for certain groups were also held several times all these years. The recently held Seminar and Workshop on 'Asia Africa Beyond Globalization' at Bandung was another call to address the Spirit of Bandung and support the idea to convene the Second Bandung Conference in 2005.

The Seminar and Workshop on "Asia Africa Beyond Globalisation: The Spirit of Bandung and a New World Order" was held at Maranatha Christian University, Bandung-Indonesia from June 25 to 27, 2002. The World Council of Churches (WCC), Christian Conference of Asia (CCA-FMU) and the local NGOs, both Christian and Muslim, were the co-organizers. About 200 people representing NGOs in Indonesia and countries in Asia and Africa, Intellectuals from some countries in Asia, Africa, Middle East, Europe, Journalists, Religious Institutions, government, legislative bodies and political parties and students in Indonesia attended the Conference.

The Conference discussed how the Spirit of Bandung be further promoted and how would its 50th anniversary be celebrated in such a way that is meaningful to the lives of the majority of the world's people who are poor. The message of this Bandung was centered more on globalization and voices from the African, Asian, Middle East and European participants were heard with much reflection and discussion. The presence of the Middle East participants also enabled the meeting to reflect on the Palestinian question. Besides globalization, the issues of the US unilateralism, neo-colonialism, and women's exploitation and South-South cooperation were also addressed.

The main question pursued in this "Asia Africa Beyond Globalization' was "Is there still an alternative to strengthen the spirit of resistance of the people in facing the globalization? Do people in Asia and Africa still have what we call the geo-political Vision outside of the dreams promised by the free market and globalization?"

This volume contains the papers presented at the Conference and some reflection from participants. We hope that these resources would continue to rekindle the Spirit of Bandung as for the Spirit of Bandung cannot die. It is the spirituality of common future whichs bring people from different faith to work together for justice, peace and equality for all. It will continue to stay, as a beacon guiding the future progress of Asia and Africa because Asians and Africans cannot forget that,

"… The highest purpose of [hu] man is the liberation of [hu] man from his [her] bonds of fear, his [her] bonds of human degradation, his [her] bonds of poverty - the liberation of [hu] man from the physical, spiritual and intellectual bonds which have for too long stunted the development of humanity's majority".

Sekali Merdeka Merdeka.
Freedom Once Forever

 

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