Mon, 26 Jun 2000

No political bickering, please

Looking at the situation in our country at this moment makes me very sad. What has become of the Indonesia we love so much and for which we are mentally and physically ready to sacrifice our lives. Where are the happy Indonesians, full of love and understanding, working together in the spirit of mutual help (gotong royong) to create a prosperous Indonesia?

What I see now are sad faces full of tears, because they have lost their loved ones, killed by unknown persons; lost their houses, burned down by unknown gangs; and they have not enough to eat for themselves and their children.

They don't know whether they will still be able to see the sun rising tomorrow. Why all these tragedies?

Is it because of the misinterpretation of democracy? Is it because of the political bickering of the elite politicians? Is it because of the misplaced ambitions? Is it because of the unclear strategic direction of our state leadership?

Are we suddenly becoming barbarians and following the law of the jungle? It seems that the impulsive answer to all these problems is to create new bodies in addition to the already existing ones.

Corruption is rampant. A new corruption-fighting body has been created with a well known retired Supreme Court judge as chairman. The economy is stagnant. New bodies have been created; one is chaired by Prof. Emil Salim, another by Jusuf Wanandi. When disappointment after disappointment about the state leadership emerges, new bodies are created, like the one chaired by Eros Djarot. A new baby, soon to be born, is fathered by an honorable social figure, Nurcholish Madjid. An ombudsman has been created and perhaps many more will follow.

Is this the answer to a splintered political atmosphere of Indonesia? Or will this add to the existing problems. Not to mention the existing nonpolitical organizations coming to life only intending to be moral pressure groups like Center for Information and Development Studies(CIDES), Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Advisory Group in Economy, Industry and Trade (ECONIT), Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW), and what not. God only knows.

It is not because of the fact that I am a retired military member that I still think the only coherent, united force is the military. The Indonesian Military (TNI) has a clear line of command, has discipline and a clear pattern of responsibility. I know that TNI has a bad political reputation, a heritage of the New Order, and I still feel that civilians harbor the fear that the TNI might make a comeback to the political arena. To calm the civilians' fear of a comeback, TNI has pledged that they will completely leave the political arena and concentrate on becoming professional soldiers in charge of the defense of Indonesia and stop their role in domestic security which will be handled by the police.

The political parties are trying to weaken TNI by disclosing the nonexistence of rival groups within the military, encouraging the growth of suspicion among the generals, exposing violations of human rights by TNI and trying to interfere in the military's internal matters. Political parties propose that transfers and tours of duty for generals should get the approval of the House of Representatives.

Please don't disturb the unity of TNI, because the military is everybody's friend and has real patriots that can be relied upon in time of crises to help. Lately, I read in a newspaper an appeal for the political parties to stop bickering among themselves because this might create a reason for TNI to come back. This appeal is good, because with it this bickering which adds to the existing problems might end and I, as an ex-TNI member, feel we are still a force to be reckoned with.