Skip to main content

Does SBY really deserve to get the 2013 World Statesman Award? I don’t think so

The information about SBY to receive the award as stated in the ACF's web:

In other countries, citizens would be pleased and honored if their leaders or president s received an international award to recognize their efforts in promoting peace and tolerance among people of different religions and faiths.

But, that is likely to happen in Indonesia.

For the last couple of weeks, rights activists throughout the archipelago have been expressing their frustrations of news about President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who will receive the World Statesman Award from the Appeal of Conscience Foundation in the end of May.

The foundation, established by Rabbi Arthur Schneier  in 1965, is the place where leaders of all faiths gather to promote peace, tolerance and ethnic conflict resolution. It annually recognizes world leaders who, according to the foundation, have promoted peace, tolerance and conflict resolution.  Past awardees include former French President Nikolas Sarkozy, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and also the late Margaret Thatcher, and a dozen of other prominent figures. These figures have been awarded by the foundation because they are seen as the champions of peace, tolerance and human rights. Who would not be delighted if their presidents were considered equivalent to the three mentioned figures?

But again, it does not seem to apply for Indonesians.

Yudhoyono, according to human rights activists in the country, is far from the image as a figure that promotes peace and tolerance. In this context, rights activists argue that SBY, the popular nickname of the President, has done inadequate efforts to solve various religious or ethnic conflicts, which have been escalating in the last couple of years.  

In the end of 2012, various rights-based non-governmental organizations (NGOs) reported that the level of tolerance among people with different faiths and religions had significantly declined as indicated by the vast amount of religious violence. Wahid Institute, for instance, reported that 363 cases of religious conflicts and violence occurred in 2012, up from 317 in 2011. Out of the 363 cases, 166 cases were perpetrated by state actors like police officers. Meanwhile, another NGO, Setara Institute, recorded around 371 cases of religious violence in its annual report last year, up from 299 cases as stated in its 2011 report. Setara in its 2012 report stated that police institutions become the most frequent state actors that committed religious violence. Police institutions, according to Setara, tended to ignore various religious conflicts that happened throughout the country. They tended to side on the majority groups when religious conflicts happened, according to both NGOs.  

The reports, I believe, are true. In 2012, there were some major religious and ethnic conflicts happening in the country. One the bloodiest conflict is probably the Shia-Sunni conflict in Sampang, East Java. Most of Muslim Indonesians branded themselves as Sunni. Therefore, Shia-Sunni conflicts in the country are inevitable as in any other nations in the nation.However, the August 2012 Shia-Sunni conflict in Sampang is one of the deadliestone in the country’s history. More than 500 Sunni followers reportedly razed over a Shia community there. Two Shia followers were killed, some 37 houses of Shia followers were set ablaze and more than 250 of them were forced to live in refugee for months. Police were blamed because they were seen unresponsive to the conflict. This very same Sampang Shia community was also attacked by the Sunni in 2011, leading to the arrest of, uniquely, Shia leader Tajul Muluk. Tajul is now serving his four-year jail term. The violation of human rights to the Sampang Shia followers continues further after early in May the Sampang regencyadministration decided to remove them from the area to avoid further conflicts.

Besides the Sampang Shia-Sunni conflict, there were other major religious conflicts including houses of worships’ disputes in West Java. GKI  Taman Yasmin church and HKBP Filadelfia church have been struggling to claim their constitutional rights to establish houses of worships. Tales about the two churches are so abundant to find on the World Wide Web. However, in short, all I can say is that the state has neglected their plights for years. They, just as around 80 percent of Muslims in Indonesia, have rights whenever and wherever they want to establish their houses of worships.

With all of those religious conflicts happening last year, then, does SBY really deserve to get the 2013 World Statesman Award?  I, for sure, will join rights activists to say that the President does not deserve the Award.
SBY could bring the Award home, if he dared to say that Shia followers in Sampang can remain in their homeland and promised to secure their constitutional rights. SBY could get the Award if he, for once, appeared and joined weekly mass held by congregants of GKI Taman Yasmin and HKBP Filadelfia in front of the state palace. Yudhoyono as the leader of the country ought to protect its citizens’ human rights instead of ignoring them. 

Rights activists have called for the cancellation of the award. I, regardless of how voiceless I am, also want him not to accept the award. If Mr. President never tries to reach the minority ones, then I believe that he does not deserve the World Statesmen Award, let alone the Nobel Award, the one that SBY reportedly always desires to get. 


Popular posts from this blog

The Two Most Influential Postmodernist Thinkers

This second post about postmodernism will consist of two greatest postmodernist thinkers and their contribution to postmodernism.
1. Jean François Lyotard.
Lyotard is a French philosopher. He opened the discussion for postmodernism in social theory with his groundbreaking publication ‘La Condition Postmoderne’ (The Condition Postmodern). His works stress the decline of meta-narratives or grand-narratives, as some scholars refer it. Meta-Narratives as defined in the previous post are sets of ideas governing what is right and wrong. For example, religion defines how to live a good life. By doing so, people who do not appeal to the characteristics of good man as defined by religion will be considered unfaithful, as bad people. Lyotard argues that this way of legitimating declines in a postmodern society. What is considered good can no longer be clearly separated from what is considered bad.

The decline of meta-narratives was triggered by communication development. Traditional communicatio…

Movie Review | Stream of Tears in Wedding Dress

Last Saturday, I got a runny nose -kind of severe, as I recalled- not because of sick, but because I watched a Korean movie entitled WeddingDress.
I have frequently watched Korean movies. In my opinion, they are much better than Indonesian movies. Not that I dislike my country (I just dislike Indonesia’s movies), but yeah, Korean movies have a wide range of preference. You can watch cheesy-funny-romantic movie that make you feel happy and smile all the time. Or try to watch a horror-romanticmovie that makes you laugh and scared. You can also find cool action movie! Some movies even make me cry a lot. I really mean it when I say some Korean movies really make me cry so badly. Wedding Dress is one that makes me cry. I am a boy and I cry. So what? I don’t buy the ubiquitous saying ‘Boys don’t cry’.

Wedding Dress narrates the life of a single mother, Go-eun, played by Song Yun Ah. Her husband dies already, leaving her only with her young daughter, So-ra, nicely played by Kim Hyang-gi. …

Gender Issues in Japanese Anime and Manga

I've got this idea to write about Japan's popular culture for  some times. Firstly, I love Japan's popular culture such as anime and manga.Japan's anime and manga are so popular around the world, transcending nations, age, sex and gender. I read Japan's  manga from the age of 10 (may be), until now. I watched Japan's anime also for years.

One thing that really makes me wonder is about the depiction of gender in those popular culture product. Before furthering the discussion, it is important to say that i follow Ann Oakley's argumentation to differ sex and gender. Sex is naturally determined, while gender is socioculturally constructed. Thus, to speak of male and female is to speak of sex. While to speak of masculine and feminine is to speak of gender. In doing gender (attributing gender characteristics in body), people are for so long stereotyped by the existing binary relation. It means that male should develop masculine traits to be called as a real man.…