On Aug. 18, 2018. I was with Dad at GBK Stadium, we have been fortunate sufficient you purchased two passes to look at the opening rite of the Asian Games stay.
Around us fellow Indonesians were guffawing, sharing snacks, singing alongside, or crying with delight. All over social media structures, different Indonesians watching on TV have been posting comparable feelings.
Despite all the typical political and sectarian conflicts, that night and the following weeks we had been all one. We had been all proud Indonesians.
Fast ahead a year. All hell is breaking unfastened in a handful of cities throughout Java and Papua.
What began out as a kerfuffle among a small organization of Papuan college students marching for a rally in opposition to some other small institution of Malang residents in East Java escalated inside days to a racism-tinged siege at a Papuan college students’ dorm within the province’s capital Surabaya then backlash riots in opposition to government symbols in the Papuan towns of Sorong, Manokwari and Fak-fak.
The trendy tendencies noticed more troops deployed to Papua and the Communications and Information Ministry suspending the cellular telephone carrier in Papua.
Meanwhile, (paid) buzzers of each camp claw every different on social media, easily forgetting that only 12 months ago we felt oh-so-brotherly-and-sisterly with one another.
I am one of those people who believe the backlash became mainly fueled by way of the racist slurs heard in a widely circulated video. I am additionally one in every of folks who will come forward to acknowledge that racism in opposition to our own brethren is nothing new.
A lot of Malays populating western Indonesia have lengthy proven varying stages of racism in the direction of Melanesians within the united states of america’s eastern zones.
Unsavory jokes about dark pores and skin and curly hair are a staple heard due to the fact my adolescence, on a par with anecdotes approximately Chinese slanted eyes. My parents abhorred the one’s jokes and were adamant about me not repeating them, but many different adults were no longer as considerate. In truth, I am pretty positive many children who unfold those jokes first heard them from adults.
As I grew older the anecdotes took an extra sinister flip; that eastern Indonesians have been best precise for work related to guide labor, with a sprint of violence if important.
I even have met businessmen who bragged approximately hiring Flores bodyguards (considered more powerful than their Ambonese opposite numbers), best to be out-bragged by other businessmen pronouncing they have got Papuan muscle of their pockets.
At some factor the anecdotes stopped became asterisks and became familiar into the collective judgment of right and wrong — so much in order that a Papuan with a graduate diploma in sociology from a top Indonesian college who I met in Kaimana a few years ago advised me that not most effective become he no longer spared the demeaning stereotypes, at a few factors he surely needed to answer “testing” questions simply to prove he was an academic and not a mafia heavy.
Admit it, many Indonesians see our eastern brothers this way. As for our eastern sisters? There turned into as soon as a Timorese woman in my college who through the second one semester straightened her voluminous curls simply to escape the garden variety hair jokes, the “Gadis Sunsilk” image in those years become of straight, lengthy and “tender” locks.
Yet, on every occasion, the problem of the Free Papua Movement resurfaced, enough Indonesians abruptly felt they needed to upward push, voice objections and cite the loss of Timor Leste. It is flippant, haughtily privileged and as infantile as moody teenagers who do no longer deal with their boy/lady friend proper however get all upset while the stated boy/female friend asks a person else to dance.