Note: I don’t write much about politics, or even anything remotely close to politics. But when I am stirred on certain subjects close to my heart, namely my country and more importantly the freedom to be happy in life – and in this case freedom of expression – then I am going to rant about it. And this is one of those posts.
Beyond the Saga over Gaga. That was the headline for this piece written by someone I dare to call my mentor, role model, a sister and most importantly, my best friend. (For the record, our friendship and what it has become in the last 5 to 6 years will warrant its own post. I adore the woman that much).
Her article aptly articulated the issues behind the now-cancelled Lady Gaga concert in Jakarta. You can all read it here, a brave article being published in The Jakarta Post, published two weeks ago.
Being a regular patron in the often-noisy world of Twitter, I read the tweets of many Indonesians or ex-pats, whining and moaning about what’s happening to this nation. From the lack of leadership from our dear President SBY (who I voted twice for by the way), the silly antics of our House of Representatives members, to name a few, to the latest saga of the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) causing a commotion over Lady Gaga. Hence my friend’s article.
I do that too. Whining and moaning, or more appropriately bitching, about issues in this country. I even wrote a blog post once ranting about the stupid anti-pornography law passed in this country, much to my worry of having to resort to wearing a potato sack in public. I was frustrated. Many of us are with what’s going on in Indonesia, and I get that. Not to mention the recent international publications on Indonesia as a result of this saga over Gaga.
Ranting about it on Twitter, or blogs as the case maybe keeps us sane. It’s our outlet for frustrations. For yours truly included.
Then again, there is only so much bitching one can do to make a difference, if any that is. We need bigger action, a vehicle for the collective voices of people who despise the actions those FPI thugs are putting us through and causing many of us to rant and rave with a lot of negativity to the point that some of us think there is no longer hope in this country. Even packed up, and denied ties with this country (oh, I do have friends who did that. They admit to be “Malaysians” when asked where they are from. Don’t even get me started on that).
Before I go on, let me say that I have no political interest whatsoever in supporting this movement I am going to talk about. I don’t understand politics other than they are often silly, and cause uproars in this country. But read on, and you’ll get why I am doing this post.
I have heard about this movement called “Indonesia Tanpa FPI” (translated Indonesia without FPI). Their twitter account is @IndTanpaFPI and their website is here.
Now, to my blog readers who don’t speak/read Bahasa Indonesia, unfortunately the website is written in it only, with the aim to reach Indonesians to voice their concerns. But what I can tell you in summary, is that it is a movement, combined with a legal notice, asking the government to take action to stop the violence created by FPI, and specifically with a legal notice for the government to look closely inside the Police force in an attempt to create peace and enforce the Police duty protect its citizens, instead of allowing thugs such as the FPI going around with its violent acts.
I heard about its existence first from that said best friend above and didn’t think much of it. I knew she went on some of their many meetings that caused its inception. She even went on a public protest against FPI some time ago. Being someone who stays away from anything to do with politics, I just pick her brain when we do our regular catch ups, soaking up only a fraction of what she’s trying to educate me with. I took little notice of what “Indonesia Tanpa FPI” does.
When the whole saga over Gaga was happening and her article came out, and I was bitching about the issues surrounding it, she reminded me about IndTanpaFPI website and the legal notice/petition. I looked through its content and thought, this could be something big. Its movement..errr..moved me. No pun intended, really. All I needed was to submit my name to show my support.
If every single one of us with the same objection on FPI put our names on it to show our support, then maybe, just maybe, we might be able to make a difference.
I am not promoting self-righteousness on this post, oh no, God forbids.
But I am promoting this.
At one point in my life I was a person who talk the talk, and not walk the talk. I moaned about not being happy and wanting to do what I want. Over, and over and over again, to the point of many friends actually got tired of listening to me. I asked myself, can I do anything about it other that just rant, moan, and whine? On some things, I can and I did. On those I can’t, I (try to) shut up about it. Well, okay maybe just rant to my close circle with a disclaimer.
What I am saying is, instead of bitching about the bad things that is going on in Indonesia, ranting relentlessly on your twitter account as if chanting to the world you hated this country, how about trying to show your support on IndonesiaTanpaFPI site by submitting your name? Just your name.
Yes, I hear you sceptics, I was once one. Just a name? What will that do?
But at least I have this to say to myself. I don’t want to regret knowing I could have done something to make a difference. I may not run around carrying posters protesting to their acts like my friend did, or creating my own movements or projects to make a difference, because I know of my capacity. But knowing that I could do something so simple, and have nothing to lose….well, why not?
You may have your own reason for not supporting the movement; a reputation to maintain, scepticism over the difference it makes, or God forbids you silently agree to the government and thus, the thugs’ actions against freedom of expression and religion.
Whatever it is, only you know.
Just please, I beg of you, don’t regret knowing you could have done something, despite so small right now, and make a difference.
To close, I leave you with this quote from Margaret Mead, one that Ben, my TEDx Jakarta friend, shared a long time ago when I wonder if what I do with TEDx Jakarta also makes a difference. .
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
And you can be part of that small group of people too to banish these thugs from the country. Or at least support the effort.