What is CISA, and Why Should We be Concerned?

[Jakarta, LTTW] On October the 27th, 2015, the US Senate passed into law, by a significant voting majority, a controversial bill called the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA). Proponents of the bill argue that it is “vital to the security of the American People”, while opponents are adamant that the bill is a violation of privacy of not only US citizens but also of international users of US-based Internet-based services.

So what exactly is CISA? Well at its core, to put it simply, CISA makes it formally legal for the US Federal Government to obtain any digital data hosted by US-based Internet-services companies, so long as it concerns US national security interests, without a court-issued warrant–granted, that is, under condition that the data be given by the private company fully voluntarily to their government. And furthermore, any private US company that does so are legally protected under US law and may not be prosecuted for any privacy violation under US law. The legal details are of course not as simple and clear-cut as this, but this understanding is an adequate baseline for our discussion.

Here we are once again confronted with the reality of how there are conflicts of interests between nations and groups of people, with matters that concern National Security faced Sovereignty and Privacy Rights. The bill had been proposed by members of the US Senate in order to combat international terrorism, and also to protect US national security. But on the other hand the sovereignty of other nations–and, perhaps even more, so the privacy rights of US citizens–must also be given at least equal amount of respect. And furthermore, even without this legal law in the United States of America, the USA has long has the technical and de-facto practical ability, to peek into and sneak into any International data that has been stored on US computer servers. So one might even ask: is it even really important whether or not these sorts of invasion on sovereignty and privacy, is even legal at all?


Obituary, Chris Squire

Chris Squire (bassist of Yes), 4 March 1948 – 27 June 2015

[Jakarta, LttW] Chris Squire—co-founder, leader, and bassist for progressive-rock band Yes—has died at the age of 67. He was suffering from a rare form of leukemia. The news was first revealed to the public via a tweet by Yes keyboardist Geoff Downes, and was confirmed via the band’s official Facebook page in a statement.

“For the entirety of Yes’ existence, Chris was the band’s linchpin and, in so many ways, the glue that held it together over all these years. Because of his phenomenal bass-playing prowess, Chris influenced countless bassists around the world, including many of today’s well-known artists. Chris was also a fantastic songwriter, having written and co-written much of Yes’ most endearing music, as well as his solo album, Fish Out of Water.”

With Yes, he has built one of the 10 most influential Rock Groups in the ’60s. He continues to play bass for the band up until one month before he passed away. When Squire announced his leukemia this May 2015, and announced that he will not be performing, it would be the first time that Yes would be performing without Squire. “This will be the first time since the band formed in 1968 that Yes will have performed live without me,” Squire said in a statement. “But the other guys and myself have agreed that Billy Sherwood will do an excellent job of covering my parts and the show as a whole will deliver the same Yes experience that our fans have come to expect over the years.” It would seem that the Yes legacy and legend would outlive Chris Squire, indeed.

Mr Squire’s perseverance, dedication, and love for music is an inspiration to musicians worldwide. The World will miss him, and perhaps even more so as his music plays on.


External links: 

  • Yes official website at yesworld.com
  • Tribute Page to Chris Squire at the Yes official website — constantly updated with dedications from the likes of Bill Bruford, Brian May, Opeth, Simply Red, and many more


Obituary, Syekh Lah Geunta

Syekh Lah Geunta, August 10, 1946 — June 20, 2015

[LttW, Jakarta] Indonesia, and the people of Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam province, commonly called Aceh, has mourned since the recent death of Syekh Lah Geunta, one of its greatest Seudati masters, last Saturday, June 20, 2015. He died after months of complications at the age of 69. He is survived by his wife Safiah bin Puteh and six adult children.

Seudati itself is a traditional Acehnese dance-singing form using body percussion as the musical instrument. Although many of the elements are also found in traditional Mediterranean, Middle-eastern and Central-asian performing arts, Seudati (as a performing art form) is arguably an authentic “creation” of the Acehnese.

Syekh Lah Geunta’s sincere love and passion for Seudati had been delivered in many forms, ranging from performing, teaching, organising festivals, collaborating to kept learning. He also travelled the World over promoting the Acehnese arts.  Syekh La Geunta was the recipient of the Bessies Award New York Dance And Performance in 1991, and the Appreciation Award from Seville, Spain in 1992.  He was also one of the key figures in a cultural healing initiative called Rising Above the Tsunami, implemented by UNESCO Jakarta Office and Sacred Bridge Foundation in 2005 and 2006.

Syekh Lah Geunta was a humble guru indeed; he will be missed and remembered for his persistence in cultivating Acehnese cultural heritage.

(FZ, SS)

Obituary, BB King

Obituary, BB King

September 16, 1925 – May 14, 2015

[Jakarta, LttW] BB King, renowned & respected senior Blues Guitarist, has passed away this May the 14th, aged 89. He had been actively playing Blues Guitar & touring up to the very last months of his life, to October of 2014, when he cancelled tours due to dehydration & exhaustion related to his diabetes. He died in his home.

From the cotton fields of Mississippi to the forefront of USA Blues, his music has inspired blues guitarists, rock guitarists, and pop entertainers the world over. He is credited with having married the sounds of Mississippi Delta Blues with Urban sounds and Electrical Guitar techniques, responding to the tastes of his varied audiences while continuing to maintain his signature guitar licks.

His legacy will live on, and he will be missed.

The official B.B. King website is at: www.bbking.com. There will be a Public Viewing on May 22, 2015, in Las Vegas.


Nepal Earthquake 2015

Nepal Earthquake 2015: the Role of Culture in Recovery

Death Toll Reaches 7000, as International Relief Efforts Continue

[Jakarta, LttW] The 2015 Nepal quake  hit on April 25. Measured at 7.8 magnitude on the Richter scale, it is the most devastating earthquake to hit Nepal since 1934. Recovery efforts on the aftermath of the Nepal quake continue, as the death toll surpasses over 7000 dead this week. Relief has arrived from the international community, in addition to local efforts. The Nepalese government had initially been “overwhelmed” by the situation, unable to meet much of the demands from casualties. This has lead to protests on April 30th in Kathmandu demanding better & faster relief, although as of May 3rd, efforts have sped up.

Heritage Loss
Nepal has now begun to assess its losses to cultural heritage sites & monuments. Many monuments, some of them centuries old, have been ruined but there is still hope that these sites can be rebuilt. “Once every hundred years an earthquake has destroyed the palaces and temples but our kings always restored them. That we can do,” Kunda Dixit, editor of the local Nepali Times, said. After the last major earthquake in 1934, many buildings had to be rebuilt. Local historian & conservationist Rohit Ranjitkar was confident that the damages this time would also be restored. “This is our heritage. This is our duty,” he said.

Culture in Post Disaster Recovery
Based on past experiences, the role of culture in post disaster recovery efforts has often been overlooked and underrated; it’s somehow perceived as something “insignificant”. This is regrettable, because arts (as one of cultural manifestations) are actually a self-reliant supportive system in human life. So well-programmed art activities can be instrumental in healing communities from the trauma.

Immediately after the 2004 Boxing Day Earthquake (that hit the Indonesian province of Aceh, Thailand and up to Sri Lanka, then followed by the second worst tsunami in history), UNESCO Jakarta Office and Sacred Bridge Foundation initiated and carried out a series of Cultural Healing program in Aceh, Indonesia, the worst hit area suffering a death toll of over 250,000. The programs, called Rising Above the Tsunami and Gaining After the Tsunami, assisted the people of Aceh to regain their dignity and life spirit, and rebuild their lives by utilizing their own arts, dance, music. This series of program was recognized as the intangible effort with tangible output.

The people of Nepal is facing perhaps the most difficult period of their lives, so they would need every mean to overcome the situation as soon as possible, and we have the obligation to assist in the best possible way. So perhaps, a cultural healing initiative can help our brothers and sisters in Nepal to rise above the tragedy in the nearest future.