Get well soon, FPI and other parties

The Jakarta Post | Thu, 06/05/2008 | Opinion

Anand Krishna, Jakarta


June 1, 2008, will be remembered as a black day in the history of Indonesian democracy. A group of people from different walks of life -- Balinese Hindus, Javanese Catholics, Sumatran Protestants, Buddhists and Confucianists from Celebes and Muslims from all over Indonesia were beaten up by radicals.

What was their mistake?

They were not Ahmadis, as suggested by Munarman, published on Kompas online service. Indeed, one of them was a Muslim girl belonging to a family aligned with the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI). She was hysterical, she threw away her veil screaming, "I am ashamed to be a Muslim."

I wonder, if Munarman in the Kompas online article was the same Munarman of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia. To my knowledge, and from what I have been reading about this organization -- they claim to be non-violent.

I hope he is not the same Munarman. For, if he is the same Munarman, that would put him on the spot, for defending the radicals who beat up our Indonesian brothers and sisters when they were demonstrating peacefully, defending and upholding Pancasila as our state ideology. If this is so then he may have to change the image of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia, which he has so far portrayed as a peace-loving and non-violent organization.

The rally at Monas organized by the National Alliance for the Freedom of Religion and Belief was supported by dozens of organizations and many, many prominent citizens of the country. And, it was not to defend Ahmadiyah, or any other sect -- but to defend our state ideology.

My dear members of the Islam Defenders Front (FPI); my dear Munarman, the defender of FPI and what they did; my dear members of Indonesian Ulema Council -- do please take time to talk to the victims of what happened last Sunday. I did, and my finding was astonishing. They represent our country in its entirety. They belong to different religions. They have different professions. Yet, they stood united to defend our country, its ideology and its Constitution.

What happened last Sunday is an insult to Islamic values, as I understand them, as also understood by all my Muslim friends, without a single exception.

The language used by Munarman, as published by Kompas in its online edition, does not at all reflect the law of the land. This is why I wonder if it is the same Munarman quoted, or misquoted. For, Munarman of Hizbut Tahrir, to my knowledge, is a man well versed in law. He is a man of law. Les us hope, it was not the same Munarman.

Violence is a sickness.

We all inherit it from our long evolution from amoeba. As humans, we must polish ourselves and overcome this inherent violence. All religions, all religious teachers and teachings are but tools and medication to that end.

FPI, and all the radicals, their supporters and their advocates -- are today in dire need of this tool to polish their souls. They need this medication to heal their beings. So, my dears, please get well soon!

His Excellency, our President, has been saying that violence is not the answer. To that I add, "Love is the only solution." Try love, my dear friends at FPI, MUI, HTI and other groups which are directly or indirectly, explicitly or implicitly defending or supporting violence and violent acts. Friends, if you feel you have not been doing that, have not been defending or supporting violence, then good for you. You are healed!

The police have been sluggish in their move against the FPI mob, quoting religious sensitivities, while religion was used as the justification of the FPI, while beating us, our people, the Indonesians... Reason: It could trigger more riots.

Not understandable, not acceptable.

If it was your wife, your child, your sibling or your parent being beaten up, what would you, my brother policeman, do? Wouldn't you arrest them on the spot?

One of my friends was beaten by an elderly person, in his fifties. One of the youngsters smashed a child against a wall. Several pictures, even videos have been given to the authorities, and now are on YouTube for everone to see and evaluate.

The political opponents of the present government see this incident as a "set up". The people who attacked the alliance members were prepared with nailed bamboo poles and stones. How could the police let them carry these weapons of violence?

"FPI is supported by some ...", if the allegations are true then those supporters better begin to count their days before they are exposed. Soon, very soon. The arrogance, with which these radicals, their supporters, defenders and sympathizers have been making statements, prove that they indeed enjoy support of certain people "up" there.

Many like to believe that all these incidents are set to divert our attention from the core issues faced by the country, such as the oil price increases, et cetera, and et cetera. If the blood of our masses are shed for that purpose -- then shame on all of us.

Know the truth, and it shall set you free -- the truth is, our country, our nation, our state, is presently very, very weak. We are unable to hospitalize these radical elements in our society suffering from the contagious sickness of violence. The truth is that if they are not immediately hospitalized, then this entire nation can suffer from the same sickness. There are bound to be reactions, as we have already seen happening in Cirebon.

Mr. President, please, please, please... Take up arms, save our nation! To my radical and violent brothers and sisters, one more time: "Get well soon! For violence is not the answer, as mentioned by our President. It is a sickness."

The writer is a spiritual activist (www.aumkar.org, www.anandkrishna.org, www.californiabali.org).