IO – On the Youth Pledge Day, commemorated every year on 28 October, the Speaker of the Republic of Indonesia’s House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Republik Indonesia – “DPR RI”) Puan Maharani expresses her wish that the current young generation maintain the spirit and values of the 1928 Youth Pledge. “91 years ago, our forefathers took an oath to have one homeland, one nation, one language – Indonesian. Therefore, it is our duty to protect NKRI with its diversity. Using the words of the current generation, the youths of various tribes at the time “collaborated” to generate the new value of Indonesian unity without losing their individual identities,” Puan declared in her address on Wednesday (28/10/2019).
Similarly, Deputy Speaker of DPR RI Azis Syamsuddin believes that the Youth Pledge is the soul framework of NKRI that ensures that we avoid all kinds of global threats. Within the past few years, Indonesia as a nation could only define political dynamics awkwardly, within the framework of Presidential Elections and nothing more. They think that the Presidential Elections is the “life and death battle for maintaining the existence of their group”. “Therefore, a chaos of meaning occurs in times of election. War slogans and jargons occur precisely within a peaceful context. These people view “trade agreements” and “cross-border investments” as “annexation of our lands”, and they interpret “elections” as “revolution”,” he said.
The value of unity among Indonesians is greatly shaken because of it. Its movements are so volatile, that the value of any single opinion or action is viewed through the lens of political partisanship. “The worst, most dangerous, most worrisome impact of this view is that scientific principles become emasculated. Any scientific opinion or analysis, whether expressing criticism or appreciation, will be suspected of having definite leanings. They are forcefully viewed within a context of political dynamics, especially in terms of Presidential Elections,” Azis said.
Azis further stated that Indonesians as a nation have lost the meaning set of the Youth Pledge. For example, many people consider President Jokowi and Prabowo Subianto to have violated a political code of ethics by reconciling, even though global threats are challenges that the Government cannot face by itself. There is no way to overcome them than uniting all of the political powers under the same national banner. “Unity and union as mandated by the values of the Youth Pledge are our fort against global threats – starting from global economic recession, the volatility of global safety that continues to escalate, and the increasing frequency and volume of mass protests that mark a crisis of legitimacy in many nations. This is why we can never view political contests as black-and-white portraits. If we read into the context, national unity nowadays is not just good, but also urgent,” he said.
Azis reminds us that the Youth Pledge is more than a ceremonial celebration only. Celebrations only remind us of what values that we must contextualize. “We hope that existing examples from political elites will trickle down so that we are ready to face future great challenges. If we cannot formulate the Youth Pledge by ourselves, we should learn to understand it, or at least try to accept it. Wallahualam bi sawab, only Allah knows the truth,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the DPR RI Ethics Committee (Mahkamah Kehormatan Dewan – “MKD”) Habib Aboe Bakar Alhabsy reminds the sons and daughters of the nation to resist being provoked into fighting and conflicting with each other, especially since we are now in a global era dominated by asymmetrical proxy wars. The Youth Pledge provides us with strong nationalist values, as it was an agreement between the representatives of Indonesia’s many tribes to unite into a single nation, the Indonesian nation, living on the same homeland, Indonesian homeland. It is a deep agreement that teaches all parts of the Indonesian citizenry to prioritize the interests of the State and nation above the interests of their respective groups. “And most importantly, the nationalist spirit also reminds us to beware of those who pave the way for foreign interests to control the Motherland. The Youth Pledge is a declaration of national union that we must preserve and protect. Therefore, all sons and daughters of the nation must prioritize the interests of their own nation, not those of foreign interests,” he said. (dan)