Environmentalist Rockers Navicula, Bali's 'Green Grunge Gentlemen'

Thankfully, Indonesian band Navicula's nickname "the green grunge gentlemen" refers only to their environmental nature and not to a type of radioactive dirt.

They are one of Indonesia's most successful rock bands, having just returned home to their island of Bali after touring the U.S. and Australia. Their name "Navicula" refers to a type of sea algae that glows in the dark and is shaped like a boat.

It's a name that seems to have been carefully chosen to illustrate the band's goal to travel around the globe raising environmental awareness through music. Speaking to PortalKBR/Asia Calling, Navicula's drummer Gembul explains the symbolism. "With this small ship, we can maybe go around the world. And its color is golden, which is valuable, so that's our philosophy."

Explaining that the band's inspiration has always been social and political issues, he adds that "everything is hectic in the world today. You don't know what's a priority anymore. We think that even if you want do a small thing honestly and passionately to make the world better, just do it. Don't waste your time being a parasite."

Navicula, who was nominated Environmental Ambassadors of Bali by the local government, act according to their own maxim. Lead singer Robi teaches organic farming in school and says he likes bringing up those issues as inspiration for the band but also to do his part in changing the world. "It's kind of like being a journalist but using music as a media," he says.

Among the band's songs is "Metropolutan," about being trapped in the polluted air of the Indonesian capital Jakarta, a city that get less than 30 days of clean air per year, Asia Calling reports.

They also sing about the last 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild in an angry "Harimau! Harimau!":

As for "Orangutan," which is available for free download, Navicula wrote the song "to encourage people to do more in orangutan conservation, to protect this endangered species," the band explains on YouTube. In English, the lyrics read, "The orangutan is crazy because man is crazy. Not at home in the city, he misses its habitat, in the jungle."

In 2012, Navicula, who also battled Indonesia's palm oil industry, successfully launched a Kickstarter campaign to help them tour over 2,000 kilometers from Bali to Kalimantan, on the Borneo Island, to join Greenpeace activists campaigning against logging. "It's kind of sad. Rainforests are not only for Indonesia or Borneo. The whole world depends on them," the band tells Asia Calling. Deforestation "is like a worldwide suicide," they add.

The band's latest album came out in November 2012. It is called Kami No Mori, which means "The Forest of Gods," and serves as the documentary soundtrack for their Greenpeace tour.

"We're not angels. We're just trying to do something that makes people realize what needs to be done so we can still live in this world."

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Paying tribute to the victims of the attack in Kongsberg

Terje Bendiksby/NTB Scanpix/ZUMA
Carl-Johan Karlsson

The bow-and-arrow murder of five people in the small Norwegian city of Kongsberg this week was particularly chilling for the primitive choice of weapon. And police are now saying the attack Wednesday night is likely to be labeled an act of terrorism.

Still, even though the suspect is a Danish-born convert to Islam, police are still determining the motive. Espen Andersen Bråthen, a 37-year-old Danish national, is previously known to the police, both for reports of radicalization, as well as erratic behavior unrelated to religion.

Indeed, it remains unclear whether religious beliefs were behind the killings. In an interview with Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, police attorney Ann Iren Svane Mathiassens said Bråthen has already confessed to the crimes, giving a detailed account of the events during a three-hour interrogation on Thursday, but motives are yet to be determined.

Investigated as terrorism 

Regardless, the murders are likely to be labeled an act of terror – mainly as the victims appear to have been randomly chosen, and were killed both in public places and inside their homes.

Mathiassens also said Bråthen will undergo a comprehensive forensic psychiatric examination, which is also a central aspect of the ongoing investigation, according to a police press conference on Friday afternoon. Bråthen will be held in custody for at least four weeks, two of which will be in isolation, and will according to a police spokesperson be moved to a psychiatric unit as soon as possible.

Witnesses have since described him as unstable and a loner.

Police received reports last year concerning potential radicalization. In 2017, Bråthen published two videos on Youtube, one in English and one in Norwegian, announcing that he's now a Muslim and describing himself as a "messenger." The year prior, he made several visits to the city's only mosque, where he said he'd received a message from above that he wished to share with the world.

Previous criminal history 

In 2012, he was convicted of aggravated theft and drug offenses, and in May last year, a restraining order was issued after Bråthen entered his parents house with a revolver, threatening to kill his father.

The mosque's chairman Oussama Tlili remembers Bråthen's first visit well, as it's rare to meet Scandinavian converts. Still, he didn't believe there was any danger and saw no reason to notify the police. Tlili's impression was rather that the man was unwell mentally, and needed help.

According to a former neighbor, Bråthen often acted erratically. During the two years she lived in the house next to him — only 50 meters from the grocery store where the attacks began — the man several times barked at her like a dog, threw trash in the streets to then pick it up, and spouted racist comments to her friend. Several other witnesses have since described him as unstable and a loner.

The man used a bow and arrow to carry the attack

Haykon Mosvold Larsen/NTB Scanpix/ZUMA

Police criticized

Norway, with one of the world's lowest crime rates, is still shaken from the attack — and also questioning what allowed the killer to hunt down and kill even after police were on the scene.

The first reports came around 6 p.m. on Wednesday that a man armed with bow and arrow was shooting inside a grocery store. Only minutes after, the police spotted the suspect; he fired several times against the patrol and then disappeared while reinforcements arrived.

The attack has also fueled a long-existing debate over whether Norwegian police should carry firearms

In the more than 30 minutes that followed before the arrest, four women and one man were killed by arrows and two other weapons — though police have yet to disclose the other arms, daily Aftenposten reports. The sleepy city's 27,000 inhabitants are left wondering how the man managed to evade a full 22 police patrols, and why reports of his radicalization weren't taken more seriously.

With five people killed and three more injured, Wednesday's killing spree is the worst attack in Norway since far-right extremist Anders Breivik massacred 77 people on the island of Utøya a decade ago.

Unarmed cops

As questions mount over the police response to the attack, with reports suggesting all five people died after law enforcement made first contact with the suspect, local police have said it's willing to submit the information needed to the Bureau of Investigation to start a probe into their conduct. Police confirmed they had fired warning shots in connection to the arrest which, under Norwegian law, often already provides a basis for an assessment.

Wednesday's bloodbath has also fueled a long-existing debate over whether Norwegian police should carry firearms — the small country being one of only 19 globally where law enforcement officers are typically unarmed, though may have access to guns and rifles in certain circumstances.

Magnus Ranstorp, a terrorism expert and professor at the Swedish Defence University, noted that police in similar neighboring countries like Sweden and Denmark carry firearms. "I struggle to understand why Norwegian police are not armed all the time," Ranstorp told Norwegian daily VG. "The lesson from Utøya is that the police must react quickly and directly respond to a perpetrator during a life-threatening incident."

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