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!


lawbugger said...

Disturbing, very.

Do we have to go back to the constitution? Surely there is another more "basic" justification to excoriate this sort of activity?

Rob Baiton said...

@ Lawbugger...

Yes, I think Indonesia has to decide once and for all whether it seriously believes that the concept of freedom of religion is protected, constitutionally. If it is then legislation (laws) and regulations can be drafted and enacted that enshrine these protections.

This would then take any role that quasi legal organisations have in determining "what is" and "what is not" acceptable.

If one was to separate the religious aspect out of this incident and make it one of simple law and order. Then, yes, the Indonesian criminal code can deal with the crimes that have been committed.

However, the point I was making is that for so long as the government talks about returning to the essence of the SKB or joint ministerial decision of 2008, then it is not reasonable to spin off the religious elements of these murders and make it a simple law and order issue of a criminal nature.

If you are suggesting that the "basic" here is that it is morally reprehensible to kill others, then, yes. Nevertheless, it is important that one of the driving motivating factors in this violence is the SKB that states Ahmadiyah is a heretical sect and must cease practicising its beliefs.

Therefore, one has the unsavoury situation where it is possible to argue that the government is in fact complicit in the violence despite protestations to the contrary.

lawbugger said...

Nevertheless, it is important that one of the driving motivating factors in this violence is the SKB that states Ahmadiyah is a heretical sect and must cease practicising its beliefs.

....perhaps you are right about the above but it cannot be proven unequivocally. There are many things that are forbidden and from time to time people take it on themselves to do something about it. This case is extreme to say the least, yet I see it more as, for want of a better word, a result of "immaturity" and a maniacical attempt by a few to mobilize this weakness in the few for some purpose. I find it hard to believe that the basis is a manifestation of religious hatred fomented or abetted by the SKB. It is more than isolated for sure, but not symptomatic (yet?) of this country as a whole

We all know motorbike thieves have been burned to death in this same region