Box 1 – Indonesian CSOs – Blooming activism
suara dibungkam, kritik dilarang tanpa alasan
dituduh subversif dan mengganggu keamanan
maka hanya ada satu kata: lawan!
… at the time ideas are rejected undeliberately
voices are silenced, criticisms are suppressed without reasons,
accused as subversive and as a threat to the security,
then there is only one word: resist!
“Peringatan” (Warning), Wiji Thukul, 1986,
translated by Idaman Andarmosoko, 2006
Through his poems Wiji Thukul put moral fibre into the civil society movements in Indonesia in the heightened period of transition to democracy in 1996-1998. But he was among the casualties of the movement. He disappeared and was allegedly murdered in a military attack against a labour protest in late 1997. But his spirit never dies. His famous line ’hanya ada satu kata, lawan!’ (there is only one word, resist!) became his memorial and legacy to the reformasi generation, i.e. those who were part of the social movement aiming at political reform and democratisation in Indonesia (Curtis, 2000). The line is still often seen in pamphlets and posters of various demonstrations today. Thukul is certainly a hero, not only to the particular labour movement that he came from, but also to a broad spectrum of civil society movements in the country. Many other activists ended up like Thukul, missing and presumed murdered. But they represented what civil society in Indonesia wanted: democracy, political reform, freedom from oppression, and participation political and developmental decision making.
What do the dynamics of CSOs in Indonesia today look like?
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