Sat, 08 Oct 1994

Banning of film

The recent banning of yet another film caused me to wonder whether Indonesian citizens will ever be allowed the chance to make up their own minds about anything. As this nation strives toward development it seems that self-appointed arbiters of morality are robbing its inhabitants of their sense of responsibility, to say nothing of their freedom of choice. Surely if a film somehow offends religious beliefs it is up to the individual to decide whether to see it or not. By taking that choice away they are insulting the intelligence of every person in this country.

It might be more useful if religious leaders concentrated on ways to help their flocks. If they truly controlled the hearts and minds of their followers, a simple mention of their displeasure at morning prayers would surely keep their faith in line and would not inconvenience followers of their faiths. Members of the group who put pressure on the board of censors to ban films have sadly demonstrated that they have had to resort to extreme measures because they have little confidence in their own powers to influence their followers. If they had, they would not have had to exert such pressure.

Such acts of desperation are reminiscent of King Canute who believed that he could stop the sea. He failed, as will those who also seek to stem the tides. If Indonesians are to build a nation worth respecting they must be given choices and must be allowed to make them for themselves. How can a nation mature when its subjects are treated like children?