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Jakarta post

by Jennie S. Bev

It’s mind-boggling that the National Police have claimed they are one of the best police forces in the world in tackling terrorism and that the government has claimed it is an administration that governs a pluralistic country. Their claims are far from factual conditions. Otherwise many people wouldn’t be puzzled.

The Islam Defenders Front’s (FPI) acts of terror are rampant and have reached a point where religious minorities, including both non-Muslims and Muslims, have no place to stand and breathe. Recently, the places of worship and private residences of the Ahmadiyya Muslim sect have been ransacked, destroyed and burned. People have been abused physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Nothing the FPI does projects an image of peace, which is what Islam stands for. The FPI are more than religious extremists. And the Indonesian government has not acted properly to ensure they no longer perform acts of terrorism in the future.

The government must ensure that future acts of terrorism are eliminated, including those that may be perpetrated by the FPI on any civilian and any minority group. Only in this way could the country be called an integrated and pluralistic nation. Today, Indonesia is merely a segregated pluralistic country, or in other words, it looks pluralistic on the surface only.

To this day, a joint ministerial decree issued in 2008 banning Ahmadiyya members from practicing their faith in public or spreading its beliefs is still in force. In 2005, the MUI (Indonesian Ulema Council) also issued an edict that said Ahmadiyya was heterical and blamesphemous.

Let me humbly remind the government that it allegedly “condoned” those brutal acts legally (through the joint decree) and morally (through the MUI’s edict). It might be true that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono previously expressed his sympathy to victims and asked the police to maintain security.

However, by upholding the joint ministerial decree, the government became the perpetrator of so-called “legalized persecution.” It violated the 1945 Constitution (the right to worship), principles of democracy (the protection of minorities) and principles of human rights.

Of course, the government has not signed the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Otherwise, Indonesia would have to ratify and enforce the statute. Upon enforcement, crimes against humanity could be brought to ICC at The Hague in The Netherlands.

The Rome Statute defines crimes against humanity as:

Offenses that constitute a serious attack on human dignity or cause grave humiliation to one or more human beings.

Crimes against humanity are not isolated or sporadic events, but are part of a government policy (although the perpetrators need not identify themselves with this policy) or are part of a wide practice of atrocities tolerated or condoned by a government or a de facto authority.

Murder, extermination, torture, rape, political, racial, or religious persecution and other inhumane acts may reach the threshold of crimes against humanity only if they are part of a widespread or systematic practice.

Let me underscore this phrase: the wide practice of atrocities tolerated or condoned by a government or a de facto authority. Not performing sufficient measures to prevent attacks by the FPI falls under this definition.

At this point, we need to keep pressuring the government and Yudhoyono to use their consciences, maintain security and respect the Indonesian people’s sense of justice. International human rights watchdog organizations are working hard to pressure the government. And we, the people, are now waiting anxiously for a tipping point.

The “tipping point” is a theory popularized by Malcolm Gladwell, which refers to the moment of critical mass, threshold or a boiling point. Certain individuals or situations may trigger the boiling point for sociological change.

Considering the current state of frustration with and distrust of government by concerned citizens, it is not an exaggeration to predict that a tipping point for Indonesia is near. Such an occurrence might manifest itself in various forms, among which include the possibility of a revolution.

A revolution itself is a fundamental change in power that takes place in a short period of time. How and when it will take place is a big question mark.

It is simply a historical fact that change occurs periodically. Indonesia has endured far too long and is ripe for a major change where every citizen is equally protected. Things are boiling now and the tipping point is near.[]

The Jakarta Post, October 7, 2010

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