Agam's Gecko
Friday, March 31, 2006

t a time when Indonesia is seeing a creeping trend toward the acceptance of some aspects of Sharia law, it's great to know that there are some Indonesians prepared to speak out forcefully in reminding their compatriots of the purpose for which their republic was founded. Via the (new to me) Indonesia Matters blog, which started publishing in December, comes this story of Satria Naradha, a Balinese businesswoman who warned Indonesian parliamentarians of the dangers of aggressive Islamism in their country.

IM doesn't give the source for these quotes, but here are the samples given of her statements to the legislators. Interestingly, Satria, who owns the main Bali news outlet, had gifts for the visitors. She presented them each with Indonesian flags, hoping to remind them of what their republic actually stands for.
Bali will never betray Indonesia, we will never secede. Instead, we shall fight until the end any group that is trying to subvert the nation into a monolithic society based on the teachings of one single religious belief.

If Jakarta and Aceh want to betray the republic (by suppressing religious freedom and multiculturalism) then we will let them go (from the republic). Bali will not go away, we will fight to keep this nation as a nation that respects religious freedom and celebrates multiculturalism.


My ancestors sacrificed their lives to build this republic. I and my fellow Balinese will not let this sacred heritage be ruined by a small group of people who want to impose their moral values on this nation.
A partial implimentation of Sharia law is already in force in Aceh. Public floggings with the rattan cane are carried out on those who were apprehended for morality offences by the Morals Police (they have an Arabic name for this force, another example of the obsequious attitude of many pious Musliims toward foreign Arab culture). So far, the morality crimes are those of adultery, gambling and drinking of booze. But there are disturbing rumours that there are more regulations being considered for future implimentation in Aceh, including hand amputation for thievery.

The people I spent my time with in Aceh during January are not fans of Sharia law. South Aceh is banking on tourism for future economic development, and it's certainly an area of such stunning beauty that, with better transportation links, a tourism industry is entirely feasible for them. But not with Sharia law. There are plenty of other beautiful parts of the country, where the guarantees of the Indonesian constitution are still in effect, and visitors won't need to fear that when they're driven past a mosque on Friday afternoon, they'll see some poor soul being whipped by a hooded figure for playing cards or dominoes.

The people in Tapaktuan that I know, are fully aware of how Sharia will doom their hopes of ever seeing people from all over the world coming to visit. They were never asked (nobody in Aceh was asked) if they wanted Islamic law in their "autonomous" region. It's something that's just happening to them without their consent. They seem resigned to waiting until these dictates are handed down from above, and then hoping that they can work with what they get.

In the meantime, foreign tourists will continue taking their vacations in Bali, where the founding principles of tolerance of differences in culture and religion are still honoured, because patriots like Satria Naradha still defend them.

Powered by Blogger

blogspot counter