Progressive intellectuals, writers and publishers from across the world have come out in support of Indonesian writer Felix K. Nesi. The author is facing charges of vandalizing a Catholic clergy house while protesting the impunity enjoyed by a clergyman accused of sexual abuse. Nesi, who lives in Nesam-Insana in Indonesian Timor, was temporarily detained by the local police on July 3 over the accusations. He was released the next day but charges have not been dropped.
For months, Nesi had been opposing the transfer of a priest to the school in his parish. The priest had been accused of “sexual mistreatment” of a woman. According to the author, the school authorities had initially told him that the priest would soon be transferred out. However, later, Nesi found that the priest was in fact working in the school and raised the issue, only to receive more assurances. On July 3, Nesi was at the school when he realized that no action had been taken. In frustration, he smashed a window pane with his helmet and broke some plastic chairs, leading to his detention, according to the Jakarta Post.
In a Facebook Post, he wrote, ““In my novel, Orang-orang Oetimu, I wrote about priests who like to protect other priests who behave rottenly. Am I witnessing this in real life?”
The statement by intellectuals and publishers demanded that all charges against him be dropped. It said that Nesi’s actions should be seen “as part of the worldwide protests against the impunity of the clergy.” The statement was signed by over 15 publishers from 9 countries.
The statement reads as follows:
International Publishers stand in solidarity with Indonesian author Felix Nesi
On the night of July 3, 2020, after months of protesting peacefully the installment of a scandalous priest into a Catholic highschool in his hometown in East Nusa Tenggara (Indonesia), award-winning author Felix Nesi was taken into custody by the local police for vandalizing the parish clergy house in the school area. He admitted to breaking the windows of the school because he was angry that the parish had let a priest, who was known for his sexual mistreatment to a woman, to remain at the school with impunity. Nesi had been released the day after, but the local police have declared him officially a suspect and did not drop the case.
With this statement we demand that ALL LEGAL CHARGES AGAINST FELIX NESI BE DROPPED UNCONDITIONALLY. We support Nesi’s actions as part of the worldwide protests against the impunity of the clergy. Broken windows are nothing compared to the broken future of the abuse victim.
Amelia Kraigher (Založba /*cf., Slovenia).
Bodapati Srujana (Tricontinental India).
Claudia De La Cruz (The Popular Education Project, USA).
Daniel Kent Carrasco (Mexico).
Fernando Vicente Prieto (Editorial Batalla de Ideas, Argentina).
Harsev Bains (Trustee, Marx Memorial Library and Workers’ School).
K Sivakumar (General Manager Chintha Publishers).
Magdiel Sánchez Quiroz (Incendiar el Oceáno-México).
Miguel Yoshida (Expressão Popular, Brazil).
P. K. Rajan (Bharathi Puthakalayam, India).
Qalandar Memon (Naked Punch, Pakistan).
Ronny Agustinus (Marjin Kiri, Indonesia).
Simón Vázquez (Tigre de Paper edicions, Catalans).
Sudhanva Deshpande (LeftWord Books, India).
Vijay Prashad (LeftWord Books, India).
Walter Bagoya (Mkuki wa Nyota, Tanzania).