Many Indonesians and friends of Indonesia are understandably angry at the sentencing of Ahok to two years jail for blasphemy.
But to where or whom should this anger be directed at?
At Bu Yani whose mistranslation started the whole blasphemy charges? He was only an inconsequential pawn in the game.
At the Islamic radicals who have bayed for Ahok’s blood? They were only being themselves, just as it is in the nature of a scorpion to sting.
At the prosecutors who indicted Ahok when there should be no grounds to do so? They were minnows who caved under pressure.
At the judge who delivered the verdict? Again a minnow who could not stand up to the enormous forces at play.
At the Police who cannot seemingly enforce the law and arrest protesters even for small crimes? They take their cue from higher powers.
At the mysterious forces arrayed against Jokowi? They are formidable but not invulnerable, certainly not if they faced the wrath of a president.
At the Military that is purported conspiring with the mysterious forces? They are pledged to remain loyal to the Commander-in-Chief, aka The president.
Yep, no matter how you look at it, all signs point to The President if you ask what and to whom should the anger be directed at.
Now about the President: Jokowi has been enjoying a honeymoon all this while, especially among the self-perceived progressive Indonesians, precisely the type of people who have been supporting Ahok. Jokowi enjoys their support, or failing that, their looking the other way when he fails to live up to his obligations as a president. And why not? After all he’s one of the very few honest men in government, he’s humble and likable.
This disarms the progressives and blinds them to the inadequacies of the man who, frankly, has been disastrous as a president where the upholding of liberties, human rights and the law is concerned. Jokowi is the only man in a position to set the tenor of law enforcement, yet he does nothing, so the Police do not know how much to exercise their power.
The result: wishy washy handling of protesters and FPI typed who flagrantly break the law and do not go punished. This builds in them a sense of impunity.Out of small crimes they graduate to bigger ones because they know they can get away with it. This emboldens them.
And even when the Police act, as in those treason cases, they take forever to process the cases. Justice delayed, as they say, is justice denied. Again it reinforces the sense of impunity.
This has allowed the hardline Muslims to take ever bolder steps to press for what they want, to flout the law and eventually to start dictating to the government.
It is time that the progressive Indonesians wake up to the fact that their skinny President has no clothes and rightly direct their anger and pressure at him. On his scrawny shoulders lies the fate of Indonesia. No one else has the power and the influence that he can yield. The least he can do is to set the tone and manner of how the law should be enforced in such a way that all and sundry understand that enough is enough. It is time to toe the line or face the consequences.
if he can do this he can still bring Indonesia from the precipice that it is slouching toward. If he can’t then we’ll be watching Indonesia descend into chaos, bigotry, intolerance, violence and a tyranny of the boorish.