“Political drama” is the reason respected journalist Goenawan Mohamad, returned the Bakrie Award he received in 2004.
“To me, the peak was during [former Finance Minister] Sri Mulyani’s tenure and it was also directed at [Vice President] Boediono, when they were attacked and manipulated. It’s not about their positions but because I know they’re innocent. They were punished and sacrificed and I know Bakrie was behind all of that,” Goenawan said during a news conference at Utan Kayu, East Jakarta on Tuesday.
However, Goenawan, known popularly as GM, said what triggered him to finally return the award was when he heard Aburizal Bakrie’s statement during a meeting with bloggers at Wetiga, South Jakarta early this month.
“He said he was not guilty for what he did,” Goenawan said, adding that he did not have any personal conflict with Aburizal Bakrie.
“I know him personally but I’m not close to him because I only met him at a convention in Australia and a few times at the tennis court. It was only for a few hours. There’s no personal conflict,” he said.
“For me, he’s a political and business figure who has done a lot of violations.”
He also declined the allegation that he was being used by particular parties who wanted to push Aburizal.
“I’m not a messenger boy or a pizza delivery boy. Nobody told me to do this, this is purely my own wish,” he said.
It took him a while to return the award because he wanted to give Aburizal a chance to change but he did not see any change forthcoming.
“Honestly, I am burdened and sad to return it because I know for sure there is a good intention behind the Bakrie Award. However, what [Aburizal] has done all this time, could not reduce my disappointment. It took me 4 months and discussions with friends before I decided yesterday to return the award and the money,” he said.
“It doesn’t mean that other people must follow my decision. This is a reminder not to cover rotten things with good things like this award,” Goenawan said.