Riots: my Indonesian perspective
Martin Luther King said it is the language of the unheard. I am not 100% on board with it.
In the case of the still on-going Black Lives Matter riot (as of at the time of writing), I do think it is the language of the unheard. It is undeniable black Americans are disproportionately targeted by the justice system. Considering how every single one of their peaceful protests is condemned as ‘inappropriate’ by the establishment, it is no surprise race riot is still a semi-regular feature of the American life to this day.
Even if I dismiss the reports of white instigators (I don’t), I still cannot blame the rioters for being violently angry… while also acknowledging that small business owners also have the right to be bitter when their properties are burned down. Yes, you can do both.
Regarding the Hong Kong riots, I also think they are languages of the unheard. Contrary to popular belief (and I notice its prevalence among online Singaporeans), the Hong Kongers don’t rebel against the authorities just for the sake of it. They rebel because they truly appreciate the liberty they have enjoyed for decades, the liberty that citizens of mainland China (and Singapore) have never experienced.
The citywide legislative council has functional constituencies which allow special interest groups like corporations (many of which are Pro-Beijing) to vote and their votes have more weight than the ones of geographical constituencies. The city’s chief executive is directly appointed by Beijing. Pro-democracy camp is only dominant in the district councils.*
In Indonesia, it is a different case.
There are the infamous ‘wrapped rice’ protesters, those who join protest rallies simply because they want the free lunch and cash. The presence of organised and extensive logistical support, akin to a meticulously-planned event, is a dead giveaway.
Even though many of them are working-class people, their acts are not languages of the unheard. They do not represent their own causes, they represent the determination of certain parties to keep destabilising the public life.
Then, there are the Islamist protesters, who may or may not overlap with the aforementioned people.
They protest because they claim to be against the second-class status of Indonesian Muslims… even though we are a predominantly-Muslim nation that have never embraced state secularism, let alone the laïcité type; we were never banned from openly expressing our Islamic identity.
If anything, Islam is the golden child in Indonesia and has always been. Muslims do have privileges that non-Muslims lack.
Basically, the Islamist riots -which there are quite a lot of them- are not languages of the unheard. They are languages of fucktards who demand even more rights to oppress the religious minorities, who think protecting them is the same as oppressing the majority.
If you want to find Indonesian riots who are legitimate languages of the unheard, I will refer to the ones committed by Indonesian Papuans.
They are a marginalised racial and cultural group who have never benefitted from “joining” Indonesia. Their heritage is nothing but a mere cultural prop, their existence is a mere tokenism to our national diversity.
When they aggressively protested against a racism case in which Papuan students were called ‘monkeys’, the majority of Indonesians condemned the Papuans for rioting and not once acknowledging the root of the problem. Sounds familiar?
I am writing this essay (and pretending to have lots of readers) because I don’t want well-intentioned yet gullible people to defend the wrong parties. I don’t want them mistaking the oppressors as the oppressed ones.
We already have assholes who intentionally flip the narrative. We don’t need people to do it accidentally.
*Yes, under the British rule, the governor of Hong Kong was appointed by the Queen and not by the Hong Kong people and all of the governors were white. But, the legislature was already dominated by Hong Kongers and it had far less functional constituencies.
Oh, and the government did not actively try to stifle freedom of speech. Don’t forget that.
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