Have fun, get angryCivil disobedience has an honourable history, and when the urgency and moral clarity cross a certain threshold, then I think that civil disobedience is quite understandable, and it has a role to play. And I expect that it will increase, no question about it.Al Gore
Although he's referring to climate change, Gore could well be referring to any number of causes, from global to local. Righting the wrongs of authoritarianism is a constant battle and democracy gives us the freedom to voice our opinions.
Mobilising the masses needs a spark, something that captures the imagination. Indonesia is lucky to have had the National Police chief detective Comr. Gen. Susno Duadji
. Under investigation by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) for his role in freeing up the $18 million deposit of oligarch Boedi Sampoerna frozen in the failed Bank Century, a wiretap recorded him mocking the KPK, likening it to a small lizard (cicak
) fighting a crocodile (buana
) - the police.
Hence the 'logo' to the left. Millions have sided with the KPK; one million alone have signed on to a Facebook group
supporting the two deputy chairmen of the KPK, Chandra M. Hamzah and Bibit Samad Rianto
, who are generally believed to be the victims of a frame up organised with the connivance of the police and court mafia
with rich corrupt businessmen.
So the rakyat
is at long last finding its voice siding with the underdogs. Prita Mulyasari
who exercised her right to send friends an email outlining the maltreatment she received from Omni Hospital is still on trial for defamation, yet has support from most sectors of society.
There are many such cases. From the assassination of Munir to the refugees of the Sidorajo mudflow, victims have the implicit support of the public, yet until now righteous anger has done little to assuage their suffering. Perhaps now, thanks to we little lizards, their relief is on the horizon, and that must frighten the 'guilty' parties, even if they feel no shame. For far too long Indonesia's political and business classes have not cared to listen, hiding behind their pompous self-regard and wilful disregard for others
beyond their circles.
It's not as if there hasn't always been widespread awareness of societal ills. However the fear of taking on the might of the monied classes has prevented previous mass social movements. Approaching the police, for example, can be both brutal and expensive, as an Amnesty report
issued in June this year made clear. Hopefully now they will realise that they are but the guardians of all sectors of society rather than those few who could afford to supplement their admittedly low incomes.
To be fair, it's not just the Indonesian police who appear to have operated within a "culture of impunity", immune to public criticism and complaints.
In the past four years, London's Metropolitan riot squad has received more than 5,000 complaint allegations
, mostly for "oppressive behaviour". However, only nine – less than 0.18% – were "substantiated" after an investigation by the force's complaints department.
In exposing these abuses and institutionalising reforms, there are hopes of equality before the law. Here in Indonesia, there are still expectations that SBY will exercise his presidential prerogative in this regard, but as yet we only have word of his intentions. Commissions of inquiry and committees are established
to make further investigations, the results of which are rarely aired.
The public has a right to answers and must continue to seek them. How they (we) do so from now on has vital implications for the future of demokrasi
. The danger of repression remains, not least if SBY should fear for his position which is perhaps not as secure as his popular mandate and government coalition might indicate. For example, a major coalition partner, the Golkar Party
, has already begun criticising SBY over his handling of the Bank Century affair
in the hopes that the public will side with it in the next round of elections just over four years hence.
The public is already wise to the fact that that legislators have been proven to be as corrupt percentage-wise as the police and court mafia. Tactically, therefore, it is important that civil protests remain not only peaceful but also politically non-partisan.
Humour is a wonderful weapon especially when your foes have little sense. I hope to see satire, street theatre, more murals
and comic strips
used in the fight for an equitable society.