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Black and White Indonesia

Black and White Indonesia

By: Haedar Nashir (President of Muhammadiyah)

Do we really love Indonesia with our body and soul when the nationality’s life is now full of certain interests? When inter nation components easily indulge their anger in public area just because of practical matters? These simple questions are worth thinking when the people in this country celebrate the 72th Indonesian Independence Day.

Facts openly talk. A group of people is very proud becoming Indonesia’s foremost guard, with the slogan of “the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI) and Pancasila are undisputed”. However, when their own interests are disturbed, they instantly spread collective embarrassment and arrogance in public area. In addition, they propagate political threat and will not give support in the political contestation in 2019 to the country’s elites that do accommodate their interests.

The other group voices loudly. Anyone who refutes the government regulation in lieu of law (PERPPU) on Mass Organization is the same as anti-Pancasila and anti- NKRI. On the other hand, the people who support PERPPU are defending NKRI, Pancasila, the 1945 Constitution, and Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity slogan). The double standard attitude is worked up with blind fanaticism like the Indonesian world is going to an end.

The other party does the similar politicization. Refuting PERPPU means giving support to their group while doing self- position capitalization as the political victim of the government policy. Then, new heroes are born. Anyone who is against PERPPU and anti-government is the same as the real truth fighters in this Republic. On the hand, they who are in the opposite side are regarded as weak and stupid.

The lives of the people and of the nation become black and white. They collide each other hard and get into extreme pendulum, if it is not A, then it is B. Indonesian flag that waves in every corner of the country is indeed still red and white in the unsurpassed splendor. However, the nature of thought, the attitude, and the ‘Indonesian’ action become black and white that is all shallow. They become naïve and selfish.

Binary Opposition

Why do the nature of thought and attitude that are all black and white tend to spread in the lives of the nation in our beloved country? It is not only in the political world that is shallow, holding hostage to each other, and getting rowdy easily, but law also gets desolate from philosophy and ethics frame, and even susceptible from politicization. The life of religion is more on verbalism that does not reach the holy message that educates and enlightens life. They claim to have religion that is rahmatan lil-‘alamin, but their collective behavior is beyond our expectation.

Various contrast social frame and labelling seems to be a new collective instrument in this country. The right versus the left, the radical versus the moderate, the pro versus the anti-NKRI, the pro versus the anti-Pancasila, the pro versus the anti-diversity, and other various categorization that grow to be collective thought pattern. The words of the extreme right and the extreme left are produced intensively in the public area, reminding us to the New Order era. They claim to be moderate but often get extreme and angry easily when getting into self-interest area, so that it becomes middle- extreme.  

Among religious people, especially through social media, theological expressions in fierce and anger nuance rise. The words like heresy, hypocrite, infidel, despot, and other religious categorization are produced easily in public area. The antonyms are, of course, anything that is all pious, sometimes leading to tazakku or characteristic of being self- most sacred. Their expression and writing reproduction are often extreme, so that they lose the peaceful and soft-hearted touch as the good example of Muhammad, the Prophet of Allah.

When some people try to be eclectic, they are regarded as not having outlook, being in grey area, and becoming ambiguous because the standard applied is black and white or extreme double option. Having middle position outlook is regarded as nifaq or hypocrite. Relativity is defeated by absolutism. Objectivity is taken as hostage by subjectivity. Mindset of essay is reduced by double option. The curve is no longer normal because the middle part is also shaded or having self-shading in the black and white color that is also extreme. The extreme option seems to be the main stream, if not being extreme, it is not correct choice.

In the frame of post-modern reasoning in the style of Ferdinand de Saussure and Claude Levi-Strauss from French post-structuralism theory, black and white nature of thought leads human to shallow and naïve binary opposition view. The categorization of binary opposition in the beginning is a signifier that has essence and meaning relationships, not separation and contradiction. They are different categorically, like man and woman that exist because both are different to be related to each other. The islamic and indonesian is a binary opposition that can give meaning to each other and benefits in a relationship that strengthens both existence, even though they are different.

However, in the hands of the people who have black and white thought, and who possess certain interest, the islamic and indonesian binary opposition, like in the man and woman relationship, is then banged to face to each other so that the conflict occurs. When someone loves something too much, it is the same as when he once hates something then he will forever be allergic to it. Binary opposition issues are produced as many as possible to create a split in the life of a people like PERPPU proponents versus the opponents, religious mass organization versus the social one, Islamic people versus the nationalist ones, pro-NKRI against anti-NKRI, the proponents against anti-Pancasila, the right people versus the left ones, and other sensitive issues that entirely contrast that the ending is to make collision inter nation components as well as between  inter nation components and the government.

The black and white scratch incarnates to be life paradox in the lives of the people and the nation. They claim diversity, but they are not tolerant to difference. They also affirm that they are moderate, but they are extreme in all the ways. Whenever they straightly point the others as radical, they act radically at the same time. Anyone being gentle will be regarded as fragile, while fierceness is put on as a pride. The life of religion is limited as formalism, while their manner is the opposite of the noble values commanded by God in the shelter of life that is full of divine and prophetic meaning that is true. This is the black and white world covered by verbalism that is shallow, naïve and losing the essential meaning!

Discovering the meaning

A state is established not merely because of power, but because of the unity of all people power in integral way in the nation entity, as stated by Spinoza. For months, the founding fathers intensively discussed and debated the national foundation of Indonesia that was going to establish, continued in some more years until the summit in the Constituent assembly. Even though they had strongly different points of view, the brain and heart of the national leaders were extraordinarily rich of ideas and wisdoms, so that they became extremely good states figures.  

Indonesia as a country and nation was built on a strong thinking foundation originating from what Soekarno regarded as Weltanschauung or view of life contained in Pancasila as the base of the country and religion with the spirit of Pancasila’s values strongly held in the soul of Indonesians since long ago. The elite of the country are expected to have sufficient knowledge in leading Indonesia so that they will not be black and white and shallow in making decisions, as well as have abundant statesmanship reference.

Pancasila and religions existing in Indonesia need to be well understood by the high-ranking officials so that they will not lack values and visions. Religions and Pancasila unite together in the mind of religious, altruistic, and humanistic Indonesian society.

For the religious people, Pancasila is not viewed as a belief. The people see that the values contained in each of its principle are in line with the teachings of religions. It is the same case for the Muslims, which are the majority of the population, who view that Pancasila conforms to the teachings of Islam. Pancasila absorbs the moral values of religion, particularly in the principle on one and only god as well as the other four principles. In the opening and article no 29 UUD 1945, religion has a strong constitutional position.

Thus, every single view and effort which contradict both become meaningless and crumble the basic values of both as the source of nationalism ideal values. On the other hand, syncretic unison of both means the disintegration of both basic values. It is because both have different place in which religions are sacred teaching based on god’s revelation while Pancasila is based on agreement between people as the base of statesmanship. Both have different position yet they have important values in providing foundation for the life of the Indonesians.

Thus, Indonesia cannot be constructed and filled with secular ideology, communism, and other ideologies which do not conform to the religions and Pancasila. This view needs to be the thinking and behaving principle of all the people and the elite of Indonesia so that the country has good soul, view of life, and behavior as expected by the founders of the nation. Although at the moment Indonesia is going through the new phase of universal democracy and the enforcement of human rights as well as other products of the United Nation Organization, they should not contradict the values of religions and Pancasila.

An important and factual agenda is how to implement and realize the values of religions and Pancasila in illuminating the life of the nation so that the country will not lose its grip and direction like a stringless kite. The main point is not on verbalizing statesmanship. The goal is to internalize the values so that they become the life principle of the people. Pancasila, Indonesia, UUD 1945, and diversity must not only be tagline without values and actions.

It is not enough to only have verbal idioms such as NKRI is a fixed price, formalistic Pancasila, UUD 1945, and diversity. The country cannot be built on power relation in verbal and procedural democracy. Indonesianism cannot be black and white in shallow and naïve logics. Being Indonesian means having philosophical and ideological soul, mind, and behavior which conform to Pancasila and religions which are the base of the nation. Denial on the values of religions and Pancasila means disintegration of Indonesia.

What is the meaning of spreading love for Indonesia and Pancasila if it works merely on words and rhetoric? Moreover when the meaning of statements are not in accordance with the actions. We must not let Indonesia disintegrate due to actions breaking the teachings of Pancasila and religions’ such as corruption, stealing of the country’s resources, letting the greedy ruin the country, allowing dictatorship, allowing injustice, and other actions which cause the sufferings of the people and damage the life of the nation. We must not let injustice spread so that the strong minority rule the weak majority without the control of the country. We must also not let communal groups with collective arrogance dictate the country.

Then, the country becomes fragile and easily swept by the inhabitants’ anarchist behaviors. Many people lose their visions and behave immaturely. Anything is allowed to do in the country while the country loses its control. It is like an expedition of a giant ship in the middle of the stormy seas without a tough captain and compass to guide to a certain direction. Fa-ina tadzhabun? Where are we going to take the 72-year-old Indonesia in sailing to the shore of hope?


Photo: Illustration

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