So Has Indonesia Come To This? Paradise Lost?
Nearer twenty than ten years in Indonesia, and today, for the first time ever, I began to wonder if my long-cherished plans to spend the rest of my life here might be at risk of derailment.
- I was watching, from time to time, the so-called Peace Action, the demonstration that brought all the most fanatical Islamists in the archipelago together, to seek the severest possible punishment for Jakarta Governor Ahok…
… who had the temerity to mention a Koranic verse in one of his re-election campaign speeches, in terms which got the jihadist elements all hot and bothered.
Suddenly I was taken aback,
There was President Jokowi, with other senior members of his government ON THE STAGE, with Indonesia’s most infamous bigots.
- He was almost side by side with Habib Rizieq, of the FPI white-shirts, the self-styled ‘Islam Defenders Front,’ a notorious sectarian gang. Just a couple of weeks ago, Rizieq was ranting that Ahok deserved the death penalty !
Only Jokowi’s Security Minister, Wiranto, stood between them. Nobody looked at all uncomfortable or abashed at this proximity. Rizieq looked delighted.
And there’s more.
At a public rally at the National Monument, hundreds of thousands of member of the mob held Friday prayers in the rain. Before the prayer, Habib Rizieq Shihab become their preachers and delivered a sermon.
- Rizieq’s sermon was heard by all participants, and even President Joko Widodo also listened to the preaching of the high priest of the Islamic Defenders Front.
As the number one in the Islamic Defenders Front, he said, the Koran is the holy book – there was no ambiguity in it.
“Do not make fun of the Koran. Whosoever mocks the Quran, then he is an apostate,” he said.
Jokowi, while listening to a Tizieq’s sermon…along with Vice President Jusuf Kalla, and Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Wiranto.
Based on the observation of Jawapos.com, Jokowi also several times bowed like a person fervently listening…while Police Chief Tito Karnavian was on the stage along with Rizieq.
So is there nobody left in the political and security establishment here who might feel a pang of conscience about being part and parcel of a hate-rally organised to put down ‘apostates?’
When I was sitting there, listening to the President’s repeated intonations of Allahu Akbar, I found my thoughts straying…
….to wonder about what it might be like living in some other tropical climate…