While speaking at the opening of the Fourth Congress of Indonesian Diaspora on Saturday, former President Barack Obama lashed out at President Donald Trump for causing a “temporary absence of American leadership” with regards to climate change policy.
Obama was in Jakarta, where he grew up, with Michelle Obama and their daughters, Sasha and Malia. The former first family was on vacation in Indonesia when Obama spoke about the importance of the Paris Climate Agreement from which Donald Trump recently withdrew the United States.
“In Paris, we came together around the most ambitious agreement in history about climate change, an agreement that even with the temporary absence of American leadership, can still give our children a fighting chance.”
Leaders that signed the Paris Climate Agreement are still recovering from shock after President Donald Trump announced America’s withdrawal from the landmark collaborative decision. While speaking to the dignitaries gathered in Jakarta, Obama reaffirmed the importance of collaboration between countries to fight the “real challenges” the world is facing.
“The challenges of our times, whether it’s economic inequality, changing climate, terrorism, mass migration; these are reall challenges and we’re going to have to confront them together.”
As reported by the Daily Mail, Obama urged people to discard the information that is published in partisan newspapers, or shown on biased news networks. He also warned that social media was becoming a breeding ground for dangerous bigotry.
Barack Obama’s comments came in the wake of a recent scathing exchange on social media between Donald Trump and MSNBC Morning Joe hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough.
On Friday, Indonesian President Joko Widodo welcomed the Obamas to the Bogor Palace in West Java.
While in Indonesia, the Obama family visited local historical sites and temples, such as the Buddhist complex, Borobudur, and the Hindu temple of Prambanan.
The family was also spotted gushing down river rapids in rafts and spent time on the island of Bali.
Barack Obama is well-loved in Indonesia, where many locals still regard the former American president as one of their own. While his mother was married to an Indonesian man, Obama resided in the Asian country until the age of ten, after which they moved to Hawaii.
According to Obama, it was his “time here [that] made me cherish respect for people’s differences.”
As far as diplomatic relations go, Obama encouraged Indonesia to protect democratic systems and values, while promoting tolerance for human differences.
“The spirit of this country has to be one of tolerance. It’s enshrined in Indonesia’s constitution, it’s symbolized by mosques and temples and churches beside each other. That spirit is one of the defining things about Indonesia. It is one of the most important characteristics to set as an example for other Muslim countries around the world.”
Indonesia has in the past and present seen a sharp rise in radical Islam, rampant homophobic violence and was recently condemned by human rights groups for imprisoning a Christian man for alleged blasphemy.
[Featured Image by Dita Alangkara/AP Images]