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Unspun’s reminded of the Gandhi witticism: “Those who engage in mudslinging often lose ground” in the unfolding case between Twitterati Benny Handoko (@benhan) and Golkar politician Misbahkun (@misbakhun). For the current development of the case see here.
As things stand, Benny is now under detention for allegedly slandering Misbahkun over the Bank Century case, after the latter complained to the police. The series of twits that has led to this serious turn of events is captured in Jackson Purba’s Chirpstory feed “TwitWar Misbakhun Vs Benhan” by @misbakhun N @benhan.
As the Chirpstory feed clearly shows @benhan fired the first salvo by accusing @misbahkun. A Twitwar ensured where @misbahkun duked it out with @benhan, Twitblow for Twitblow. The virtual slugfest, after 100 tweets ended after @misbahkun warned @benhan to retract his statement and apologize or he would file legal charges.
Now it appears that @misbahkun has followed up on that threat and is getting the Indonesian Twitterverse riled up because of his action.
It is an interesting incident as the central issue here is whether you have a right to sue (or in the case of Indonesia, file a police report against) someone for slander after you’ve duked it out with them on Twitter.
True, the Internet and Twitter does not, and should not, exonerate anyone from slandering another person. Twitter, however, allows you to talk back and have your say to whomever is interested in what you have to say. So several interesting questions pop to mind here:
- Would Misbahkun have been morally justified to take legal action against Benny if he did not use his Twitter account to engage in a Twitwar with Benny. Would it have been Ok if he merely used his Twitter account (20,343 followers) to say that Benny was incorrect and that if he persisted he would take legal action, and left it at that?
- Did Misbahkun waive his moral right to legal action after engaging in a Twitwar? Would going to the law after arguably losing a fight with Benhan (a Twitter heavyweight at 49,799 followers) make him look like a sore loser?
- Finally here’s a question for social media and issues management typed: There is a lot of noise in the Indonesian Twitterverse. Would Misbahkun be better off had he ignored @Benhan’s tweets and let it pass rather than wage a Twitwar and file a legal action? Would such a course of action – benign neglect – have hurt his reputation? (not say he has a great one but would such an action lower his reputation from what it was before the Twitwar?)
Looks like its time for a vox populi on the issue:
It always amazes Unspun how everyone in Indonesia, especially the politicians, excel at barking up the wrong tree whenever something big happens and they are suggesting ways to avoid future such incidents.
The Sleman Prison Attack (brow) is one such incident. As with the past the politicians are zeroing on the amorphous concept called the government, the lack of political will, the lack of enforcement etc etc.
All righteous sounding noises noises signifying nothing and eventuating in noting.
There is something thatt the Fourth Estate, The Press, can do about it though and it is by adopting a simple question they often use for heads of organizations mired in scandal: “Sir, Will you resign from your position to take responsibility for this situation?”
It is simple, direct to the point and places accountability squarely on the shoulders of those who are responsible for the overall discipline and conduct of their organisations – the head of the organization.
Yet such questions are never asked in Indonesia by the media to the heads, in this case of the military and the police. As a result the concept of responsibility for things happening on their “watch” never gets fully realised and dissipates in the heat of the rhetoric that accompanies each incident.
As a result the chiefs of the military and the police do not feel the heat even if their people killed others, or torch the rival’s organization, or commit cold blooded executions. They have no incentive to change things. Neither will thier successors because they know that they would not be held accountable.
Does anyone know what is stopping Indonesian journalists from asking such a simple question?
Lawmakers have lambasted the government for its failure to protect the public after a brutal attack on Cebongan Prison in Sleman, Yogyakarta, left four people dead.
An unidentified group of 17 gunmen, wearing face masks and carrying assault rifles, barged into the jail early on Saturday morning, threatening the wardens before executing four prisoners awaiting trial over the death of a soldier.
Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) secretary general Tjahjo Kumolo said on Sunday that the attack was a major embarrassment for the government.
“Revenge motives aside, this attack signifies an open attempt to disgrace the ruling government, in particular the Justice and Human Rights Ministry,” he said, warning a spate of similar violence could now be triggered.
Tjahjo called for all parties caught up in the attack — from Cebongan correctional authorities to the Indonesian military — to be transparent and ready for a full investigation into what happened.
“This incident indicates there is something wrong with the system,” he said.
Tjahjo noted a similar case in Papua, where an army post was attacked by rebels, remained unsolved, as did an attack on a police station in Poso, Central Sulawesi.
Comr. Gen. Sutarman, the National Police’s chief of criminal investigations, said that he had sent a team of officers to look into the incident.
“The National Police will provide backup for this case. The team is being led by [head of general crime] Brig. Gen. Ari Dono,” he said, adding that the police were still examining the crime scene and had yet to identify the assailants.
Fadli Zon, the deputy chairman of the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), said that the country was being taken over by “mafia.”
“I’ve never heard of such incidents except in action movies,” he said in a statement on Sunday. “The state is powerless and weak in the face of the armed forces. Rule of law is absent and undignified.”
Fadli said the government must take the executions seriously, and demanded swift steps to apprehend the culprits and ensure that such a shocking attack didn’t happen again.
“If not taken seriously, the public will lose confidence in law enforcers and they will take justice into their own hands,” he said. “This brutal incident shouldn’t have happened in Indonesia.”
Separately, Gerindra lawmaker Martin Hutabarat said vigilante acts usually stemmed from a lack of respect for the legal system, which was considered unable — or unwilling — to punish offenders.
“If the people trust our law enforcers, this incident wouldn’t have happened,” he said.
Tubagus Hasanuddin, deputy chairman of House Commission I on defense, also called for a strong response from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
“This case is not just a matter of discipline. This is an attempt to fight the government. The president must be firm when dealing with this case,” he said on Sunday.
The public had a right to feel terrorized, Tubagus added, with gunman wielding an arsenal of weaponry and taking over a high-security prison with ease.
“Where’s the control [from the army and police]? The state can be considered negligent,” he said.
The Cebongan attack is believed to be linked to a murder at a Slemen club, Hugo’s Cafe, early on Tuesday morning. Special Forces (Kopassus) soldier First Sgt. Heru Santosa allegedly was stabbed to death when he tried to break up a fight at the venue.
Sleman Police arrested four men in connection with the murder: Hendrik Angel Sahetapi, 31; Yohanes Juan Mambait, 38; Gameliel Yermianto Rohi Riwu, 29; and Adrianus Candra Galaja, 33.
Around 1:15 a.m on Saturday morning the jail was stormed by men claiming they were police. After unsuccessfully trying to move the suspects out of their cells, they opened fire, killing all four.
The law is bound to be an ass when its highest judges exhibit asinine behaviour. Here we have Jimly Asshiddiqie, the former head of Indonesia’s Constitutional Court ,an institution that is supposed to exercise wisdom in the upholding and protection of Indonesia’s most important document, its Constitution, saying: “It’s part of our culture to treat women inappropriately,”?
Jimly’s thinks the Judicial Commission should therefore have gone easy on Daming by a mere rap of the knuckles instead of wanting his resignation.
Asshiddiqie Proud of our culture
In this instance, the Judicial Commission is totally correct in demanding his dismissal. Daming has, abover all things, shown poor judgement – a fatal flaw for a judge. There is no way a modern Indonesian society can have confidence in the Judiciary and the law if people like him remain in office. Jimly wins a shit-for-brains tag for his statement.
Former Constitutional Court chief justice Jimly Asshiddiqie slammed the Judicial Commission’s (KY) decision to dismiss Supreme Court justice hopeful Muhammad Daming Sunusi over an insensitive rape joke.
“Dismissing him is overboard [Daming] as he has apologized for his slip of the tongue. Daming is an example of Indonesian men. It’s part of our culture to treat women inappropriately,” Jimly said on the sidelines of a meeting at the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
However, Jimly added, Daming should still be punished for making such a controversial statement in public because he was applying for an important position at the Supreme Court.
Daming, current head of the Banjarmasin High Court in South Kalimantan, caused a national uproar last week after he said that once elected a Supreme Court justice, he would be lenient on rapists because they and their victims might have enjoyed intercourse.
Following his remarks, the KY decided to strip Daming of his position for breaching the judicial code of ethics.
This is a typical case of what Mitroff and Silvers discuss in their book Dirty Rotten Strategies: How We Trick Ourselves and Others into Solving the Wrong Problems Precisely. Unspun has a more precise tag for this kind of thinking which is in my tag: shot-for brains.
The root causes of the persecution of the Shiites by the majority Sunni Moslems in Indonesia is not because they hold a slightly different belief. What’s really causing this wholesale and constant attack on a minority is intolerance, reluctant and poor police enforcement and an absence of political to hold the police accountable for failure to keep the peace (what happened to the police chief after he admitted to a failure of intelligence in the last Shiite bashing? Nothing) will to get Indonesians to respect the law and one another.
Solve these problems and you would see a reduction of cases where Shiites are persecuted, often brutally. Converting Shiites to Sunnis would be solving the wrong problems precisely and have it come back to bit us in the rump. If there are no shiites to pick on the intolerance, poor enforcement of laws and lack of political will give the opportunity for other bullies in the Indonesian society to persecute others. Perhaps gays, lesbians, transponders, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, the rich, Chinese…whichever group that forms a minority and therefore vulnerable to mob rule.
Margareth S. Aritonang, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Thu, September 06 2012, 11:08 AM
Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali says converting Shiite Muslims to the Sunni Islam followed by most Indonesians would be the best way to prevent violent outbreaks between the sects in Sampang, East Java.
“The best solution for what has been going on in there is dialogue. Many things can happen after a dialogue. We had an experience where the Ahmadis [...] converted to mainstream Islam after dialogue,” the minister said on Wednesday on the sidelines of a meeting with lawmakers on House of Representatives’ Commission VIII overseeing religious affairs.
Suryadharma was referring to the local religious leader in Ciaruteun village in Bogor, West Java, who persuaded 15 members of the minority Muslim Ahmadiyah sect in March 2011 to convert to the form of Islam practiced by most Indonesian Muslims.
The minister said that in first stage of the conversion process, minority Shiites, their majority Sunni neighbors and other stakeholders in Sampang could meet for a dialogue.
He declined calls made by moderate Muslim groups to make a determination whether Shia is heretical, claiming it was outside his remit as minister.
“I’m in no position to make the decision. I can’t ask the MUI [Indonesian Ulema Council] of Sampang to retract their religious fatwa [edict] deeming Shia as heretical. As I have said earlier, dialogue will be the best way,” Suryadharma said.
Contacted separately, Deputy Religious Affairs Minister Nasaruddin Umar concurred with Suryadharma that the ministry was obliged to educate subscribers of faiths deemed deviant by “mainstream” religions to convert to the teachings of the six religions recognized by the governments.
“We never condemned Shiite Islam as heretical or prohibited it from being practiced here because Saudi Arabia, for example, has never banned its followers from going to that country for the haj pilgrimage,” Nasaruddin said.
“I think there are around 11 different types of Shia Islam, and not all of them are heretical. It is the strands that veer off from mainstream Islam that we have to deal with,” the deputy minister said, declining to elaborate if the Sampang Shiites were outside mainstream Islam.
Sunni Muslims attacked a Shiite community in Sampang on Aug. 26, forcing almost 300 people to seek refuge in the local forest before they were given refuge in a tennis stadium.
The violence followed an attack in December 2011, when a Shiite Muslim, Mochamad Kosim, 50, was hacked to death. Three other Shiites were injured and 37 families lost their homes in the attack.
Suryadharma dismissed speculation that the violence in Sampang resulted from a sibling rivalry between Shiite leader Tajul Muluk and his Sunni brother, Roisul Hukuma.
The minister said that the mother of the brothers, Umah, was severely injured in the attack and had asked that the government to relocate the Shiites to prevent more attacks.
“She told me that when I went to visit her a day after the attack. However, it is up to the community whether or not they want to leave the area. We will move them to somewhere safer if they make the decision. Nonetheless, they can stay in the neighborhood if they want to do so,” he said.
East Java Governor Soekarwo previously dismissed schemes to relocate Shiite residents, although little action has been taken by provincial officials to safeguard them.
Critics said that Soekarwo’s reluctance to take action to aid the Shiites was done to garner support from Sunni Muslims in the run up to the East Java gubernatorial election.
Suryadharma and Nasaruddin declined to comment on potential connections to gubernatorial politics.
Here are two different but fascinating stories. It takes place in different countries and different times, but they both tell the story about how you can fool (and intimidate) all the people some of the time but not all the people all the time.
The first is set in the US in the 1950s, when the country was gripped by Cold War Tensions. Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy exploited the fears and uncertainties and claimed that he had a list of Communists and Soviet sympathizers in the US Government and society.
Thereafter, using Senate Hearings as his bully pulpit he proceeded to launch a witch hunt against the putative Communists. Many innocent lives were affected. Careers were destroyed and some of his victims took their own lives.
For a moment he seemed unassailable. If you spoke out against then that meant you were a Communist or a sympathizer. There were some dissenting voices but by and large most people were afraid to provoke the ire of McCarthy because of his thuggish and intimidating tactics.
Then one fine day, the mirror cracked. McCarthy was trying to implicate a young man who belonged to the law firm of US Army legal counsel Joseph Welch in senate hearing that was broadcast live on TV. Welch stood up to McCarthy in his now famous “You Have no Decency” response (see YouTube video below) and it was over. From there McCarthy was exposed for the charlatan he was and stripped bare. People realized that the King had no clothes and McCarty went on a downward spiral. The Senate censured him and he died 10 years later, supposedly of a heart attack but widely suspected of dying from alcoholism.
The second story is set in present day Indonesia, which is in the grip of indecision and political intrigue between the various political parties and government institutions . Habib Riziq exploited this situation to build his base of support in Jakarta through the FPI and is now trying to extend his influence in the rest of this country.
His tactics, like, Mccarthy’s are similar. Thuggism that intimidates dissenting voices. The FPI has been threatening people and even the police with impunity. Even though there are dissenting voices, people are generally afraid of confronting him or the FPI. They not only destroy lives but also property.
Now comes the fine day yesterday in which hundreds of people from the Dayak community in Kalimantan stood up to Habib and the FPI by banning him from landing in Palankaraya airport and rejecting the FPI’s presence in their backyard. Is this Indonesia’s “You have no decency” moment?
“Ini momentum bagi masyarakat lain, bisa jadi contoh untuk jangan diam saja kalau melihat ada benih-benih intoleransi,” kata Bonar.
Keberanian masyarakat adat suku Dayak untuk menolak keberadaan Front Pembela Islam FPI di Provinsi Kalimantan Tengah harus dihargai dan menjadi contoh bagi masyarakat lain untuk berani menentang benih-benih intoleransi antar umat beragama.
“Keberanian masyarakat Dayak untuk menolak FPI secara terbuka itu harus kita hargai, dan seharusnya menjadi inspirasi bagi yang lain untuk berani bicara dan bertindak melawan intoleransi,” kata Wakil Ketua Setara Institute for Peace and Democracy, Bonar Tigor Naipospos, hari ini.
Ratusan masyarakat adat Dayak di Palangkaraya menolak kedatangan anggota FPI ke kota tersebut dalam rangka tablig akbar, karena khawatir keberadaan mereka akan mengganggu keharmonisan antar umat beragama di Provinsi Kalteng.Menurut Bonar, penolakan tersebut sangat wajar dan bisa dimengerti mengingat catatan aksi FPI.”FPI kan sudah ada di Kalimantan Timur, mereka sudah melakukan sweeping beberapa kali dan bahkan menganggu komunitas Ahmadiyah di Samarinda. Wajar kalau para pemuda Dayak khawatir kalau kejadian yang sama akan terulang di provinsi mereka,” kata Bonar.
Menurutnya, ada lebih banyak lagi pengikut Ahmadiyah di provinsi Kalimantan Tengah, bahkan jumlahnya adalah yang terbesar di provinsi Kalimantan.Lebih jauh Bonar menambahkan bahwa penolakan masyarakat adat Dayak terhadap keberadaan FPI tetap membutuhkan alasan yang sangat kuat agar tidak menentang hak umum untuk berserikat dan mendirikan organisasi.
Bonar juga mengatakan sebaiknya dijalin dialog antara kedua pihak dan FPI harus berjanji bahwa mereka tidak akan melakukan tindakan kekerasan dan melanggar hukum.”Jika mereka tidak mau menurut syarat tersebut, barulah bisa ditolak keberadaannya,” kata Bonar.Bonar menambahkan radikalisme adalah hal yang tidak mungkin bisa dihindarkan, namun selagi para penganut kepercayaan radikal tersebut tidak melakukan tindak kekerasan atau menyebarkan pesan kebencian maka keberadaannya masih bisa ditoleransi.
“Ini momentum bagi masyarakat lain, bisa jadi contoh untuk jangan diam saja kalau melihat ada benih-benih intoleransi,” kata Bonar.
Before any of us cast the first subsequent stones, deservedly, at the parliamentarians, it is perhaps wise for us to ask what role we in Indonesian society play in condoning and encouraging such ostentatious and shameless displays of (often ill gotten) wealth.
Do we, as a society, shun them or at least avoid them at social functions and the parties they throw,or do cozy up to them and eagerly attend their lavish parties? Do we give that skeptical look when their children flaunt their Hermes handbags, Laubotin shoes and fancy cars or salivate over them and toady to the “rich and famous?”
Unspun suspects that Indonesian society, especially among the elites, not only do not frown on the obviously corrupt lawmakers and their families but actually fawn over them. So who is the guilty one here for all this corruption? The legislators or our very own Washed, Perfumed and Beautiful People that form the upper crust of Indonesian society? Who shall cast the first subsequent stone after Busro Muqqodas and Marzuki Alie, on a good day?
The story below is in The Jakarta Globe today:
House of Representatives Speaker Marzuki Alie has found himself in a familiar position, back on the defensive over the extravagance of legislators.
Even while acknowledging a small problem with lawmakers living “hedonistic lifestyles,” he attacked the head of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) for making that same claim.
Busyro Muqoddas, the KPK head, this week criticized lawmakers for their shows of wealth, which he said were out of place for so-called people’s representatives. And on Tuesday, Constitutional Court chairman Mahfud M.D. called on lawmakers to curb their extravagance.
Marzuki, from the president’s Democratic Party, responded by saying that Busyro should focus on his own job. “Stop with the inflammatory statements,” he said.
He also denied Busyro’s claim that most lawmakers lived lives of luxury. “Not even 5 percent live these hedonistic lifestyles, and we’ve been calling on those who do to change,” he said.
But many, including the coordinator of Indonesia Corruption Watch, Adnan Topan Husodo, aren’t buying Marzuki’s defense.
He said the reality was that many lawmakers were showing off their wealth, including when they visit their constituents in luxury cars with security escorts.
And many people have pointed out that the parking lot at the House often resembles a luxury car lot.
Marzuki, though, says the critics are being unfair. “We can’t forbid people from becoming rich, we cannot. But if they enter the legislature, they should live like true representatives of the people,” he said.
But Adnan said lawmakers needed to learn how to take criticism. “They overreact to everything. This is a reflection of their oversensitivity,” he said.
Bambang Soesatyo, a vocal lawmaker from the Golkar Party who was independently wealthy before entering the legislature, however, said Busyro was on target in his criticism
“Public officials, including lawmakers, should not forget who elected them and not be lured by power,” he said.
Ruhut Sitompul, who was a successful lawyer before he became a lawmaker, said that although he had several luxury cars, he drove an Innova to work.
Ruhut also joked that he knew of several lawmakers who used public transportation before being elected and were now being driven around in luxury cars.
Mahfud, from the Constitutional Court, said the lure of the luxury lifestyle ended up snagging many lawmakers.
He said it was obvious that many members of the House suddenly found themselves awash in mansions, fast cars and financial assets after entering the legislature.
The problem, he said, is not the existing laws on corruption, but a decline in morality among the nation’s elected officials. If officials are corrupt, he said, they will find ways around anticorruption laws.
“It is true that not all lawmakers are like that. Bambang Soesatyo , for example, I know was already rich before. But many suddenly became rich after becoming lawmakers,” he said.
There is some sanity and logic, even justice, at the Indonesian courts after all. The Central Jakarta District Court has finally thrown out the case where the Police, in a fit of misplaced priorities and zealotry to enforce the Law, sought the prosecution of two men trying to resell a few iPads in Indonesia – on the lame excuse that they did not have manuals for using the iPad in Indonesian. What’s curious is which are the 40 listed items mentioned in the story below that are required by law to have Indonesian language manuals? Why is it so important for them to have Indonesian manuals? Or the more appropriate question in Indonesia: “Who stands to profit from translating the manuals and printing them in Indonesian?”
Central Jakarta District Court judges acquitted two men on Tuesday who were controversially charged with violating consumer protection laws after selling Apple iPads without Indonesian-language manuals.
“Based on expert testimony and an official letter issued by the Trade Ministry, the iPad is not among the 45 items that must have Indonesian-language manuals,” presiding judge Sapawi said.
Sapawi also said that since the two defendants were not distributors, importers or manufacturers, they were under no legal obligation to be certified. The prosecutors had accused the two of operating without certification.
The court ordered the return of the iPads in question and cleared the two men, Randy Lester Samu and Dian Yudha Negara, who had found themselves at the center of a storm of controversy since their arrests on Nov. 24, 2010, in a sting operation.
Policemen posing as buyers had responded to an advertisement on Kaskus, an online forum. Randy and Dian told police they bought the tablet computers in Singapore, but they were not able to produce customs papers.
Read More here.