Indonesia is now celebrating its 66th independence anniversary. Everyone celebrates it in such annual euphoria. The flag has been raised in every yard of every school, office, and other governmental buildings since the early of August. People are busy commencing competition which called as Tujuhbelasan. Stages are set up, children’s running around chasing each other with their happy face since it is a day-off and they are free to join the competition of tujuhbelasan, there are many prizes to win, neighbor who previously don’t know each other seems to blend in in the party.
August 17th is the most anticipated day for children and people who sell flags, standing banner, or any other independence-day attribute. I was part of this euphoria when I was a kid. But now after I can see world no longer from kid’s point of view, all of these celebrations tasted bitter in the corner of my mouth. Forgive my impudence, but for me this celebration is more like ritual rather than a reminiscent of our heroes who fought for our independence. The essence of independence itself is become an intertwined, misleading concept. People only focus on history and ignore the now situation. They think that Indonesia is set free from colonialism in August 17, 66 years ago. I admit, it is a beautiful memory that’s worth remembering. But will you look at this country which has too many problems with a big proud smile on your face?
Indonesia has too many problems with independence issues. We are the largest archipelago country in the world. There are a lot of natural resources that spread beneath the earth and sea in Indonesia which waiting to be harvested and enrich the people in Indonesia itself. The bitter fact that is happen today is only a few of our natural resource can be used for our people needs. Government sells the authority of fishing, logging, and mining to foreigner. Our people who want to take a bit of our natural resources are treated like thieves. Yes government is really hard on people who did not pay for something. Even if they are our own family which protected by the so-called Bhinneka Tunggal Ika. Bhinneka Tunggal Ika is merely a myth, the implementation of this myth is out of question. It only occurs to certain people with certain amount of money.
Working class are also did not have chance to experience the taste of independence. Blue-collars worker were paid under the standard of salary. Indonesia is one of the biggest countries which provide labor with under-minimum wage. It is no wonder they called us the third world. Big companies built their manufacture industry in this country. They made their product in here which later export it and then label it as if it’s their product. They pay less for the production cost and they sell more expensive in their country. People are blinded by the brand. They are addicted to wear something with a big brand on it. Media are contributing to lead our people into a consumptive life style. They pay more for product that should be tagged with cheaper price. And it was made in here, in Indonesia. Not to mention our professional who gain less respect than expatriate who also have skill and intelligence at the same level. People are indoctrinated by the thought that expatriates are able to do better than the local ones. It is disgraceful. We trust foreigners easily and considered local ones as second opinion. So where’s the implementation of the fifth Pancasila principle that represents social justice for all the people of Indonesia?
Indonesia is physically independent in 1945. They succeeded to declare proclamation when Japan was forced to go back to their country due to the atom bombing in their country. Indonesian might be smiling for their independence over Japan 66 years ago but not today when so many children and adults in primitive area are not free from illiteracy. Illiteracy has caused so many problems to them who suffer it. They would be easily manipulated and intimidated. That is what happen to people in Papua when Freeport crawling on and digging their golden earth with big excavator machines. Although government has education program which seems to cover the entire illiteracy problem, those plans are remain as plans, without materialization. The government who did not take education seriously did not discourage certain people at Indonesia Mengajar, a program which found by Anies Baswedan, to educate people in primitive area. The aim is clear, to relieve local people from illiteracy. A program like this is what we need and should be taken as an example to build a wholly independent country.
Above all, I hope this post will increase awareness of our people. There are so many aspects in Indonesia which are not entirely free from repression. Yes we have to gratefully celebrate our independence day to reminiscing our heroes’ effort to set this country free from colonialism but we shall not close our eyes from another form of repression that happens today in this country. Let’s not forget that the essence of independence is free from any kind of bad dominance. MERDEKA!