A.A.J.A. Upholds Anti-Imperialist Banner
[This unsigned article is reprinted from Peking Review, #4, Jan. 21, 1966, p. 27.]
THE Secretariat of the Afro-Asian Journalists’ Association, which withdrew from Djakarta in late December, gave a press conference on January 15 in Peking where its secretaries were gathered. It told the hundred and more Chinese and foreign correspondents present why it had temporarily withdrawn from Djakarta and what it planned to do in the future. The Secretariat declared that “whatever the new leadership of the Indonesian Journalists’ Association does to interfere in the affairs of the A.A.J.A. will be illegal and null and void.” It said that journalists of Asian and African countries were determined to hold aloft the anti-imperialist banner and carry the anti-imperialist struggle through to the end.
A.A.J.A. Secretary L. Morrison (South Africa) told the gathering his association’s work in the past 32 months. He said: “The A.A.J.A. has never stood aloof from the anti-imperialist struggle of the people all over the world. ... While fighting against imperialism, we also oppose those false revolutionaries who pretend to be friends of the A.A.J.A. We know who are our friends and who are our enemies.”
Referring to the struggles of the progressive Indonesian journalists, he said: “The skies over Indonesia are overcast with dark clouds. A big storm is rising, after which the sun will shine again throughout Indonesia.”
Account of A.A.J.A.’s Withdrawal. I. Sugiyama, Japanese secretary to the A.A.J.A. Secretariat, said that while the A.A.J.A.’s headquarters was in Djakarta for more than two years, the A.A.J.A. Secretariat, with the enthusiastic and friendly help of the Indonesian people and progressive journalists, had contributed much to the common struggle against imperialism, colonialism and neo-colonialism. But, he said, since the drastic change in the Indonesian political situation last October, it had often met with undue interference in its work.
Sugiyama recalled the obstacles put in the way of the A.A.J.A. Secretariat’s work when it was in Djakarta. Cables and lettaers were often delayed or not delivered at all, office telephones were disconnected, and Indonesians working for the Secretariat were arrested. The Indonesian newspaper Angkatan Bersendjata (Armed Forces) published on November 4 an editorial, slandering that the “GESTAPU” (the September 30 Movement) journalists had seized the leadership of the A.A.J.A. On November 30, the new leadership of the Indonesian Journalists’ Association sent a letter to the Secretariat unilaterally announcing the removal of Joesoef from his post of acting secretary-general of the A.A.J.A. and the appointment of a person by the name of Arifin Bey, once an announcer on the “Voice of America,” to replace Joesoef. Sugiyama expressed the A.A.J.A. Secretariat’s firm opposition to such gross interference in its internal affairs.
“The Indonesian armed forces insulted and harassed the Secretariat,” Sugiyama continued, “the Right-wing papers viciously attacked it and the new leaders of the Indonesian Journalists’ Association interfered with increasing intensity in the internal affairs of the A.A.J.A., thus making it impossible for the Secretariat to carry on its work according to the principles to which it has been resolutely dedicated.” It was in these circumstances, Sugiyama added, that the Secretariat was compelled to withdraw temporarily from Djakarta. He said that the Secretariat had its temporary office in the Peking Hotel and that the convocation of the fourth plenary session of the Secretariat was planned to discuss the question of its provisional seat and its future work.
Protest Against Arrest of Joesoef. At the press conference, a message of protest by the A.A.J.A. Secretariat to the Indonesian Foreign Ministry against the arrest of Joesoef, acting secretary-general of the A.A.J.A., by the Indonesian armed forces was read by L. Morrison. The message demanded the immediate release of Joesoef and other Indonesian journalists who were subjected to unreasonable persecution.
The same evening, A.A.J.A. secretaries A.R. Aboukoss (Arab Republic of Syria), Chen Chuan-pi (China), L. Morrison (South Africa) and I. Sugiyama (Japan) were warmly welcomed at a reception given by the All-China Journalists’ Association. Liao Cheng-chih, Chairman of the Chinese Committee for Afro-Asian Solidarity, also attended.
In his speech, Wu Leng-hsi, Chairman of the host organization, paid tribute to the A.A.J.A. secretaries for their consistent efforts to oppose imperialism, colonialism, and neo-colonialism and to strengthen Afro-Asian solidarity. He said that the temporary withdrawal of the A.A.J.A. Secretariat was caused by the Indonesian Right-wing forces. He pledged the Chinese journalists’ support and hoped that the A.A.J.A. Secretariat would develop its militant tradition.