Don’t provoke the people

Fahri Hamzah
Vice Chairman of the People’s Representative Council of the Republic of Indonesia (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Republik Indonesia – “DPR RI”)

IO – If you want to know the difference between Prabowo and the incumbent, you just need to see what happened in Cianjur the other day. The General will never let any injustice occur before his eyes – he would take action. Yet it is this very action that’s being portrayed as a crime. He is slandered for his attitude. His enemies generate a phobia against him. This is the Prabowo whom I have known since my student days. This is what differentiates him from all those New Order elites who spent their days doing nothing but kissing Pak Harto’s butt. He never stands still when he sees anything odd. He says something about it and does something about it. This character is unsuitable in a feudalistic system.

On the contrary, our leader is surrounded by people whose feudalistic principle is “as long as the head is happy”. They create a strong comfort zone around him and carefully keep a distorted reality around him. They make sure that the leader lives in a comfortable golden cage that would separate him from the people. Flunkeys tend to pop up around feudalistic leaders. They report every day, “Right Sir, everything is under control Sir, you take it easy, let us deal with it….” That’s what they say every day in their reports, so that the feudalistic leader grows callous and numb.

When the people get angry for having their lands razed, they say, “Take it easy Mr. President, just continue your construction of toll roads and infrastructures with these foreign loans. Let’s make the people happy from getting benefit replacement….” Then they shut down the news. They close down dissenting voices by bribing or threatening them into silence.

When a disaster occurs, the leader goes to see the people who line up in wait for their fate. Then he delivers a speech before the people and asks his officials, “How are we doing on the mitigation of victims and disasters?” The officials immediately answer in one voice before the people: “All ready within a month, Sir!” while others said, “Within a week!” Aye-aye!

Imagine how glad the people feel when they hear how ready the primary officials were before them. They felt that their load was lightened. However, their leader and his officials simply left them behind, absolutely feeling unburdened. The people continued to live miserably in broken tents, waiting for what was promised to them and never arrived.

The same thing happens in law enforcement. People with an agenda come to kiss the president’s butt and say, “We have faced all your enemies, Sir. We have proven that they have violated the law, Sir. It’s true that all your opponents are lawbreakers, liars, and hoaxers. You rest easy, let us deal with them.”

The feudalistic leader feels smug. He feels that he has rediscovered the reasons for continuing to rule. After all, according to everyone around him, he is the only one qualified for it, and no other. “You are the perfection and blessing for this nation, what will we do without you?”

An anti-corruption investigator got splashed with acid in the face, an ulema gets hunted down, an old lady is jailed, an artist is being held in a concentration camp, and many other cases. When we ask for the resolution of such cases, the leader says, “Don’t keep on talking about criminalization! Just report it, we need to trust in the law.”

Both our common people and our intellectuals are locked down. God knows what other means can we use to remind everyone that feudalism is coming back to life, as our conventional media is silenced, our social media is severely limited with the Electronic Information and Transaction (Informasi dan Transaksi Elektronik – “ITE”) Law, the podiums in campuses are crashed, and the voices of our students are gone. Thank goodness for housewives, then, because they remain strong in their agenda of replacing those in power.

We still have a month to go.

Let us stop feudalism.

If we still want to have hopes for this country, stop having leaders who build an “as long as the head is happy” culture.