Ati Nurbaiti, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Commentary | Fri, December 06 2013, 9:05 AM
We recklessly trample on each other’s rights as wantonly as we litter, or speed into the busway lane.
How else to explain the endless testimonies on torture, rape, forced eviction and generations of loss and alienation?
Last week, 32 survivors of violence made statements in front of a limited audience. Today’s openness emboldened those requested to come forth by a network of almost 50 groups under the Coalition of Justice and Revelation of Truth (KKPK). But whether the testimonies will remind politicians and potential voters of the nation’s debts ahead of the elections is another story.
Their testimonies, given at a forum ahead of International Human Rights Day on Dec. 10 at the National Library, concerned incidents ranging from the 1960s communist purge to today’s persecuted minorities. Children of the Ahmadi in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), can barely study in the displaced persons camp that its residents — in moments of dark, desperate humor — refer to as pak kumis, which is not short for Mr. Moustache but for padat kumuh miskin (dense, squalid and poor); their home for almost eight years after being evicted for adhering to the “wrong” Islamic beliefs, one displaced person said. Members of Agama Djawa Sunda (Javanese-Sundanese religion) cannot legally marry. The voice of one woman from Kuningan, West Java, choked when relating that her father was paraded around his village like a thief as his marriage was conducted through unrecognized
The panels that heard the testimonies concluded that there were five roots of our chronic violence, as stated by the former chairwoman of the national women’s rights body, Saparinah Sadli. Militarism, thuggery and bullying were bundled into one source; strengthened over the years by impunity — the second related root problem.
Thus while many say they no longer want an authoritarian leader, it was far easier to get rid of Soeharto than to eliminate the demons within us, and the tyrants among us. For instance, the religious vigilantes practically get blessings from those of us who insist that “deviant” Muslims should adjust or declare their own faith as a separate one.
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