Letter to Jokowi

Sunday 27 July 2014, by Zely Ariane

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Welcome to our struggle, Brother.

This morning I read your first speech as the President of the Republic of Indonesia. Surely it was a more daring speech than we’re used to hear from SBY. I’m glad it was you who received the majority vote from the people, because the other one shouldn’t have made it as presidential candidate from the start. Unfortunately, he too received quite a lot of votes from the people.

Brother, the presidential elections may be over, and you advise your supporters, people from all walks of life, to return to their everyday activities, to work as usual. Indeed, Brother, the past 2 months have drained the energies of everyone who has been involved in these elections, but for the majority of the people the problems of living have drained their energies much longer than that, in particular those people who are fighting misery every day. At this moment, not few among them, after throwing their support behind you, Brother, cannot yet return in peace. They still have to and continue to struggle because their employer has not yet paid out their holiday bonus; their work contract has been terminated before the end of the fasting month; the cement factory has not yet retreated from Rembang [local residents have resisted the factory and have been violently repressed for their protests, red.]; the Mobile Brigade has not yet been penalized for their violent repression of farmers and residents of the Jambe Bay in Karawang [the site of a land dispute between residents and a real estate development company, red.]; commodity prices continue to rise and the transport fares for returning home during the Eid holidays can hardly be afforded from the meagre holiday bonus; the Shiite refugees will not be spending Eid in their home country; and the Ahmadiyah community cannot perform the fasting month in peace. Then there are the activists and victims of human rights violations who are still demanding that human rights violators shall not happily go about their holidays free from justice, and shall not angrily demand a re-election. All of them, the people fighters, still continue to fight, Brother. They cannot yet return to their work in peace.

Brother, politics should indeed be joyful. But not in a society where those with money and weapons are in control, where the justice system does not yet protect those without money and allows a free pass to those committing violence against women, forever asking patience and tolerance from those in difficulty while those with money are given concessions. There is no political joy in a situation like that. If there is, it is a hope, which has not yet become reality.

Brother, the politics of liberation that you mentioned last night has major, wonderful consequences if you have the courage to carry it through. It takes someone with an attitude that sides with the majority of the people who experience violation of their human right for a reasonable life and to obtain justice; someone that hears all protest, input, claims of history, of those who have long fought injustice and oppression; that speaks up loud and clearly not against us but against the World Bank, IMF, ADB, the heads of state of superpower countries, trans- and multinational corporations, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Indonesian Employers Association, as well as the state administration; that takes courageous action to control those in control of wealth and policy, and defends the ordinary worker. The politics of liberation is a means to fulfill the virtuous ideals of the constitution, and to add those ideals still lacking in the constitution. The mental revolution that you offer us, Brother, will not come to anything without a politics of liberation.

Brother, a struggle lies ahead. There is no harm in doing this joyfully, but time does not allow us the luxury and much rest to feel it. Indonesian Unity will come after a just and civilized humanity. When all our humanity is being robbed by the power of the wealthy, by generals controlling weapons, by the richest corporations in the world, by global monetary institutions that are dictating our economy, then the true unity of Indonesia must still be fought for. We cannot unite with the corrupt elite, human rights violators, and criminal corporations. For too long have the people made sacrifices and lived in misery for them.

As you say yourself, Brother: let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work, like us who have never rolled down our sleeves, or even had decent clothing, because we are always at work. Work harder, Brother, so do we. Draw clear lines, Brother, because those who have cast their vote on you do not want to live in peace and harmony with the corruptors and human rights criminals. Put them to jail immediately. If you do not yet have the courage, Brother, we will resist even harder.

If you know, Brother, that you find yourself in a crocodile nest, then you shall not lend your ear more towards the crocodiles. New channels of hearing have already been opened by your volunteers; a new footpath has already been opened by people who struggle around you and in the world. Now, Brother, it is time for you to choose: who will you hear and where will you step your feet?

We cannot, we will not, wait for too long.

A two feet greetings.