Wednesday, July 24, 2024 | 19:05 WIB

World Food Day and Indonesian Challenge

Jakarta, IO – October 16 has been dedicated as “World Food Day”, a day when every country takes stock of food challenges that are still rampant and in dire need of resolution. In Catholic churches within the Diocese of Jakarta, while no Saturday or Sunday mass featured a homily by the celebrating priest, the Church instead played a video of a sermon delivered by the Archbishop of Jakarta, Ignatius Cardinal Suharyo, S.J., on the commemoration of World Food Day. 

The Cardinal explained that in the Jakarta Diocese, the celebration of World Food Day is filled with a Social Teaching, which in the Jakarta Diocese signifies an exercise for Catholics to love others more, to be more committed, and to practice discipleship more fervently. Practicing these in our neighborhoods, caring for those less fortunate, marginalized, and disabled, through real actions, such as eating healthily and not excessively, not throwing away food and working with community organizations to distribute food we managed to collect. 

He reminded us that even with all our achievements so far, Indonesia still has problems with poverty, and ranks very low globally in terms of poverty elimination. We rank low in the performance of addressing the problem of stunting for children and healthy nutrition for expectant mothers. And now with climate change and the threat of El Niño and drought,water management becomes crucial.

Water is indeed the source of life; we must manage it wisely. This is a holistic approach to understanding the essence of World Food Day and celebrating it the Catholic Way, by blending it with the Social Teachings of our Church, with realities and practical policy for all of us to understand and actuate in real life. In the spirit of the “Joy of Evangelization”, let us do this with joy and enthusiasm. Happy World Food Day to all. 

In this respect, as a nation, we should even celebrate World Food Day as part and parcel of the national efforts to make advancements in health and education for all, so that not a single person is left behind. With that, Indonesia could work to reach its golden era in 2045, one hundred years after declaring Independence. 

In the meantime, an important political process must still be completed: the 2024 Presidential Election. Over here, we learn that the time for registration for candidates will commence on October 19 -25. One pair of candidates is already known: Anies Baswedan and Muhaimin Iskandar, sponsored by Nasdem and PKB Parties.

The other candidate, Ganjar Pranowo, sponsored by the PDIP Party, just released a statement that on October 18 it will announce the name of its candidate for Vice President. The last one will be Gerindra Party with its coalitions: the Golkar Party, Demokrat Party, PAN Party, plus some small parties, which has come up with Prabowo Subianto as its Presidential Candidate. It has not, however, announced who his running mate will be. 

I do not possess any information regarding economic development programs that Candidates Anies Baswedan and Ganjar Pranowo propose. I already composed the Economic Development Program that candidate Prabowo Subianto proffered for his Administration, in my previous column in this paper. I will certainly write the other programs when I have them. It is a promise. This is a reminder of the celebration of World Food Day. 

Meanwhile, the latest development the Constitutional Court just issued is its decision to dismiss an Appeal to amend the Constitution, to lower the age of Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidates from 40 years of age to 35. This verdict automatically disqualifies Mr. Kaesang Pangarep, the son of President Jokowi and the former Mayor of Surakarta, from running as a Vice Presidential Candidate – although this was previously rumored as a possibility: Candidate Prabowo Subianto’s running mate. Thus, one candidate for VP is out. 

Read: Strengthening Food Security: Urging Investment In Infrastructure

I would like to close my discussion with a comment on arguments that I found, and which made little sense. Former supporters of President Jokowi, who voted twice for his Presidency, are now complaining that the President is building a “political dynasty”, comparable to the Suharto Presidency, which endured for 32 years. My comments start with, first, raising this question to those accusing President Jokowi of building a political dynasty:

“You voted not just once but twice for his Presidential candidacy, right? So, do not you also hold responsibility for making him this way? Secondly, President Suharto ruled for an unprecedented 32 years, true, but he set a record for maintaining political stability, economic growth, and enhancing people’s health and education, did he not? And could you demonstrate how he built any sort of political dynasty?

Indeed, we do not see any of his children in high office after his retirement. And, did he not relinquish his presidency peacefully to Vice President B.J. Habibie in May 1998? One should feel sorry for this, but common sense says that the same person is partly responsible for making President Jokowi the way he becomes. You cannot blame me though, I never votes for him to be President. Jakarta Governor, yes, but not for President.