A Round Up
No, I'm not referring to the number of Bintangs consumed in our respective homes by Indcoup
and yours truly over the current festive season.
The end of Ramadhan is traditionally a slow news period. We don't get a paper edition of the Jakarta Post until tomorrow; no doubt it will have a picture of a deserted Jalan Thamrin as well as a photo of long lines of visitors to the SBY country pad
. And no, I didn't bother to go this year.
The paper's editorial
on the eve of Idul Fitri is always a plea for introspection and a sense of renewal.No matter how unlikely, it is our hope that the spirit imbued by Ramadhan and Idul Fitri will be sustained. Goodness transcends all religions, hence the real meaning of Idul Fitri as something we can all comprehend irrespective of our faith.
This nation needs the kind of spirit that can generate peace, brotherhood and generosity. With so many needy, and hatred becoming the norm rather than the exception, a reminder of humanity is always welcome.
Nice words, but of little value to the "militant, misguided few" who yesterday morning set off a bomb in Ambon
near a church, naturally.
No one was "wounded", so on this slow news day I thought it useful to catch up on the sectarian strife that plagues Indonesia.
As so often, the estimable Swanker
in Sydney offers links that we few local bloggers seem to overlook.
If you would like to protest these outrageous murders, you can send a polite letter to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. His contact information is located here.
- Dogpundit has pictures of the poor victims. (Warning: very graphic)
On December 19-20 2001, the Indonesian Government, led by Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare Mr. Jusuf Kalla
- The on-again, off-again, ethnic feud between Christians and Muslims in the Poso district is starting to flare again. Only recently, many were killed in a bomb blast in Tentena.
(from South Sulawesi and now the VP), convened and mediated a meeting between the two warring parties in Poso. After two days of intense heart-to-heart talks, the two parties agreed to end their conflict and work together to maintain peace in Poso, Central Sulawesi, a resolve encapsulated in their joint declaration known as the 10-point "Malino Declaration"
Unfortunately, peace has been intermittent since with way over 100 violations of the Accord, as this page
makes clear.Unfortunately, the security operation involving almost 4000 police and military troops and using almost Rp 9 billion of the Poso District budget has failed to provide a guarantee of safety to the community. The cost of the operation does not include irregular fees and the ebony trade openly conducted in the field by the police and military.
Apart from failing to provide a sense of safety, the police and military have in many cases failed to establish trust with the two communities in Poso; Muslims and Christians. Of the 92 criminal cases in Poso in 2003, including those relating to riots, only 7 cases proceeded to prosecution and court trial.
During 2003 there were many cases of violence, including 10 mysterious shootings and 8 bombings. At the same time, from 2002-2004 55 people have died and 114 have been wounded as the result of violence in the form of torture and other cruel and inhumane behaviour. In several cases it has been evident that the police and the military have been the ones perpetrating violence against the community in the form of beatings, shootings, looting and theft, rape and wrongful arrest.
On the other hand, some parties - like the police, military and Poso District government - have profited from the conflict. The deployment of police and military to Poso under various operations should have been able to answer the needs of the community for safety, protection of right to life, right to a living, customary rights and the right to legal equality. But instead what has occurred has been a consolidation of forces and the ?legal umbrella? for the police and military in Poso.
Several incidents that occurred in 2004 reflected the unprofessional conduct and lack of a conflict resolution concept on the part of the state, particularly the security forces and the local government. This failure was acknowledged by the Assistant Commander of Poso Police, Rudy Trenggono, Central Sulawesi, who stated that the police could not handle the violence (mysterious shootings) in Poso because of the difficult terrain.
The roots of sectarianism here lie in the dogmatic state philosophy, Pancasila
, encouraged first by Sukarno as a means of forging Indonesian nationalism and then enshrined by Suharto's New Order to boost his authoritarian rule.
It is based on five principles:
... some conservative Muslims have criticized Pancasila for being too secular and inclusive, diluting the uniqueness of Islam by placing man-made precepts at a higher level than the Qur'an. For example, the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terror group is the latest anti-Pancasila manifestation.
- Belief in the one and only God
- Just and civilized humanity
- The unity of Indonesia
- Democracy guided by the inner wisdom in the unanimity arising out of deliberations amongst representatives (i.e.consensus)
- Social justice for the whole of the people of Indonesia
I agree with the notion that Pancasila is too inclusive. It denies differences of opinion; hence sectarian conflicts arise as different communities strive to be the mightiest, with the covert support of political and miltary backers seeking to increase their economic power.
However, there is only one of the five pillars erected on shifting sands, and that is the first. If Indonesian society were ready to accept that religious and spiritual beliefs are inherently a personal matter and should be respected, then the other precepts would be that much easier to achieve.