growing radical

11 Mar

“Why Indonesia matters,” Time Asia (22 February 2007 edition) shouts on its front page. However, it only writes two sentences saying that Indonesia is the most populous muslim country and dedidates the rest of the four pages on the facts that Indonesia is growing radical. The title is pathetically misguiding. The article itself have done nothing much except making me felt giddy of the extend of radicalisation so far, but failed to give information on possible reasons why it is happening and what is the significance of this trend. But that is not the thing I concern most. I wonder where the radicalisation will lead Indonesia to.

I still remember when I was growing up there, there wes really hardly any woman wearing jilbab. Back then, the problems we had were more related to racial rather than religion. Not a pretty picture, but my point is it was a different situation. People were moderately religious. They believed their religion, but still allowed others to practice their own as long as others did not step into their territory. We lived in that tension, push and pull, trying to find the right tension.

Then, every religions, except Islam, were only very small minorities and thus were modest. I think that imbalance greatly reduced any possible tension. The majority did not feel that they had to self-defense their position, the other smaller religions were just living their faith and did not try to be too outward. The majority may sometimes attempted to bully the minority, but problems could usually be solved with right amount of compensation. Balanced and peaceful. I suspected, as time went by, Christianity became more popular with more and more followers. The balance was broken. The minority wanted to exert more power and freedom, the majority felt threatened. Clash occured and new balance was achieved – after blood was shed.  

At least, that was my assumption. But, few days ago, when I was on the train back from a summit related to Make Poverty History campaign, there was a BBC report on the radio that there were a research done by a Californian university on racial or religious clashes. The researchers wondered: “Why some multi-cultural and multi-religious places do not experience clashes while some other do?” It concludes that people with differences can actually live together peacefully. There can be tension, but it won’t lead to open clashes. Only when there was political intention, the clashes happened. 

So, if this study is true, no matter if there is tension and discontent between the groups, it won’t be great enough to cause an uproar.

Perhaps it is true that there is always someone or some group backing a uprising, with their own agenda, manipulating the faith and the mind of people. In the Insurgencies class, Howard explained few tactics used by successful insurgents. Winning the heart and mind of people by using their faith or belief – be it for the pride of ancentry-line, or in the name of God, or for the sake of respected leader – is the key in successful insurgencies.

Who are behind all the events in Indonesia? What are their motives? What are their objectives? What are they doing and why are they doing what they are doing? Perhaps only by answering these questions, the police, the secret service, the government have the slight chance to keep Indonesia out of terrorism, insurgencies, chaos and, in the worse case, civil war.     

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1592576,00.html

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One Response to “growing radical”

  1. Doris March 12, 2007 at 12:05 am #

    a very critical essay, hehehe

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