Batik Diplomacy in Central Africa

BATAK CENTER FOR AFRICAN STUDIES -- Indonesian "Garuda" troops, who were deployed to the Central African Republic, distributed 2,000 batik shirts in two of Bangui's districts on Wednesday (13/04).

Lt. Col. Denden Sumarlin, commander of the Garuda contingent, said the batik distribution in the capital's M'poko and PK5 districts was part of their scheduled activities during their deployment.

"Through the [distribution of] batik shirts, we are introducing Indonesian batik to Africa, particularly, the Central African Republic [in our efforts to] gain respect from [and foster ties with] the Central African community," Denden said.

Batik shirts were first presented to the tribal elders, while locals were also entertained by musicians among the Indonesian contingent. Deden said the gesture has gained momentum and positive feedback from the local residents.

Garuda troops are typically deployed to conflict regions around the globe on UN peacekeeping missions.


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