i have a rule when it comes to blogging: keep the space neutral, do not engage in political discussions or any kind of debate. not being passive, but i always want my space to be a neutral space, where people can catch a break from all the discussions/debate about serious things and just have fun and share the love with each other. no matter how important the issue is to me, i always managed to keep myself in check to stay out of it. but after today’s events, i don’t think i can stay silent anymore.
note: before we start, this is a post that is written at the heat of the moment, hence the scattered thoughts and overly emotional feelings. feel free to disagree, but please do it in a polite way as i don’t think i can take any more over-negativity today. this is going to be a long post, so feel free to read until the end, close the web in disgust, or think about what i’m saying.
in case you didn’t know what happened today, here’s a summary: 3 churches were bombed this morning in surabaya, killing 13 people (so far) and wounded many others. these attacks were done in succession, and by the same family. they even involved their 2 daughters age 12 and 9.
a lot of you may thing “she only speaks up because the issue is personal”. whatever. i don’t care. i am a christian, yes, but this is not because of religion. here are my reasons, in this particular order:
a) surabaya is the city that i visit EVERY YEAR because my dad’s hometown is nearby and last year, i spent 3 months there all by myself. i, who had been pretty sheltered at the point, experienced severe homesick during the first week that i couldn’t sleep or eat. at the end of my stay, i made amazing friends, can explore things on my own, even developed love for cooking. this city holds so many precious memories for me, but in general it was one of the best cities in my country. the people are so friendly and open, the prices are cheap, the city are neatly arranged. everything might change after this, the city is currently in fear. my relatives told me that all churches are cancelled and closed, and no one even dared to step out of their houses.
b) THERE ARE CHILDREN. the mother attacked one church with them, the father attacked the other, and the brothers attacked the last one. they all strapped the bomb to themselves. and one of them managed to survive, the 12 year old girl, even though her stomach was destroyed when the bomb went off. can you imagine what she will been through, when she regained her consciousness? she will be questioned about her parents role, organizations, anything she knew about. no one, not even relatives, will accept her and guide her back to the community*. she will either realize her wrongs and live with unbearable regrets, or she will continue down that path. either way, her parents made her life hell, before she can choose to make her own path.
*i said this because i’ve seen so many cases in my country where if someone commits a horrible crime, say a terrorism or serial killer, even though the family accept them back, they will be isolated. if they came back dead, the community won’t even let their body buried nearby.
c) it’s a fucking church. i know muslims are the majority in this country, but damn it man, we are not your religion’s enemy. it’s getting ridiculous, especially in indonesia. do you know how hard for minorities here to get a permit to build their praying sites? do you know how hard it is for us to congregate? do you know that every christmas and easter, we have to call the police/military to guard the mass? do you know how hard it is for us minorities, to get into the political scene just because of our religion/ethnicity? or even public school, without the fear of being bullied or persecuted? it’s sunday, we just celebrated the ascension and you guys are ready to welcome ramadhan. can we just stop? why can’t we do our thing and you do your thing? not only for my country, but for EVERYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD. my religion is not your fucking business. whether i go to heaven or hell is something i have to decide for myself.
my last point seems to blame the muslims, but i don’t. i honestly don’t. indonesia is the largest muslim country, if the people are terrorist, then we all be dead. but we don’t. in fact, a lot of people come out to help the victim. help guarding the churches and masses. help blocking the way. giving all the help they could. they hated the terrorists and did not admit them as part of islam, which is true. the islam that i know, the ones i saw from my friends, are kind, peaceful, and forgiving. terrorists are not islam, they are a group of people who act in their own interest but bringing the religion and in the process, tainted it. but they are not islam, and they will never be.
every time an attack is happening, i see a lot of people saying “i am a muslim and i condemn them. this is not islam. i offer sincerest condolences/help/prayer”. while i appreciate the sentiment, i prefer if you guys would do something. minorities voices are hard to hear, but as majorities, you guys have more voices and power than us. use it with your peers, show them that terrorism is not the way. i have friends whose parents/uncles are part of the radicalism movement. none of them ever try to talk with them to try and change their mind.
and i understand that talking don’t always solve anything. if the world problems can be solved by talking, the world will be a safe place now since all our politicians can do is talk. my point is, as part of the community, use your voice. just because they have different views than yours does not mean you can wash your hands clean from their actions. do i blame you? no. but as part of the community, you have the responsibility to use your knowledge of the teaching, your voice, and your influence. ask them where does the religion teaches terrorism as a way to heaven. ask them where does killing fits with the teaching.
this responsibility does not only apply for act of terrorism. if you’re a man, wearing/tweeting a #metoo or #timesup hashtag, or talk publicly about equal pay is not enough. do something concrete. actually ASK for an equal pay, use your influence in your workplace. stop guys who are hitting on girls who are truly uncomfortable, don’t let things escalate. if you are the majority in europe/us, use your power to stop harrasment to muslim women who wears hijab or burqa. speak up for your fellow poc, lgbt+, disable, or other community at the disadvantage. i will start speaking up from now on, as being silent has caused too much harm and i will not be silent anymore.
before we are boxed into certain categories, we are all human. we are born human, without any labels on us
(except gender). so why is it so hard for us to act as human, to our fellow human being who just fighting for their basic human rights of living, working, praying, having a good time, or even marrying?
am i ignorant? yes, there are so many things i don’t know yet and things that i have to learn. but i also don’t see other people speaking up about this, except for the usual “i’m ____ and i offer my pray” tweets. i appreciate the sentiment, but if you don’t do something, nothing will ever change.
tl;dr: you, all of you, especially people from the majority group, have the responsibility to use your voice and give concrete example to make a change.
update (14/05 11.37 am): so far there has been 5 bombings. the first 3 in the churches, the other 2 were in police stations.