by Andre Vltchek and Rossie Indira
LUBP Editorâ€™s Note: While this article is about the ongoing pogroms against Indonesian Shia Muslims by Takfiri Salafists, there are many stark resemblances to the situation in Pakistan. For instance, money from Gulf countries that is funnelled to scores of mosques and madrassas in Indonesia has been a primary factor in anti-Shia bigotry and violence against Shias in Indonesia. Similarly, in Indonesia, authoritarian rule has also encouraged and fostered the growth of Salafist extremists who feel that killing Shia Muslims is part of a divine agenda. The surrounding of a Shia village in Indonesia and subsequent massacres is eerily similar to the anti-Shia pogroms against Gilgiti, Pashtun and Hazara Shias by the ISI-backed and Gulf funded Taliban and Jihadi militias.
What is different about this situation is that this report is far more honest than much of what is published by Pakistanâ€™s main stream media and human rights organization. Barring the last report on Shia Genocide by HRCP and the odd newspaper column, there has been either deafening silence, obfuscation or outright dishonesty in highlighting this crucial issue.
If Pakistanâ€™s civil society, government, political groups and media can raise their voices about the ill treatment of the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar, why is there no similar outrage on the mass killings of Indonesiaâ€™s Shia Muslims? Perhaps all of us know the answer to this double standard!
As darkness hastily falls on the heart of Madura Island, uniquely shaped traditional wooden houses and hamlets begin to throw long shadows in an eastward direction. Traffic, which during the day is extremely light by Indonesian standards, is now ceasing entirely. Just a few noisy scooters remain on the road, avoiding the poor peasants slowly dragging their tired feet home from the fields.
Almost no one here speaks Bahasa Indonesiaâ€“ the official language that was supposed to unite this sprawling archipelago, during and after the declaration of independence from the ruthless Dutch colonial rulers. The local languages and dialects are unfortunately unintelligible to all three of us â€“ occupants of the car. Even our driver, a native from Surabaya, the second largest Indonesian city which is spreading its suburbs on the opposite shore right across the narrow strait, and only a few minutes ferry ride from Madura, understands close to nothing when the natives speak.
We ask for directions, we receive unintelligible answers; we donâ€™t know whether we are on the right track.
But then the powerful lights penetrate the dusk, and we see dozens of police trucks, like ghosts, appearing from nowhere, at the side of the road.
â€œWhere are you going?â€
There is no point in pretending. We are going toâ€¦, we are searching for the Shiâ€™a village, a hamlet, called Nangkernang that was recently attacked, and savagely destroyed by local Sunni religious bigots.
â€œIt is not safe and you canâ€™t go thereâ€, explains an officer who appears to be in charge. â€œAnd it is farâ€¦â€ He waves his hand; he waves ahead, somewhere towards the great distance.
We talk, we argue, but security forces are giving us clear orders: We can drive straight on, but without leaving the main road.
At the next village, we ask and miraculously we are understood. We are told that the path to the destroyed village begins right where the police vans are parked. â€œThey lied to you. Just leave the car here, rent two motorbikes and one local guide and go backâ€.
We do exactly that. We hire two shaky scooters, one driven by a kid who could not be older than fourteen, and the other one, by an old man. Our lights are turned off and we manage to pass unnoticed near the police post. Then we turn into a tight path between two rice fields. There is a narrow, wooden, half destroyed bridge and a creek below: all of that could be sensed in almost absolute darkness, but hardly seen. From here we have to abandon our stinky two-wheelers and walk.
The village is called Nangkernang, Karang Gayam, and the nearest city is Sampang, a one hour drive away, and on the coast. To our surprise, the village has at least some weak and unsteady supply of electricity.
We are expected here. Reluctantly we all introduce ourselves.
Then we are shown the devastation: dozens of houses totally ruined, burned down. And these were not just some small houses, but entire hamlets. The nearest house is right in front of a small wooden platform where we sit and talk, and it used to belong to a Shiâ€™a imam.
Pak (Mr) Sinal, is a man of about 50 years old, who speaks to us, hesitantly:
â€œI myself am a Shiâ€™a, but now I keep it hushed. There are approximately 50 houses belonging to Shiâ€™a people that were burned and destroyed on 26 August 2012. One person died after being attacked with a machete. From what I know, one family, that of Ustadz Tajul, was driving in a minivan to Sampang jail. On the way, they were harassed by a group of Sunnis. The family decided to return, but the gang followed them all the way to the village. One of the perpetrators called for reinforcements and soon more than one thousand people gathered, and eventually attacked the Shiâ€™a community. They burned and destroyed houses here, they killed and injured people.â€
Just as the children and adults were beginning to relax, a man walked briskly up towards the platform. Everyone fell silent. The village is mixed: Sunni and Shia, living side by side. In August, it was the locals, not just those coming from outside, that attacked their neighbors.
On the way back to Surabaya, the driver begins telling a long and complicated tale about two brothers, two imams â€“ one Shia and one Sunni. The Sunni imam apparently fell in love with a girl from a local boarding Shia school. His brother interfered and married the girl off to a boy of her own age.
â€œThe Sunni imam was so angry, that he began agitating the crowd against his own brother, and the violence erupted.â€
I have covered enough conflicts all over Indonesia, to know their simple and true causes â€“ racism, intolerance and bigotry â€“ are never accepted here. There is always some â€˜unpaid bus fareâ€™, just as in Ambon, or an obscure love story, or at least a bunch of â€˜provocateursâ€™ triggering violence.
The reality is simple and terrible: since the 1960s, Indonesia has lived through at least 3 genocides: that of 1965/66, in which between 2 and 3 million people died as a result of the Western-backed military coup against President Sukarno and the moderate and constitutional PKI (the Communist Party of Indonesia, which was widely expected to win the elections), the genocide in East Timor, in which approximately 30% of the local people lost their lives, and the ongoing genocide in West Papua.
The religion of the majority played a decisive role in all these â€˜eventsâ€™. In 1965, as was confirmed by our friend, the former progressive President of Indonesia, Abdurrahman Wahid (â€˜Gus Durâ€™), the religious cadres joined the military in an indiscriminate slaughter of â€˜atheistsâ€™; killing members of the PKI, intellectuals and members of the Chinese minority. East Timor and Papua, two Christian and animist nations had been put through forced Islamization and unimaginable discrimination and horrors. Papua is suffering; literally bleeding into extinction, until this very day.
But the West insists that Indonesia is a â€˜tolerantâ€™ nation, and even an example that should be followed by the leaders of the Arab Spring.
Who can ever forget the memorable phrase that Hilary Clinton dropped, while visiting Indonesia, in the same period when the secularists were being assaulted and beaten by the Islamic Defenderâ€™s Front, in front of the idle police standing by, as sharia law was unconstitutionally imposed on several pockets of West Java and elsewhere, as the members ofAhmadiyah sect were being murdered, churches burnt, and non-Muslims brutally attacked, harassed and punished for their beliefs, all over the archipelago: â€œIf you want to know if Islam, democracy, modernity and womenâ€™s rights can coexist, go to Indonesia.â€
Why would she utter such unfounded chimeras?
The answer is obvious: because the West in general and the US in particular, are infinitely grateful to this fourth most populous country on earth; grateful for murdering the Communists and members of Chinese minority, for murdering intellectuals, artists, and teachers.
[besieged Shiite teachers]Grateful to the Indonesian religious cadres that went to fight the Soviet Union and its client secular government in Afghanistan (who in the West would even imagine tolerating women in Kabul being educated and empowered under Russian rule?), joining the Mujahedin, Pakistanijihadis and intelligence forces, as well as foreign legionnaires paid for by the West (including those embryonic cells of the future Al Qaida); all united and most of them stoned, putting an end to the only relatively hopeful period of modern Afghan history, while helping to bleed the USSR to extinction, militarily and financially!
And let us not forget how grateful the West is to the Indonesian people for allowing their natural resources to be plundered by multi-national companies, and by their own corrupt elites!
What would the West do without obedient countries like Indonesia: how could it maintain its ridiculously high level of consumption and its standard of living? And isnâ€™t obedience a basis of any religious and feudal society?
In Indonesia there is a clear paradox: most of the people think that the country is tolerant and moderate; they are quoting Western politicians and Western mass media. In the meantime the number of deaths caused by intolerance and bigotry is mounting.
â€œThe problem with the majority of Indonesian Muslims is that they donâ€™t have their own opinion. They follow what their leaders say, or follow what the Qurâ€™an says, or what the hadiths say. They donâ€™t exercise critical thinking at all. Therefore, when their leaders say; we are moderate and tolerant followers of Islam, most of the believers will say yes and think that is the caseâ€, explained Noor Huda Ismail, Muslim thinker, analyst and an author of the book â€œMy Friend a Terroristâ€.
(To be continued) (Courtesy: Criticalppp.com)
by Andre Vltchek and Rossie Indira