IO, Jakarta – After 21 years of reforms, Indonesia still has a lot of homework to do. As a pluralistic nation, we are highly vulnerable. Our social fragmenting has worsened. Our social cohesiveness and familial bonds failed the test when stressed by differences in political views and religious beliefs. People at the grassroots level are busy seeking each other’s weaknesses and negativity, while political elites anxiously hunt for offices and positions in government agencies.
President Joko Widodo, who attended the Titik Temu (“Meeting Point”) Forum themed “Multicultural Cooperation for Unity and Justice”, stated that the success of a nation and its people strongly depends on their ability to accept and manage diversity. The better a people manage diversity and differences, the more adult and mature they will be, and the more they will be able to handle innovations that lead to development.
“Diversity is a need, because it gives us the richness of imagination that we need for innovation. Diversity will make us more mature, more adult. It is an inseparable part of economic progress. If we want to invite tourists to come from abroad, to bring in people who have the skills that we don’t have, if we want foreign investors, we need to be open towards other regions and nations. That’s how it will be in the future: we will live together with different ethnicities, cultures, and religious faiths,” he said during the opening of the Titik Temu Forum at Makara Ballroom of DoubleTree Hilton Hotel, Cikini, Jakarta, on Wednesday (18/09/2019).
The President stated that basically diversity and the ability of a nation to be open to it and utilize it is the key for developmental leaps. Many countries have transformed into advanced countries by embracing diversity, such as the United Arab Emirates. “Forty years ago, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was mostly underdeveloped. They have a low level of literacy; their education and culture are closed off and traditional. However, it is now a very developed and prosperous country,” he said. Jokowi further stated that openness and tolerance in the UEA can be seen from their daring to invite great world talent to serve as corporate leaders and experts in their country, to be gradually replaced by native UEA citizens later. Furthermore, they also dare to invite hundreds of great rectors, lecturers, and professors from the world’s colleges.
However, in view of the response to his plans to bring in foreign rectors to serve in national universities, Jokowi had to admit that this is not something that can be directly implemented in Indonesia. “Here, even if it is just an idea, since we have 4,700 academies, polytechnics, universities, college, when I idly said “What if we bring in some foreign rectors for 3 of our universities, polytechnics, or academies?” people went into a rage just for that. They massively said that “President Jokowi is a foreigners’ lackey,” he remarked.
He regrets that Indonesian citizens are frequently still immature in managing differences and still put their emotions first, while Indonesia is originally a nation of many tribes, ethnicities, cultures, languages, and faiths. “We need to manage the presence of foreigners who want to cooperate with us. Stop shouting ‘antek asing’ (‘foreigners’ lackey’) for every little thing; that is religious emotion, not religious passion,” he reiterated.
Jokowi further stated that Indonesia has the spirit to unite as in our national motto, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity). “Let us return to the spirit of the establishment of this nation, the spirit of the Bhinneka Tunggal Ika. This principle is how we manage diversity internally among our nation. It will serve as an exemplar, a standard for the world in the caring of tolerance and unity, as well as our daring to be open for the sake of our people’s progress,” he said.
So Many Important Figures
Titik Temu Forum is a place for people who are oriented towards cultural movement to gather. It is jointly-organized by Nurcholish Madjid Society, Gusdurian Network, and Maarif Institute. It was held to confirm the need for the Indonesian people to continue to cooperate and work side-by-side under the guidance of Pancasila.
A number of prominent figures attended, in order to issue moral admonishments and messages of peace. These include Interpretation Expert and Founder of Al-Quran Muhammad Study Center Quraish Shihab; female religious figure as well as widow of the late KH Abdurrahman Wahid, Shinta Nuriyah Abdurrahman Wahid; and female activist as well as widow of the late Nurcholish Madjid, Omi Komaria Nurcholish Madjid. Other than these Titik Temu Forum elders and figures, other famous names such as General (Ret.) Moeldoko, Azyumardi Azra, Yudi Latif, Richard Louhenapessy, Simon Petrus Lili Tjahjadi, Komarudin Hidayat, Yayah Khisbiyah, Haidar Bagir, Henny Supolo Sitepu, Bhante Nyanasuryanadi Mahathera, Lies Marcoes-Natsir, Ratu Shr Bhagawan Narayana Putra Natha Nawa Wangsa Pemayun, Juwita Jatikusumah Putri, Ws. Chandra Setiawan, Muhamad Wahyuni Nafis, Inayah Wahid, Abd. Rohim Ghazali, Faizah Binti Awad, and Ulil Abshar Abdalla were also present.
A declaration containing the following important points was read out in the Forum:
First, calling all Indonesian citizens to strengthen their ties of brotherhood and solidify diversity as the basic step to reject racism, fight against intolerant thoughts and ideas, and avoid violence.
Second, calling all Indonesian citizens to remember the importance of living together and to improve cross-cultural cooperation.
Third, calling all State institutions (Executive, Legislative, and Judicial) to work together effectively and efficiently in order to be able to realize common justice and prosperity.
Fourth, encouraging concrete cooperation between civil organizations and businesses in order to be able to creatively generate new job opportunities and improve productivity, which will guarantee a life of welfare and prosperity for our citizens.
Fifth, calling all religious, tribal, and civil community organizations to strengthen a joint movement by encouraging fair policies, decent education, and guidance of grassroot communities. (Dan)