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Renowned author Pramoedya Ananta Toer dies aged 81 JAKARTA - Renowned Indonesian author Pramoedya Ananta Toer, who overcame imprisonment and censorship to publish dozens of stories and novels about his country, died at home among family Sunday, his daughter said. He was 81. Pramoedya was hospitalized Thursday in the intensive care unit of Jakarta's Catholic St. Carolus Hospital with heart trouble and complications from diabetes, but was taken home Saturday at his family's request.

"My father died peacefully at 8.55 a.m. (0155 GMT). He had dedicated his whole life to this country through his work,'' his daughter Tatiana Ananta told The Associated Press. "We all have lost a great father, a great author. I am very proud of him,'' she said. Age and deteriorating health - combined with a sense of closure in his work - kept Pramoedya from writing since 2000, though he collaborated with one of his daughters on an encyclopedia of Indonesia.

Grandson Kiki Sepitan said that immediately after arriving home in East Jakarta Saturday night, his grandfather lit up a clove cigarette - he was rarely seen without one - and that his condition deteriorated overnight. One of his last requests was for tobacco, Kiki said, but his family refused.

Born in 1925 to a rice farmer during Dutch colonial rule, Pramoedya was an outspoken champion of democracy even in his last frail years. Pramoedya's works - and his life - tell the history of Indonesia over more than half a century. But his ideas - once a major influence fueling the pro-democracy groundswell that toppled former dictator Suharto - have been largely cast aside as Indonesia struggles to revive its economy, defeat Islamic extremists responsible for a string of deadly bombings, and put down separatist rebellions.

Pramoedya advocated the removal of bureaucrats and politicians "tainted'' by Suharto-era abuses, but many of the old dictator's cronies remain in office. He also wanted an inclusive government that welcomed people from parts of the sprawling Indonesian archipelago outside the main island of Java, but the Javanese still hold the reins of power. "I am half blind and almost totally deaf, but I won't stop being angry because not many people are outraged enough at the state of Indonesia,'' he told The AP in 2004.

Pramoedya - jailed under successive regimes, including 14 years without trial under Suharto - was nominated several times for a Nobel Prize in literature and his 34 books and essays have been translated into 37 languages. His best-known works - the "Buru Quartet'' novels about Indonesia's independence struggle against the Dutch - were written on scraps of paper and surreptitiously smuggled out while he was imprisoned on the remote island of Buru.

Pramoedya was first jailed in 1947 by Dutch troops for being "anti-colonialist.'' He was later accused of sympathizing with Chinese communists and imprisoned again shortly after Suharto came to power in the aftermath of the assassination of right-wing Indonesian generals in 1965. Pramoedya's left-leaning, outspoken style earned him enemies within Suharto's regime and his works were banned from circulation.

He was thrown in a cell without trial, first off the coast of mainland Java, and then in the penal colony of Buru in the eastern islands of the Indonesian archipelago, along with thousands of other opponents of the U.S.-backed regime. Pramoedya, who has suffered health problems for years, was initially hospitalized Thursday with heart problems and complications from diabetes, said his son-in-law, Gunawan, who uses one name..

Pramoedya Ananta Toer
Pramoedya Ananta Toer, 1925 - 2006



Related blog entry (category 'General') Related blog entry (category 'General'):
29 April 2006 · Pramoedya Ananta Toer in hospital


Posted in General @ 30 April 2006 09:24 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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