Subject: Obituary/Daniel S. Lev: Indonesia Expert, Human Rights Advocate

The Jakarta Post Monday, July 31, 2006


Daniel S. Lev, an American political scientist who spent years doing research in the country and become an authoritative commentator on Indonesia has died. He was 72.

Lev died after a battle lung with cancer in Washington on Saturday night local time (Sunday afternoon in Jakarta).

The retired University of Washington professor is survived by a wife and two children.

Lev was no stranger to academics in the country and his numerous studies on Indonesia, especially those on the country's politics, religion, law and culture, have been influential here.

Lev started his research on Indonesia in the early 1950s and has since worked with scholars, journalists, reformers and the military to further the cause of human rights in the country.

He began his teaching career at the University of California, Berkeley, and went to the University of Washington in the 1970s.

He retired from that university in 1999, after years as a political science professor and researcher. He also established the university's political-science honors program.

The fruit of his decades-long study was memorialized in a collection of his classic essays published in 1990 by the Institute for Social and Economic Research, Education and Information (LP3ES) titled Law and Politics.

During his decades of research on political conflict in Southeast Asia and Indonesia, Lev accumulated dozens of boxes filled with notes, documents and books, which he recently gave to young scholars in Indonesia.

Last June, Lev shipped the bulk of the materials to the Jakarta-based Center for Study of Law and Policy (PSHK), a non-governmental organization set up by 30 young lawyers who research legal reform.

Lev also embraced the language and culture of Indonesia and was fluent in Indonesian.

He often spoke with colleagues in Indonesian, and much of the material he sent back -- his own writings and those of others -- is in the language.

Lev's passing has saddened many of his friends and colleagues in Jakarta.

"He (Lev) deeply loved Indonesia. He always kept an eye on the country and gave critical insight, especially regarding legal problems, selflessly," acting chairman of the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute, Patra M. Zein, said.

Bivitri Susanti of PSHK said that to honor Lev, the NGO would name its library after him. "We had hoped to officially open it before Pak Dan's passing. But it's too late now. We are very sad," Bivitri told the Post. -- JP


Daniel Lev Has Died Monday, 31 July, 2006 | 17:35 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: Daniel S. Lev, an expert on Indonesia, died in Seattle, the United States on Saturday (29/7) at 11.30am local time , or on Sunday at 1.30am Indonesian Western Time (WIB).

Lev, who had often spoken Indonesian language when teaching at the University of Washington, leaves a wife and two children.

Erman Rajagukguk, Professor of Law at University of Indonesia, acknowledged receiving an SMS from Lev's family half an hour before Lev died.

"The message said that it was as if Lev was sleeping endlessly," said Erman, who was Daniel Lev's student at the University of Washington in the 1980s.

Lev, according to Erman, died of lung cancer.

"He was certainly a heavy smoker," said Erman. His last contact with his former professor was in February.

"I'm ill, Erman, I'm going for chemo," Erman quoted what Lev told him on the telephone.

Another of Lev's colleagues, Adnan Buyung Nasution, is of the opinion that Lev deserves a proper reward.

"Indonesia owes him much. He is an 'ambassador' who explained to the West that Indonesia is a country that is worth respecting," said Buyung.

J. Kristiadi, a political observer from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), views Lev as a scientist with high exploration power and integrity.

Therefore Kristiadi has suggested that his works to preserved.

"Perhaps we can make a special section of library," said Kristiadi yesterday (30/7).

Erman and several of his law colleagues will launch a book to introduce Lev.

According to plan, the book will be launched during a special seminar dedicated to Lev on February 27 and February 28, 2007.

Since becoming an Indonesian observer in the 1950s, Lev published several books.

These include: "Islamic Courts in Indonesia" (University of California Press, 1972); "The Transition to Guided Democracy" (1966); "Law and Politics in Indonesia" (1990); "Legal Evolution and Political Authority in Indonesia" (2000); and "Colonial Law and the Genesis of the Indonesian State" (1985).

Fanny Febiana, Riky Ferdianto and Tities

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