Jakarta, IO – At a plenary meeting of the UNESCO Executive Board on May 10-24, 2023, President Sukarno’s 1960 “To Build the World Anew” speech, delivered at the United Nations General Assembly, was declared a Memory of the World (MoW). In that 122-minute oration, Sukarno offered Pancasila to the world as an alternative ideology.
“Pancasila has a universal significance and can be applied internationally,” Sukarno asserted. “The elimination of imperialism and colonialism removes such exploitation of nation by nation. I believe that there is a way out for these conflicting ideologies. I believe that the way out is by implementing Pancasila universally.”
He then outlined the five principles one by one. Rhetorically, he asked the audience: “Who amongst you rejects Pancasila?”
In his speech, Sukarno quoted the Qur’an and the Bible, and said that he represented a large country with a population of some 92 million people. Sukarno was proud of his success in organizing the Asian-African Conference in 1955, events which had a huge significance for Asian and African countries.
It inspired many countries to fight for their own independence. Sukarno also rebuked the UN’s rejection of the membership of the People’s Republic of China, the world’s most populous country. He also spoke of the problems faced by Indonesia: “Where there is imperialism… then the position is a dangerous one indeed… That is the situation in West Irian. That is the situation in the one-fifth of our national territory which still labors under imperialism.”
In the current situation, Pancasila can still serve as the foundation of Indonesia’s foreign policy. Indonesia fully supports Palestinian independence. Historically, Indonesia has had good relations with Palestine. But we need to convince the Indonesian people that if there is a way to support Palestine in gaining its full independence, this policy needs to be adopted.
If opening diplomatic relations with Israel can create peace in the region through the two-state solution, we need to move dynamically, as we did in the 1950s. We are anti-colonialism but beyond that we also want to promote world peace.
Pancasila is the unifier of the nation, internally and externally. Externally, it is meant as the foundation of Indonesia’s foreign policy in facing global challenges. Internally, it unites various elements to form a nation with diverse religions, ethnicity and (regional) languages.
We are a large nation, with the fourth-largest population in the world and a vast territory, consisting of thousands of islands. If there is no “glue” that binds this nation, Indonesia will easily split into dozens of independent countries.
Language-wise, we should consider ourselves more fortunate than a big country like India. In 1928, the Sumpah Pemuda (Youth Pledge) was declared. One of the codicils of the pledge vowed to recognize Bahasa Indonesia as the “language of unity”.