My Keynote Remarks at the Joint Symposium on ASEAN Peacebuilding organized by Paramadina University and Harvard University at Paramadina University, Jakarta.
I congratulate Paramadina University and Harvard University for jointly organizing this timely symposium. It is fitting that we gather in this symposium on peace-building December 10 on the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For when we talk about post-conflict resolution and peace-building we must ultimately talk about human rights in all of its five dimensions: civil, political, economic, social and cultural. As the United Nations Human Rights Summit in Vienna in June 1993 aptly stipulates, those five dimensions must be integrated, inseparable and proportional in their implementation in all countries, regions and continents throughout the world. While acknowledging the universality of the Declaration, the Vienna Summit also recognized the imperative to take into consideration the “ region specific” as well as the “historical and cultural context” of human rights in each country. After all, the true meaning of human rights__and indeed of peace and justice__can only have relevance within a particular ground level national and cultural context.
Well before Indonesia proclaimed independence in August 1945, our founding fathers had for months debated the basis of state identity of the projected Indonesia nation. Although the Indonesian nation then, as now, had the largest number of Muslims in any single country, our founding fathers affirmed in Pancasila as our state identity, incorporating a sublime blend of all the major religions, beliefs and secular norms prevalent in our diverse cultures. This agreement on fundamentals was pioneered and had been fought for politically, diplomatically as well as militarily by Indonesians of all creeds, races, ethnic group and provincial origin. Our founding fathers decided that the unitary state of Indonesia should uphold and respect the rich diversity and mutual tolerance of all of the nation’s living religious, cultural, ethnic as well as racial heritages. A healthy sense of modern nationalism triumphed over narrow primordial loyalties.
Pancasila___Believe in God, Humanitarianism, Nationalism, Democracy through Deliberation and Social Justice__became our agreed basis of what constitutes Indonesian-ness. Pancasila defined the platform of our “peace charter” binding Achenese in the west and Papuans in the east, committing North Sulawesi citizens with the peoples in the island of Rote. We remain today the world’s largest Muslim majority country, but by deliberate consensual choice not an Islamic state. In the course of our post-independence period, this belief in the mystical and mythical quality of Indonesian unity and cohesion based on our interpretation of “unity in diversity” was adhered to by the vast majority of our social and political leaders, Muslim as well as non-Muslim. But like all charters, pledges and political symbolism, Pancasila as a nation-wide commitment can only endure if its underpinnings is supported by a robust and balanced fulfillment of all five dimensions of human rights__ civil liberties, political freedom , economic sustenance , social cohesion and cultural resilience . This is the only way we can replenished a greater sense of Indonesian-ness from generation to generation.
Most people advocating tolerance and diversity do so because by they enjoy civil and political liberties precisely and because their economic, social and cultural needs have been adequately met. It is a truism to say that “Where you stand depends on where you sit; where you sit depends on what you eat; what you eat depends on where you where born.” One defends the rule of law because one’s particular station in life has made it convenient and expedient to be “part of the system” and one’s economic, social and cultural foundations are already sound and secure.
Over the past 10 years, various Indonesian administrations have sought to strengthen our sense of political, economic and cultural cohesion stronger and more resilient by addressing several priority issues.
President S.B. Yudhoyono identified good governance as one of the key priorities in peace-building at all levels: national, provincial, local. Over the past 5 years, in regions afflicted by political, communal, sectarian and ethnic violence__Aceh, Central Sulawesi, Ambon and Papua___the Ministry of Defense (Dephan) and the Indonesian Defense Force (TNI) are fully committed to support graduated political democratization towards greater competence and capacity building in civilian government, including ground-level post-conflict resolution and peace-building.
The TNI’s role has shifted from leading and dominating to measured presence in support of building the five pillars of democratic governance: civil society, political parties, the police, the prosecutors office and the courts system. Community policing is supported by the TNI’s measured Territorial Capacity Building. Every governor, district and sub-district officer in all of our 33 provinces and 493 second-tier governmental bureaucracy recognize the need to emulate the code of the military profession. Provincial, district and sub-district bureaucracies are expected to adopt similar rotational schemes which are all-important for fostering national administrative capacity-building, as well as for effective managerial capacity down to the village level. Additionally, the TNI is tacitly assigned to help accelerate sustainable economic growth. Not merely growth with equity, but more critically growth through equity. Measured military presence at each level of economic growth help define the rate of governmental capacity building at all level: national, provincial and local.
Every generation of Indonesia’s soldiers and officers is involved in a constant process of day-to-day “nation-building” and “nation-replenishing.” From Aceh to Papua, Army soldiers teach grade school arithmetic, help build bridges, rehabilitate villages and irrigation canals, provide rudimentary health care. Navy sailors and marines provide crucial logistical support to remote or isolated islands. Air Force personnel fly and distribute emergency relief to post-conflict areas and to victims of natural disasters. Each deed reinforces the locals’ sense of being cared for and participating in a more vibrant nation-wide common endeavor. Where thresholds of tolerance regarding what constitutes equity and fairness can be tenuous and fickle, more often than not it is the local soldier who acts as the credible “cultural broker.” This is the enduring task of being a people’s defense force. We firmly believe that in the final analysis,. social justice is a nation’s best defense.
Muslims in Indonesia co-exists and are enriched by day-to-day interaction with the practices, rituals and symbols of fellow citizens other faiths and beliefs: Catholicism, Protestantism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism. “Indonesian-ness” is not based on a single majority ethnic group such as the Javanese. Nor is it based on a dominant “cultural heritage” like Malay identity, though some parts of western Indonesia find affinity with Malay culture. And in the eastern half of our country there are more Melanesians than in all of Melanesia proper.
Military presence and democratic governance are directly linked to narrowing the vertical “rich-poor gap”, as well as the western-eastern horizontal disparities in our archipelago. Differentiated rates of access to new knowledge and skills may endanger our nation’s sense unity and cohesion. Measured political development and successful political democratization cannot be sustainable without broad-based economic democratization. Both political and economic democratization cannot succeed without constant cultural replenishing of being Indonesian at ground-level. In addressing domestic and international terrorism, interdicting financial networks and disrupting their organizational capacity, the arrest and prosecution of suspected perpetrators must be conducted on the terms of Indonesian authorities and under the provisions of our legal system. Discreet and timely foreign security assistance rendered “on tap” are much more legitimate and effective than aid provided through virulent “on top” pressure from abroad.
Ultimately, violent extremism can only be overcome by concerted efforts to reduce inequities in development, reduce corruption and accelerate programs in poverty reduction. The police, the prosecutors office and the courts system can only do so much in addressing issues related to our young citizens who out of desperation and destitute find salvation in misguided religious martyrdom through violent behavior. Local religious, social and youth leaders can and must do their part. We are working hard to reduce these grievances so that the poor will not have to take their own lives because they have nothing to lose. We have to persuade them that a far greater mission in life is not to dare to die, but to have the audacity to live and work hard towards a better future.