07 February 2011
What the Indonesian Government Really Means...
Religious freedom in its most basic essence, at least as I see it, is the idea that people are free to worship whatever they want and to be free from interference from others as they practice those beliefs. So, when Indonesia talks about religious freedom and a constitutionally guaranteed right to religious freedom is it really talking about this kind of pluralism or is it merely lip service and empty rhetoric? It is, as the past two days have shown, lip service and rhetoric. The government under SBY (Silly Bloody Yudhoyono or is that Stupid Buffalo Yudhoyono? I would go with the first because the second is a bad rap for all those good hard-working buffaloes out there making the lives of ordinary Indonesians better!).
The attack on the Ahmadiyah sect yesterday in Cikeusik in Banten was an example of murderous mob violence and the impotence of Indonesian law enforcement agencies to deal with this sort of extreme violence. The video is circulating on YouTube of the attack. And, apparently YLBHI has a full 30-minute version of the attack as it unfolds. The fact that a video exists is testament to one of two things: the pre-meditated planning that was involved that someone thought it necessary to videotape the incident for future reference or the nature of the communities in which we live that technology is cheap and everywhere and citizen journalism is but a mobile phone away.
SBY in his usual non-committal way whilst wearing a very serious face has suggested that there needs to be an investigation into the attack. The courageous leader then went on to say steps should be taken to prosecute anyone found to have violated the law. Uh huh! Mr. President, three men have been brutally murdered, these murders have been captured on video, so it is fair to say that numerous laws have been broken and there is video evidence of who was involved. Maybe your next step should be to get the FPI-affiliated National Police Chief you appointed to appoint Habib Rizieq to lead that there investigation! Incompetence breeds incompetence and unfortunately your administration is rife with incompetence. Even more unfortunate is that incompetence starts at the very top.
Let's face it, your first step has been to push the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, Djoko Suyanto (aka the "Joke") to be your point man on the government's response to this. Sadly, his sum total contribution has been to remind Ahmadis to respect a joint ministerial decision that banned them from practicing their beliefs. Simply, the government is spinning this tragedy as one that could have been avoided if the Ahmadis would just allow the government to run roughshod over their constitutionally rights.
To be fair, the Joke did start off with saying that the government condemns the violence. Yet, the rest of the statement clearly shows that the government is looking to cast blame not on a mob intent on mayhem and murder but a small band of 25 followers of a sect that is of negligible threat to the broader practice of Islam in Indonesia.
But one has to question the method to the madness that is the SBY administration. Julian Aldrin Pasha, the SBY spokesman (hell of a job that one; chief spin doctor for a fraud), has said that the president has instructed the National Police Chief, Gen. Timur Pradopo, and the Religious Affairs Minister, Surydarma Ali, to head out to the site of the violence and explain to the public what went on and why. It is a no-brainer to work out where the government is going on this one, isn't it?
Perhaps Timur can explain how "embracing" FPI is beneficial to religious tolerance in Indonesia while Ali can busy himself with explaining how a small sect of limited followers can develop into a threat that is obviously destined to cause fractures in the unity of the Republic.
Perhaps it is time for SBY to stop worrying about protesters bringing buffalo to demonstrations and start working like a buffalo himself. Sadly, the people of Indonesia have been subject to a fraud of huge proportions since 2004.
The reality is that 2014 cannot come soon enough!