Catatan: Sirna

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Give no shit, take no bullshit and live your life [2016:EO]

Sebelum pindah ke Bangladesh, E sempat berkata “Jangan khawatir tentang bahasa yang digunakan untuk berkomunikasi, sebagian besar dari mereka berbicara bahasa Inggris dan kamu bisa berkawan dengan orang setempat dengan mudah,” Sayangnya, pernyataan tersebut tidak begitu tepat karena saya selalu mengalami miscommunication baik dengan supir, asistan rumah tangga atau karyawan pusat kebugaran but well what do you expect jika saya berkomunikasi dengan mereka, SD pun mereka belum tentu lulus.Saya sempat berpikir ‘Mungkin berbeda cerita jika saya bekerja, pasti saya akan berinteraksi dengan orang-orang yang berpendidikan dengan pengalaman internasional’. Dan jujur saja, hal ini membuat saya cukup frustrasi beberapa bulan pertama di sini. Namun seiring berjalannya waktu, saya mulai berkenalan dengan orang-orang lokal dengan berbagai background. Surprisingly, mereka sangat ‘bright’ and fun. Sesekali waktu, kami mengundang mereka untuk makan malam atau makan siang di rumah kami atau sebaliknya, berbicara ngalor ngidul mulai dari musik, keluarga, gaya hidup sampai politik. Kami bisa tertawa terbahak-bahak atau menjadi sangat serius. Pertemanan dengan mereka membuat Dhaka menjadi tempat yang lebih “liveable”.

Namun beberapa hari yang lalu, kami dikejutkan dengan sebuah berita. Seorang kawan dikabarkan menghilang, menghilang seperti Wiji Thukul atau Petrus Bima Anugrah. Entah, dia akan berakhir seperti Andi Arif atau Mas Nezar Patria kembali dengan selamat atau justru seperti Wiji Thukul yang sampai hari ini masih hilang atau malah seperti Gilang yang ditemukan tewas dengan luka tembak. Entahlah! Kami tidak tahu. Berbagai spekulasi dan teori bermunculan mengingat dia ‘hanya’ seorang akademisi. Kenapa dia? Pesan apa yang ingin disampaikan pelaku? Dan siapa pelaku? Sesaat, saya teringat dengan film Daniel Pearl dan menjadi ketakutan setengah mati. Jika pelakunya sama seperti kasus Pearl, bagaimana kalau kemudian kami? Apalagi mengingat sudah lama tak ada kejadian mengerikan di sini. Akh, tidak mungkin sepertinya. Begitu pikir saya. Saya pun iseng untuk melihat halaman Facebooknya, sesekali akun tersebut nampak online pada dua hari pertama sejak dia diberitakan hilang. Bagi saya, hal tersebut mengkonfirmasi siapa kira-kira pelakunya. Dari sana, saya merasa sedikit lega, kiranya kami aman. Tapi tetap saja, saya merasa sedikit kurang nyaman. Bagaimana tidak? Ini bukan pertama kali, kawan kami menghilang tiba-tiba.

Yang pertama hilang tahun lalu dan hingga hari ini tak ada kabar berita tentang dirinya. Yang kedua, entahlah. Jujur saja, saya sangat sedih karena dia cukup dekat dengan kami. Dia kerap datang untuk makan malam dengan hidangan ayam betutu dan juga urap, saya pun sering menyuguhinya risoles dan dadar gulung jika dia datang pagi atau sore untuk sekedar berbincang. Selain itu, kami sama-sama penggemar Eminem. Terakhir dia datang, dia memakai topi dengan logo E yang dia beli dari konser Eminem di Australia beberapa tahun lalu dan menunjukkan pada saya. Dia pun memberi saya dua buah clutch untuk hadiah ulang tahun. “Akh kawan, semoga kau baik-baik saja. Jika kau kembali, pergilah sejauh mungkin. Saya yakin kawan-kawanmu akan membantumu memulai kehidupan yang baru. Itupun kalau kau mau.”

Sebenarnya kasus penghilangan paksa bukan merupakan hal yang baru di Bangladesh. Di tahun 2016, 90 orang telah dinyatakan hilang; sedangkan dalam lima bulan pertama di tahun 2017, 48 orang telah dinyatakan menghilang secara tiba-tiba. Menurut laporan sejumlah media, ada kemungkinan mereka disiksa selama dalam tahanan. Ini sungguh mengerikan.

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Notes: A Conscious Consumer 

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Those make me horny! [2013: Oktofani]

I don’t know exactly how many clothes I have been purchasing in these last ten years. It must be hundreds or could have been thousands. And where are those clothes now? Most of them have been donated, given out or thrown away. Why? Those were either already washed out, destroyed or simply out of trend. Well you know…I was one of those consumers who “see now, buys now” but I have been trying to change to be a conscious consumer in the past few years now. Why? Here is my story
Back in 2011, I had an interesting conversation with the domestic assistant who worked in my apartment in Jakarta. She told me that she used to work in a garment factory. She also mentioned about her workload, about her salary as well as a heartbreaking incident story where she was pregnant but unfortunately she had a miscarriage when she worked over-time in the factory. She lost her baby. I am not sure whether it was work-related or not. Since then, she decided to leave her job in the garment factory and worked as a domestic assistant in South Jakarta.

A few months later, I went to Canada for Christmas. I went for Christmas shopping in several shops including GAP, Zara and Timberland. As I was checking on the price tag, I found out that those products are made in Indonesia and the price was high. I must say that I was slightly shocked. Why? It was because I remembered my conversation with the domestic assistant of mine. “Wow! This is crazy! Why would I purchase this while the labour is not getting paid fairly,” So I walked away and entered other shops? Again, I found many apparels is made in Indonesia. I then decided to look on the Internet.

As I looked on the internet, apparently many garment and footwear products which are distributed and sold in North America are made in Indonesia or China. Although it got me proud to see those products are made in Indonesia, it somehow got me upset because many labours who made these products only earning peanuts. I understand that other costs are also added but still, it got me sad. I decided to not purchase any that time.

Those events actually change the way I consume garment products.
Do I stop buying clothes? Not yet!
So how? I start to buy less and less.
Why? It is because I don’t need it. If I feel that I want or need new clothes, I tend to have it made. At least, I know who makes my clothes and pay accordingly. Alternatively, I will get clothes from local designers who are transparent about its supply chain. Or sometimes, I purchase pre-loved collection which is still pristine. Otherwise, I only purchase new clothes in a couple of occasion in one year. Not just that, I am also pretty picky about the brand. I tend to look for information regarding how ethical the company is. Although I must admit that we cannot really trust those report 100%. Most importantly, I refuse to pay at full price. Why? If a brand can sell their products with 70% discount, it means that a brand still makes a profit from that price and I don’t want to get ripped off 🙂. Hence, it is very important for me to keep myself fit so I don’t have to purchase new clothes simply because it does not fit me any longer.

Other than that, these days, if I go out purchasing clothes, it must be for my seven months old baby boy. Yet, I don’t purchase it simply because it looks cute so I want to buy many but simply as we need it. For me, this is my way to train myself to be a conscious customer. It is not only good for the environment but also for my saving. As you can imagine, how much money I have been spending on clothes which are eventually not being worn and forgotten or thrown away.

In the end, I believe that the way the consumers consume garment products can eventually force the company to be more ethical in producing their products where it should be good for the society as well as the environment.

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Indonesia: Death Row and Drug World

Indonesia will soon make another international headline as the Attorney General Office has been preparing the execution of drug convicts after executing 14 drug convicts last year. Despite the fact AGO has not published the names and the dates,  Beritasatu TV has reported the names of nine drug convicts who would be executed within weeks.

As many of you might be aware that under President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration, the Indonesia government has declared war on drugs. President Jokowi stated that he refuses to grant any presidential clemency requested by drug convicts. As a result, any drug convicts, who have been sentenced to death by the court, would be executed. The government believe that capital punishment would give a deterrent impact and eventually stop drug trafficking in Indonesia. Nevertheless, this step has triggered controversy both in the national and international level.

Many argue that capital punishment is not the answer to the drug problem in the country and it is considered against human right. The government ignores the noise and carries the punishment anyway. As a sovereign state, Indonesia has its rules and regulations which could be implemented. The only way to stop capital punishment is by urging the government to revoke the capital punishment from the regulation. Yet, as I listened to the national radio program, many people actually also support the government decision to execute the drug convicts to tackle the drug problem because it is worrying.

Interestingly enough, some media reported how inhumane Indonesian government is because the government of Indonesia did not give notification about their execution to the convicts as well as the family. Is it true? I doubt it. Hence, it got me wondering “If some want to defend the drug dealers and trafficker from being executed, what do we really know about those drugs convicts? Should we have sympathy toward them?” I do not know.

So last month, I came across to two books titled “Hotel K: The Shocking Inside Story of Bali’s Notorious Jail” and “Snowing in Bali: The Incredible Inside Account of Bali’s Hidden Drug World” at a bookstore in Ngurah Rai Airport Bali. I found the title and cover very interesting. I read the blurb. It seems to be juicy, it is about crimes, drugs, sex and politics in Indonesia. I decided to buy two of them.

Yet, I was actually bit sceptical because of this book was part of a trilogy written by Australian author Kathryn Bonella who wrote “No More Tomorrows Schapelle Corby“. You might wonder “And so?

Well, Schapelle Corby was a convicted drug runner, who was found guilty of smuggling 4.2 kg of marijuana into Bali in 2004.  Denpasar District Court sentenced Corby 20 years imprisonment on May 2005. Since then, she has consistently claimed that she was innocent and fought for her release by filing appeals, judicial reviews as well as request for presidential clemency. On March 2010, she filed presidential clemency claiming that she has been suffering from mental illness. She eventually won the presidential pardon under the administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on February 2012. She was then released on February 2014 but must remain in Indonesia to July 2017.

The thing is rumour has it that the release of Corby was actually part of government deal whereby the SBY government had struck a deal with the Australian government to extradite an Indonesian fugitive Adrian Kiki Ariawan, a graft convict who fled to Australia in 2003. However, former Vice Minister of Law and Human Rights Denny Indrayana denied that the extradition of Adrian Kiki Ariawan had something to do with the release of Schapelle Corby.

Unfortunately, I have a conspiratorial mind and I was suspicious. I said to myself, perhaps these books are actually forms of pressure to the Indonesian government to release Corby. Is it possible? But who is Corby? How important she is?  Was she a mule or a horse? Was she really a victim? Or did she play a victim? Is it a way for a convict drug dealer to escaping heavy punishment by claiming that they are suffering from mental illness?

And by the way, one of her lawyers was Hotman Paris. How much did she pay him? Is she coming from a filthy rich family? How could she afford him? Where is the money coming from? Or is this book just a form of comprehensive criticism to the Indonesian justice system?

I must say that it is hard to tell. Everyone has their own story. Everyone has their own agenda. We cannot just buy her stories through media, including books. Right?

So I began to read these books to find the answers and the red line. Instead of finding the answers, I actually start to have more questions. Yet, I must say that these books are eye-opening and easy to read for non-English speaker. If you want to know further, you can check my upcoming post on “Hotel K: The Shocking Inside Story of Bali’s Notorious Jail” and “Snowing in Bali: The Incredible Inside Account of Bali’s Hidden Drug World“‘s review.

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Indonesia: Negara Boneka dan Aliran Dana

Sejak munculnya Support Group and Resource Center on Sexuality Studies (SGRC) di Universitas Indonesia, isu Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transexual (LGBT) jadi salah satu hot topic di masyarakat Indonesia. Berbagai pihak mengeluar pendapatnya masing-masing mulai dari pejabat negara, politisi, aktivis sampai organisasi masyarakat dengan berbagai sudut pandang. Berita tentang adanya ‘aliran dana’ dari Barat untuk kelompok LGBT membuat heboh berbagai kalangan yang kurang piknik. “Kok ya baru heboh sekarang? Selama ini kemana aja? Oh pasti jarang baca laporan organisasi ya. Well, pantes! Ngana pikir organisasi enggak butuh dana dukungan?!

Lagipula, so what?! Toh dana tersebut digunakan untuk mengedukasi masyarakat termasuk pemahaman akan hal sipil masyarakat, kesehatan reproduksi, HIV/AIDS Prevention dan juga kesetaraan gender. Kan bego banget kalau ada pihak yang meminta aliran dana untuk mengedukasi masyarakat tersebut dihentikan. It’s 2016 buddy!

Pertanyaannya sekarang adalah apakah kita pernah mempertanyakan sumber dana dari kelompok garis geras dan fundamentalis yang ada di Indonesia? Apakah mereka pernah mengeluarkan laporan akhir tahun tentang kegiataan dan pendanaan mereka padahal sekarang eranya keterbukaan informasi? Pernah enggak sih kepikiran kalau mereka mungkin mendapat dana dari Timur-Tengah termasuk Saudi untuk melakukan kegiatan mereka? Lalu, apakah ada yang juga mempertanyakan dan membahas secara blak-bakan kenapa tiba-tiba ada konflik antara Sunni, Syiah dan Ahmadiyah di Indonesia padahal sebelumnya adem ayem. Kalau pun ada sektarian konflik biasanya antar agama. Lalu kenapa trendnya berbeda?

Sebagaimana kita tahu, 85 persen (dari 250 juta jiwa) penduduk Indonesia adalah umat Muslim. Hal ini menjadikan Indonesia sebagai tempat yang empuk untuk perebutan pengaruh politik atas dua Mazhab Islam Sunni dan Syiah. Apalagi hubungan Saudi dan Iran akhir-akhir kian memanas (You can find it in the Internet. It is googleable!)

Nah dulu, waktu saya sering liputan tentang kekerasan terhadap kelompok minoritas, saya bertanya pada salah satu cendekiawan Muslim, mengapa hal ini bisa terjadi? Sesama umat Islam tetapi saling membunuh, sedangkan dulu tidak seperti itu? Tentu kita masih ingat tentang kejadian Cikeusik di tahun 2011 dan kekerasan terhadap warga Syiah di Sampang tahun 2012.

Bapak tersebut kemudian menjelaskan bahwa kelompok garis keras tersebut mendapatkan aliran dana dari Saudi untuk berbagai kegiatan, termasuk melakukan kekerasan terhadap kelompok minoritas. Hal itu bukan semata dilakukan karena mereka psikopat selo tetapi akibat dari pengaruh Mazhab Islam di Indonesia antara kubu Sunni (Saudi) dan Syiah (Iran). Sangat masuk akal menurut saya. Sayangnya, si Bapak enggak memiliki bukti tertulis tentang hal tersebut.

Meskipun laju perekonomian Indonesia terus meningkat tetapi kesenjangan sosial pun terus melebar. Semakin banyak masyarakat lapar dan bodoh karena miskin dan tidak berpendidikan. Akhirnya, segelintir kelompok masyarakt tersebut gampang diiming-imingi janji surga dan nasi bungkus untuk melakukan tindak kekerasan terhadap orang lain.

Saya pun jadi ingat pada salah satu percakapan saya dengan seorang anak berusia 17 tahun di Pengadilan Cibinong, saya tanya kenapa ikut merusak masjid Ahmadiyah. Dia mengatakan pada saya bahwa dia hanya ikut-ikut saja karena ramai-ramai, padahal dia enggak tahu kenapa mereka merusak masjid Ahmadiyah. Lagipula toh bisa masuk surga, capek hidup susah terus. Saya miris mendengarnya.

Well, Iya kalau surga ada. Kalau enggak ada? Udah hidup susah di bumi, surga nggak ada lagi. Rugi bandar Bung! I mean, some greedy people are using religion to manipulate people to fight against each other simply to gain power and stay rich without making their own hand dirty? That is so bloody disgusting!

Well, menurut saya (menurut pendapat saya pribadi lho ya), kalau tren konflik Sunni-Syiah kini dialihkan ke kelompok yang lebih minoritas lagi LGBT karena mereka tidak hanya dari satu kelompok agama tertentu tapi berbagai macam, lagipula negara seperti Iran pun juga memberikan hukuman mati ke kelompok LGBT. Toh orang-orang religius (dari Islam, Kristen, Katholik dan lain-lain) tersebut nanti akan menginterpretasikan ayat dari kitab suci masing-masing. Kan lebih enak tuh?! Kroyokan. Lumayankan kelompok garis keras beserta politisi kampret yang pada cari proyek bisa dapet aliran dana dari Saudi, perut kenyang dan masuk surga lagi? Salah satunya anggota DPD yang sudah ngeblok saya di Twitter. Sekali lagi, iya KALAU surga dan neraka memang ada! Kalau enggak, gimana?!

Ingat ya, konon kabarnya ibu anggota DPD satu “main-main” sama anggota polisi yang katanya suami orang. Kemudian doi yang dulunya enggak suka sama kelompoknya habib, eh sekarang jadi BFF mereka bahkan doi sampai merubah penampilannya. Sebagai politisi di negara dengan tingkat kesenjangan sosial yang tinggi, doi selalu memainkan isu moralitas untuk mencari dukungan dari masyarakat. Ya, ketimbang ngeluarin duit banyak untuk proper education, it’s easier but not necessarily better for the recipient  kalau mereka dikasih janji surga aja toh.

Lagipula, isu moralitas itu enak dijadikan bisnis apalagi doi adalah seorang saudagar. Masak iya isu moralitas untuk melindungi masyarakat kayak udah paling bener aja?! Taik kucinglah itu! Pokoknya yang dilarang di kitab suci, dijadiin bisnis. Tentu saja salah satu duitnya dari onta-onta itu. Coba dia enggak ke Petamburan kalau itu, mungkin ceritanya beda.

“Lalu apa hubungannya aliran dana Timur-Tengah, kelompok garis keras dan LGBT?”

Well… sebagaimana kita tahu bahwa kelompok garis keras telah mengeluarkan pernyataan dengan nada mengancam dan menjijikan. Ancaman yang disebarkan melalui surat dan beredar di internet. Lebih lucunya, ancaman tersebut enggak mendapatkan respon dari pihak berwajib. Yang ada malah politisi kampret yang suka cari proyek pun berwacana untuk membuat undang-undang anti-LGBT.

Ntar mereka mungkin bilang, “Okay kita enggak akan sahkan UU Anti-LGBT, tapi ada fulusnya ye!” Sama halnya kayak UU Anti Alkohol. Lumayankan dapat duit dari sana-sini, dari brands dapet, dari pemerintah asing pun dapet. Kalau enggak percaya, main deh ke Senayan. Pasang kuping lebar-lebar!

Pertanyaan saya adalah sampai kapan Indonesia mau dijadikan sebagai tempat perebutan pengaruh kekuasaan negara-negara kaya di dunia? Sampai kapan Indonesia mau dijadikan sebagai negara boneka?

Sebagaimana kita tahu bahwa harga minyak dunia sekarang anjlok dari 145 USD per barrel menjadi 32 USD per barrel. Negara-negara penghasil minyak pun sedang pontang-panting dibuatnya. Kenapa? Karena mau enggak mau mereka harus merogoh tabungan mereka. Saudi Arabia misalnya, mereka mulai merogoh tabungan mereka untuk kebutuhan sehari-hari. Lha wong pendapatan mereka saja anjlok and life must go on. Apakah dengan begitu kemudian aliran dana ke kelompok garis keras kemudian dihentikan dan disitulah negara baru bisa melindungi hak sipil masyarakat?!

Well, not that easy baby! A country like Saudi won’t get poor! And they will continue playing their games. Dengan adanya Kaaba di Mekah, Arab Saudi masih bisa mendapatkan memperoleh penghasilan dari perjalanan haji dan umroh yang bernilai lebih dari 20 milliard USD. Tentu saja pendapatan tersebut juga datang dari umat Muslim Indonesia, termasuk mereka yang harus menjual sawah dan tanah di kampung halamannya.

Jujur saja, dulu saya bangga menjadi orang Yogya. Kenapa? Masyarakat Yogya bisa hidup berdampingan dengan harmonis apapun perbedaan yang kita miliki. Bahkan, dulu banyak negara lain yang kagum melihat Indonesia memiliki pesantren untuk waria milik ibu Maryani di Yogya. Saya sempat bertemu dengan Ibu Maryani beberapa kali. Saya kagum dengan beliau karena di pesantren tersebut waria Kristiani pun bisa melakukan ibadah. Dan sekarang mereka diancam akan ditutup. Bahkan perkembangan terakhir, pesantren tersebut telah ditutup sejak tadi malam (February 24).

Sepertinya para cecunguk tidak suka ketika Indonesia memiliki sesuatu yang bisa dibanggakan yaitu kerukunan dan keharmonisan. Para cecunguk tersebut tidak ingin masyarakat Indonesia sadar tentang apa itu hak asasi manusia dan paham akan pengtingnya ilmu pengetahuan.Ya maklum, di jaman penjajahan Belanda dulu, mereka pun tidak ingin memberikan pendidikan ke seluruh masyarakat nusantara. Kalau masyarakat nusantara pinter pasti akan ada perlawanan. Makanya yang bisa sekolah sedikit saja. Ya toh? Sadly, itu membudaya.

Lagipula Pak Menteri kan udah bilang, LGBT isu yang seksi. Ya toh?! Ngana pikir isu cuma sekedar isu?! It is about money! Mereka dapet duit banyak, situ dapet nasi bungkus dan rasa dengki. Sadly, the government work for their own welfare than us. It is about them (The bloody politicians) and not about us, the people of Indonesia.

Jujur saja, banyak politisi dan pejabat pemerintahan yang enggak menginginkan masyarakatnya berkembang. Some of them want us to stay foolish so we can be controlled with religion. They love playing God especially when one is hungry. 

Jadi, sebenernya bukanlah pemerintah atau politisi yang bisa memperbaiki kehidupan kita tapi kita sendiri. Dengan cara apa? Mengedukasi diri kita. We need to get ourselves informed properly. We should let nobody controlling us for their own good. Many wanna talk about God but as Macklemore said “God loves all his children” is somehow forgotten.

Eh tapi ya di era teknologi ini, enggak menutup nantinya yang akan melakukan perebutan kekuasaan di Indonesia adalah kubu US dan China, di mana Indonesia lagi-lagi dilihat sebagai market dengan sumber daya manusia yang ‘pas-pasan’ karena banyak orang Indonesia yang tidak mau mengedukasi diri kita sendiri untuk menjadi manusia maju dan sumber daya alam yang melimpah. Coba deh perhatikan sendiri. 

At the end, it’s about the money, it’s about the power. We can choose to be able to stand in our own feet and preserve our culture in the era of globalization, or we let ourselves to be controlled. 

Ride the bus

Indonesia: About LGBT

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Goodbye 2012! Hello 2013

You know what makes me upset about LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) debate these days in Indonesia? Well, let me tell you.

Last night, a good friend of mine sent me a message telling me how concerned (s)he is about all these LGBT debates. (S)he wondered what the government/parliament next step toward it whether they are going to ban it altogether, ban foreign funding for LGBT activity (including reproductive health awareness) or even worse if they plan to stop distributing subsidised ARV in the country. (S)he is wondering. 

Honestly, this condition would not just have a negative impact to the LGBT community but also all the patients, let me repeat myself again ALL PATIENTS, (which also include heterosexual people) who have been getting ARV for free so they can survive and live their lives as a healthy person. So, I said to a good friend of mine that everything will just be fine. Let’s have faith in it.

Since the fall of  President Soeharto in 1998, religion has been used as a political commodity to control people. Sometimes I am wondering whether we, the people of Indonesia, can have a discussion about certain issue without bringing a religious perspective or not.

It is very devastating because I feel that this country is heading to a dark age than moving forward to the future. What about if we discuss what really matters and crucial to citizen’s daily life such as food supply, education, health and infrastructure, instead of the sexual orientation or religious preferences, which are very personal?! Can we?

PS: If you do not know what ARV is, you can search on the internet. It is very googleable.

Indonesia: A Letter To Pak Beye

People attend a candlelight vigil at Proclamation Monument in central Jakarta on Tuesday night (August 28th) to pray and show support for Shia Muslims in Sampang, Madura after local Sunni Muslims attacked the community, killing two men and burning dozens of homes. Hundreds attended the Malam Seribu Lilin (Night of a Thousand Candles). [2012: Oktofani]

People attend a candlelight vigil at Proclamation Monument in central Jakarta on Tuesday night (August 28th) to pray and show support for Shia Muslims in Sampang, Madura after local Sunni Muslims attacked the community, killing two men and burning dozens of homes. Hundreds attended the Malam Seribu Lilin (Night of a Thousand Candles). [2012: Oktofani]

Dear Pak Beye,

I am a citizen. I am a journalist. As a journalist, I like to observe, I like to listen to my source when they tell me a story. I do not interrupt them. I let them  take all the time that they need. It is because I realize that people like to be listened to.

Since I started my career in journalism, I often covered stories on human rights and legal issues. As a result, I am very aware of human rights issues now. There is a saying in journalism “Bad news is good news“. And working as a journalist in Indonesia, I would find ‘good news‘ very easily. It is because everyday I see and hear s about so many  cases of human rights violations in this beloved country.

It is very saddening to see that the number of violent attacks on religious minorities keeps increasing each year. Setara Institute found that  there were 216 cases of violent attacks on religious minorities in 2010, 244 cases in 2011 and 264 cases in 2012.

The victims of the attacks mentioned in the report belonged to religious communities including Catholic and Protestant Christians, and Islamic groups Shia, Sunni and Ahmadiyah.

Some people say that journalistic duties are to JUST write down the fact and present it to the public, we must not be involved. That is so true. But sometimes, I questioned myself how can I help the victims? I don’t want to be a hero. But I am a human with heart and feeling.

Ten Shiites from Sampang, Madura, East Java, are heading to Jakarta on bicycles to meet President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and directly convey their complaints over being expelled from their own village in August 2012.

Ten Shiites from Sampang, Madura, East Java, are heading to Jakarta on bicycles to meet President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and directly convey their complaints over being expelled from their own village in August 2012.

Norma Manalu, an activist from Aceh, speaks at a June 4th gathering about women’s rights in Aceh, at Hotel Acacia in Jakarta. Activists say they are not against Sharia Law but question the way it is being implemented.

Norma Manalu, an activist from Aceh, speaks at a June 4th gathering about women’s rights in Aceh, at Hotel Acacia in Jakarta. Activists say they are not against Sharia Law but question the way it is being implemented.

My heart beat stopped when I saw women crying because they could not use their church for worshiping God on Sunday. I cried when I heard that three Ahmadiyah followers were killed in West Java.

I was speechless when I heard a Syiah  follower had nothing to say to his four years old boy that they no longer have house because their house has been burned down by extremists in Sampang, Madura, East Java.  I wanted to scream to the government of Aceh for regulating women’s clothing and movement in Aceh as if there are not more important things to be involved in.

Akh…. Indonesia!  Don’t you remember what your teacher taught you in the class when you were at Elementary School? They taught us about Pancasila and Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity).

Akh… Indonesia! We forgot how to respect each other. We forgot the value of humanity. We forgot our national motto, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika . We just care about ourselves and be selfish instead.

Indonesia! We forgot that the Indonesian Constitution has guaranteed its citizen to choose and practice their religion. Yet, Ahmadi cannot use their mosque and some Christians cannot use their churches to worship God.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has just received theWorld Statesman  Award for promoting religious freedom  in Indonesia, while in reality your people cannot  practice their belief and religions in safety.  They come to you to convey their problem, yet you don’t even have five minutes for them. Should you wait until the table turn on you?

Bapak SBY, they are your children. They consider you as a father hence they come to you. Please kindly open your eyes, open your ears and open your heart to them.  Help them justice.

Bapak presiden, they might not have a high education but they know the value of humanity. Open your heart, open your door for them. It is ridiculous that they should come to you because the local government were too blind and to dumb to hear their problem.  We all just want to live peacefully in our home country.

Bapak presiden, if you were a real soldier, you should act like it. If you are a good father, then you should act like one. If you are a good president, then be a good president. The extremists have insulted you big time but you still give them space. That’s unfortunate.

Oh here… I have a song for you Pak Beye “Dear Mr. President” by Pink. I hope you enjoy it.

Love

Ride the bus

An FPI-Free Indonesia supporter holds a sign at a rally attended by about 50 people in front of the National Police Headquarters in Jakarta on May 10th, 2012. The group is demanding a stop to violence committed in the name of religion. [2012: Oktofani Elisabeth]

An FPI-Free Indonesia supporter holds a sign at a rally attended by about 50 people in front of the National Police Headquarters in Jakarta on May 10th, 2012. The group is demanding a stop to violence committed in the name of religion. [2012: Oktofani Elisabeth]

Indonesian Youth's Express their disappointment to the government because Lady Gaga had to cancel her sold-out show in Indonesia following protests by Islamic hard-liners and conservative lawmakers, who said her sexy clothes and dance moves will corrupt young people [2012: Oktofani]

Indonesian Youth’s Express their disappointment to the government because Lady Gaga had to cancel her sold-out show in Indonesia following protests by Islamic hard-liners and conservative lawmakers, who said her sexy clothes and dance moves will corrupt young people [2012: Oktofani]

The protesters called President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono “banci,” which literally translates to transvestite, saying he was a coward for not disbanding Ahmadiyah. [2011: Oktofani Elisabeth]

The protesters called President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono “banci,” which literally translates to transvestite, saying he was a coward for not disbanding Ahmadiyah. [2011: Oktofani Elisabeth]