Monday, 22 November 2010

Bungklang Bungkling: Radikal (Radicalism) by Wayan Juniartha

Taken from ‘Bungklang Bungkling’, ‘Radikal’, a column by I Wayan Juniartha, published in Bali Post, Sunday 14th November 2010. Translated by Putu Semiada

Radikal (Radicalism)

Everyone is talking quietly: they are discussing a hot issue.

“I heard that Muslim students are given lessons about ‘jihad’ during their religion class,” says I Made Simpang Siur (I Made Talk Cheap).

When there is a hot issue, it is I Made who knows what’ ups. It makes sense as he spends most of his time hanging around and he gossips a lot.

Even though the news has not yet been confirmed, everyone has started discussing it seriously. Gossiping is popular here. They don’t like discussing news that is based on fact.

What is there to discuss if everything is clear?

“The government should take proper action. Why do they teach young children about violence, holy war, defending religious belief and fight others in the name of God,” comments I Wayan Pengamat Sosial, Budaya dan Pendidikan (I Wayan Social, Culture and Education observer).

Everyone laughs when they hear I Wayan’s comment: He always gives comments when people discuss certain topics. At the end of discussions, they always blame the government.

“As a matter of fact, our government talks but no action: they are very slow in taking decision.”

You cannot expect them to take fast and straight action,” says I Putu Sing Pati Rungu (I Putu Do not Care At All).

The government only started making teams, arranging meetings and do coordination two days after the big tsunami in Mentawai. Due to their unprofessional action, one of them team member was even left off by the boat which left for Mentawai.

Due to their slow actions, the suspected and jailed tax corruptor Gayus went to Bali for holiday.

“If we don’t take any immediate action, this will become a big problem. The students will become radical people when they are grown up, or even terrorists,” adds I Made.

Everyone nods: they seem very excited as their hearts beat faster when they discuss about radicalism, terrorism, and they want to take immediate action.

Only I Putu gives no comment.

“I think all religions teach about violence and fight in the name of God or defend the truth through violence,” he says.

Hindu students are also taught about the heroism of Arjuna and Bima in battle, from the Bharatayudha and Ramayana. Both stories talk about heroism, about defending one’s own country, about killing enemies. The stories also tell how countless human, demons, monkey and other ground spirits are killed. What do you call that kind of violence? Isn’t that based on religious beliefs?

“I think each religion has its violent side: just as they compete against one another. One religion claims to be the oldest and greatest one, the other claims as the best one and one even claims as the most humanitarian one.”

“Even if you are not violent to other people whose religion is different from yours, but when you think that your religion is the best and others are worse, isn’t that violence too? Or radicalism?

Everyone nods.

“Radicalism or violence occurs when you think only yourself right and you have many followers. If we Hindus think our religion has been insulted, we might become radicals; or were we to become the biggest religion in Indonesia, there might be a possibility that we would oppress other religions,” says I Putu.

“Like now, even though we are still not in the majority at the moment, we still often oppress our own people. Some people even say that Balinese Hindu is a ‘wrong’ religion which needs to be reviewed and therefore should follow Indian’s Hindu.”

“Just let ‘radicalization’ become the Muslim’s business: You know there are more than 150 million Muslims in Indonesia, how many of them become terrorists do you think?

Why don’t we just ask ourselves if we have been good Hindus?”