Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara (ANTARA) - Home Affairs Minister Muhammad Tito Karnavian led a ceremony marking the 77th anniversary of Indonesia's Independence Day in the southernmost island, Rote Island, East Nusa Tenggara Province, on Wednesday.

As quoted from a written statement from the Administrative Bureau of the Regional Secretariat of East Nusa Tenggara Province received in Kupang, the ceremony was hosted at the Nemberala field, West Rote Sub-district, Rote Ndao District.

Karnavian wore traditional Rote clothing, complete with headgear made of palm leaves called Ti'i Langga and a white shirt wrapped in Rote Ndao's woven cloth, which was the intellectual work of the women of Rote Ndao.

Karnavian stressed that the Indonesian Independence Day should not be observed as a mere ritual and ceremonial activity but rather be considered as a commemoration of an important event that led to the birth of Indonesia as a nation.

He stated that the proclamation text, which was read out on August 17, 1945, at the East Pegangsaan Building Number 56, Jakarta, by Soekarno and Hatta became the basis for a new beginning for Indonesia.

The event should serve as a strong basis to further improve the Indonesian nation, he remarked.

"With activities like this, (we and the younger generation) would continue to be reminded of history," Karnavian remarked.

Karnavian noted that the ceremony for commemorating RI's 77th Anniversary of Independence Day on Rote Island was a follow-up to President Joko Widodo's directives.

He noted that President Jokowi had instructed his ministers to conduct ceremonies in places across the country and not just at the State Palace. Thus, after thorough consideration, the minister decided to pick Rote Island to commemorate the 77th Independence Day this year.

The minister said that after selecting Rote Island, he immediately contacted the governor of East Nusa Tenggara. During their interaction, Governor Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat expressed interest to accompany the minister during the ceremony in West Rote District.

Head of Rote Ndao District, Paulina Haning Bullu, voiced the same interest. However, the minister appealed to them both to conduct the ceremony in their respective places, as it was initially planned.

“The implementation of this ceremony will proffer a different feel than hosting the ceremony at the provincial level or the district level. Thus, the district-scope ceremony was enough. I then saw that the series of events were very good, not any less (cooler) to the (events held at the) provincial scope," he added.

The minister's presence in Rote Island, the southern part of Indonesia, implied the central government's special attention to the East Nusa Tenggara region, particularly the Rote Ndao District.

"If the lyrics of the previous song were from Sabang to Merauke, if possible, someone could compose songs (whose lyrics go like:) from Sabang to Merauke, from Miangas to Rote, that is Indonesia," the minister remarked.

According to Karnavian, Rote Ndao Island was a piece of heaven on Earth, a tourist destination with marine and agricultural potential as well as existing livestock. The government could set the direction for the development of human resources and empower them with knowledge geared towards all those potential in question in order to tap into the existing strengths and utilize them for boosting welfare, so that the people would not remain mere spectators in their own land.

The event featured high-ranking officials from the Home Affairs Ministry, members of the general public, regional leadership coordination forum, a coordination forum for sub-district leaders, and several officials in Rote Ndao District, as well as students from elementary, middle, and high schools in Rote Ndao District.

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Translator: Benediktus SSJ, Mecca Yumna
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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