House Speaker Inaugurates Soekarno Monument in Algeria
House Speaker Dr. (H.C.) Puan Maharani. Photo: Kresno/sf
House Speaker Dr. (H.C.) Puan Maharani on Saturday (18/7/2020) virtually inaugurated the Soekarno Monument in Algeria’s capital Algiers. The monument was built to reinforce bilateral relations between Indonesia and African nations. Maharani said she hopes to visit Algeria to see in person the monument that is regarded as the symbol of the close friendship between Indonesia and Algeria.
“I do apologize I could not be present physically in Algeria because of the travel restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope that the Soekarno Monument will serve as a reminder of the great spirit and close friendship between Indonesia and Algeria throughout the history of our nations,” said the Speaker at the inauguration ceremony. Representing the family, she made the speech from the Speaker’s official residence in Jakarta.
The inauguration of the monument began at 10 a.m. local time. Among those attending the event in Algiers were Algerian Foreign Minister Sabri Boukadoum, Indonesian Ambassador to Algeria Safira Machrusah, Algiers Province Governor Youcef Cherfa, President of Indonesia-Algeria Friendship Group of the Algerian Parliament Lakhdar Brahimi, and officials from the two Indonesian companies that built the monument, PT. WIKA and Pertamina.
Maharani believes that the history of Indonesia-Algeria relations cannot be separated from the figure of President Soekarno who supported the Maghribi state’s struggle until it gained independence in 1962. “In 1955, President Soekarno invited delegates from the Algerian independence struggle group to participate in the Asian-African Conference in Bandung. At the time, Indonesia had only been independent for 10 years when Algeria was still fighting for its independence," Maharani asserted.
Currently, Indonesia is the largest country in Southeast Asia while Algeria is the largest country in Africa. Maharani hopes that the two nations can build on the long history of their relations to make a better future not only for the two countries but also for the world as a whole. Quoted from Historia, in 1956, in addition to inviting the Algerian delegation (the Algerian struggle for independence group), the Indonesian Government also opened a representative office of the FNL (Front de Libération Nationale) in Serang Street, Menteng, Jakarta.
Unfortunately, the Indonesian Ambassador to Algeria, Safira Machrusah, pointed out the fact that there was yet no symbol commemorating President Soekarno’s support for the Algerian independence. Thus, the Indonesian Embassy initiated the construction of the Soekarno Monument in 2016. “I express my gratitude to Ambassador Safira Machrusah and all her staff for the hard work in initiating the construction of the Soekarno Monument," Maharani said while expressing her gratitude directly to the Government of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria and the Provincial Government of Algiers for their warm welcome and assistance in building the monument.
The Soekarno Monument consists of a garden and an art installation of the upper-body figure of President Soekarno. It is located at the heart of the city of Algiers, the capital of Algeria, at a roundabout between the Mustapha Khalef Ben Aknoun Road and Chemin Arezki Mouri Road. The monument was designed by West Java Governor, Ridwan Kamil, while the sculpture was created by an Indonesian sculptor, Dolorosa Sinaga. Maharani expressed her high appreciation to Ms. Sinaga for creating the art installation of Soekarno for this monument.
“The Soekarno art installation was created from separate iron bars put together into a powerful 3D image of Bung Karno. It reminds us of our Bhineka Tunggal Ika, (the state motto of Indonesia meaning Unity in Diversity),” Maharani added. The project that was sponsored by two Indonesian leading state-owned enterprises, PT. Pertamina and PT. Wijaya Karya, began following its groundbreaking on 16 February 2020. (ann/sf)