Back to Situbondo? nahdlatul ulama attitudes towards Abdurrahman Wahid’s presidency and his fall
NU got an old dilemma: should it associate itself closely with one political party, even if this is Gus Dur’s? And can it fight for procedural democracy and at the same time maintain an internal structure of authority based on charisma and descent? Two decades of debates on democratisation, civil society, human rights, good governance and equality before the law have made an impact. Even in Situbondo, Bondowoso and Jember, young commoners have begun questioning the authority of the kyais and the Gus-Gus. Young men told me that they were grateful to Gus Dur for teaching them to think independently — adding that this might well mean they would not follow him and have to part company with the NU’s traditional elite.
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