“newly democratic country” criteria.
I have been living in the transitions of democratic system with full consideration. I remember how it felt to live in a country with only one TV channel, without bad news, then I lived the day when I got the questions about the human right violations in East Timor without ever knowing that it did happen, I remember how some seniors disappeared from my campus since they were suspected to be part of subversive movements, I still remember the day when the students rushed to the street and yelled for democracy, I worked for election observation missions to observe how the elections in 2004 were conducted in the standard of democracy, then nowadays I see people destroy things without accepting any blames in the name of democracy…
I felt fine to live in the first democracy concept that I knew. All I knew until I was 15 was that democracy means the freedom to practice what we believe. When the democratic countries at that time said that the Indonesians lived in dictatorship, I used to be proud of the freedom that we, the Indonesians had to practice our religions. I am still proud of it until now. I haven’t found any other country that provides public holidays for all religious feasts. In Indonesia we have many religious holidays, Eid El Fitri, Eid El Adha, Mauleed, or Isra’ Mi’raj for the moslems, Christmas and Easter for the Chirstians, Galungan for the Hindus, Vesak for the Buddhist…I believe that it’s great. I see that even the countries that always say that they are democratic don’t have this kind of respect.
I believe that some people might say that they don’t need those holidays because of their secularism principles. But hey, if those democratic countries would like to be 100% secular to be democratic, why do they have holidays for Easter and Christmas?
I remember how people from old democratic countries like to criticize how Indonesians deal with “minority groups”. They heard, I think impartial information about Indonesia, and they don’t mirror themselves to the minority groups exist in their own country. Somehow even I asked them to clarify the definitions of minority, discrimination and injustice when they started to judge. Somehow they countered back by mentioning that I don’t understand anything about the discrimination due to my tribe-which is the major tribe in Indonesia, and my religion, which is the major religion in Indonesia… but they can’t see it as black and white analogy… I had the experiences of being discriminated when I was in the community that the outsiders call as “minority”…
I was proud of the peaceful country where I lived when the world outside said that Indonesian military breached the human right concepts in some of their missions… In one side I feel ashamed and sorry of it. But in the other side, hello, world… is there any military institutions, or any government, that wouldn’t react frontally to beat the militias? Open up our eyes… and we can see that even some countries’ military institutions massacre the people in other countries to save their own nations….
Spies and intelligence agencies are everywhere even in more modern countries they are well-equipped with modern infrastructures to smell the possibilities of subversive actions…
So which one should we call as democratic countries now?
If democracy is considered only as the people’s voice… are we all being heard?
Do we all live in impartiality?
Do we all feel the freedom?
Do we obtain feel the fairness?
Do we all have access to the media?
Do we all get the universal franchise in any fields of life?
….. and many others questions to remind that democracy is actually an absurd concept. It is too narrow to derive democracy in several tiny (and sometimes insignificant) points.
Democracy is the system with conditional exceptions. There are always grey intersections in any ideal concepts, where they have to melt somehow in some values of other concepts, where even the right wings are not 100% right and the left wings are not 100% left. There is no place that can adopt 100% concept that can run well in other place. There must be exceptions. Above all, the most important thing is that the people feel comfortable with any concepts declared by the states.
Maybe I misunderstood the democracy. But what is pathetic in my eyes is when democracy becomes the excuses for undemocratic actions. I’m tired of the physical or white collar brutality performed in the name of democracy. So let me call it democrazy to represent the out of control, out of mind democracy…
And now, let’s talk about the LOW enforcement that replaces the LAW enforcement. It’s really tiring to figure it out again. Bribery, corruption, nepotism are everywhere. Some significant laws and regulations haven’t been made here, while the insignificant and hypocrite law is regulated. It’s confusing to see it, and I don’t feel secure in this state. I still see many corruptors who stole billions of people’s money live in wealth while people who just stole a bike lived in jail for months. I have no other comment: the law enforcement is still in the low standard.
I collected some books written when my country was in transitions that we call as reforms. I saw so many hopes there.
Now I have only three examples of minimum pairs, but they are already very complicated.
I just wish that I still alive when one day I would hear people say, “Indonesia is a FUNtastic country!”