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When Churches in Indonesia’s Aceh are Burnt Down, Papua Governor Says His Province is the Real Indonesia

Friday, October 16th 2015. | Perspective

Ironic and cynical, but that is what the governor of Papua, Lukas Enembe is saying, and his statement is being broadcasted widely and shared by many throughout Indonesian particularly online social-media. This is the person who was regarded as disrespectful to the President of Indonesia for not being present when Joko Widodo was visiting Papua. He is the one that Jakarta was blaming as sponsoring those who are campaigning against the Unitary Republic of Indonesia (NKRI). He is being monitored and followed closely by various state-intelligence agents, but he is now declaring his province as the real Indonesia.

The “real” or “unreal” Indonesia, according to him, seems to be measured based upon whether or not churches and mosques are burned down or not. Religious tolerance is his stick that he uses to measure how tall, how high and how wide is the Indonesia-hood of a province.

In actual fact, however, tolerance is not directly related to being within a nation-state. Yes, nationalism and religion are inseparable in other parts of the world, but in Indonesia, ethno-nationalism has much stronger ingredients inside the daily life perspectives and attitudes in looking at and reacting to other. Being tolerant to other religion in Aceh should not directly means being the real Indonesia. Likewise, being intolerant to Moslems in Tolikara, the Governors’ own Regency, does not automatically mean these church-going peoples are not Indonesians.

This is more related to the morality and civilisation of the human beings being involved in burning and killing. The more we are civilised, the more we tolerate to each other, don’t we? The more we are enlightened, the more we respect the diversity, right? Does it mean we are real Indonesians?

I want my Governor to go deeper than just looking at churches being burned or not. I want him to see that it is not that easy to claim himself, or his province the real Indonesia. “The Real Indonesia” is not based on religious tollerance, it is more than that. To make his province a “real Indonesia”, I think my governor should first of all become “a real” Indonesia, not only his province, but he himself first. But here, himself and myself need to define further, what do we mean by “a real Indonesian”. Because I know exactly, that being a Javanese, being a Torajanese, being a Bataknese, being a Buginese do not automatically mean “a real Indonesian”. Being “a real Indonesia” and its relations with religion and ethnic is not an easy way to measure, but my governor is doing just that.

says Jhon Yonathan Kwano

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