Sunday, 12 September 2010

On Papua (The Jakarta Post re-print)

I would like to comment on what has been happening in Papua province recently. I think we all share a view that Papuans should live prosperous lives. I have lived abroad for more than half my life, mostly in western, democratic countries. I could list western dirt a mile long.

But I do realize through the many things I have learned here, there are good things that drive me to want to make Indonesia a better place. Indeed, people in general, tend to blame others for their problems.

I may have fallen into that trap too. The fact is that much needs to be done in this country to make it a better place to live in. And I think Indonesians, like me, can start by stopping this constant blaming of "foreign forces" and start do something useful instead.

I just sometimes feel sick to my stomach that as we try to make Indonesia better, so many people are always pointing fingers at us and saying "you're not doing enough", "you, racist", "you, terrorist harboring infidel", "you, human rights abuser", "you, money grabbing inhuman people", and so on.

There is a group of people living just in the village behind my house in southern Jakarta. They are not happy with their economic condition. They feel marginalized. They are Betawis (original Jakartans) who feel they are often stereotyped as being lazy by the rest of Indonesia.

They are angry at the outsiders who have come and made profit from their ancestral land, especially the Javanese. They are angry at the government. And they are militants. Should they ask for their own country as well?

I wish that Indonesia's problem could be solved by dividing Indonesia into smaller countries. Let the Papuans have their own country, same as with the Acehnese, Betawis, Ambonese and Chinese. But I fear that this would create more problems than cure them. The truth is that a united Indonesia, stable, just, democratic, and economically progressive is the key to the happiness of its people, Acehnese, Papuans, and Betawis included.

I want a united Indonesia the way Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. I want a stable Indonesia the way Hawaii is stable under American rule. I want a just Indonesia the way the Aborigines have received the Australian government's spology. I want a democratic Indonesia the way Canada retains Quebec democratically. I want an economically progressive Indonesia the way Catalunya has prospered economically under Spain.

We remain miles away from this goal. We are striving for it. And we can see it. Will you join us in our effort, or will you prefer to trip our steps over and over.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment as you wish, but please, try to cut down on the profanities...