Conveniently Forgotten

By Hakim Joe 

When the Japanese Imperial Army invaded this country in 1941, we had a common enemy that we fought against and later it was the British when the expectation of national independence was in the air. Right after independence, it was the Indonesians and subsequently it was communism.

In the four encounters as specified above, there was no reference to racial segregation. We fought as one, the people of this country united in the common struggle against oppression and tyranny. There were no special privileges, no “ketuanan” nonsense and certainly no racial lines to differentiate between these true heroes of the nation. 

What was forged in blood, sweat and tears are now shredded to pieces as we allow ourselves to forget our mutual legacy that was built on our fathers’ sacrifices through the manipulations and propaganda of those who rule amongst us. What was paid in blood is now carelessly and callously used by the sons of those who did the fighting to hold on to power, a position they think it is theirs by divine right. The privilege of serving the people is but a distant memory overwhelmed by the desire to exercise raw power over the people who put them there and from such lofty positions, they conveniently failed to recall the sacrifices of the real heroes who put them there. 

From such a position of power comes avarice. The greed for wealth and power. The greed for total control, for what that is not theirs and total suppression of anyone foolish enough to remind them of their humble roots. Not merely content with the subjugation of the common people or the accumulation of wealth beyond imagination, a few of them has attempted to start dynasties of their own to safeguard their positions and those of them without such a heritage resorted to playing the race card to enhance their stature and hence having a go at starting their own dynasties in the future. 

For the people who put these people in a position of power, greed and conceit plays a big part in their decision to doing so. Greed by means of the crumbs that was and is being thrown their way, and conceit through all these ketuanan business and special rights. Religion, they said, plays a big part but do tell me which religion teaches its disciples to seek special “unquestionable” privileges at the expense of other people? Oh yes, these people expediently forgot that what they receive are but what’s being forcibly taken from others and that ignorance does not make it proper or correct.

Religion is what they may want to believe that holds them together but it is not so. Religion is merely what these people opportunely use as a common platform to conduct their racist actions. “This country was ours from the beginning” they said and therefore the actions are justifiable, and yet we have sons of Indonesian immigrants who possess more rights than those who had called this nation their home for a few generations and of those whose forefathers have fought and died for the nation. Even the indigenous people, who by their birthright can claim this land as theirs by virtue of being here first, are slowly but surely being squeezed out, let alone what is happening to the minorities. 

When the rulers of the land, aka protectors of the faith, see fit to give support to a government that encourages racism as the means to retain power in a multiracial society, it shows the extent of moral and religious decay that is prevalent within the corridors of power in this nation. What their fathers fought for are but conveniently forgotten in the pursuit and retention of power and wealth. Are these the rulers (that keep demanding esteem and deference) what we need? Respect must be earned, never inherited. 

For this country to advance forward, the actions and legacies of those who have gone before us must be revered and remembered. As there was no racial segregation when the people were called up in defense of the country, there should be none now and for those who insist on using the race card to separate the people of the nation, they must be brought to justice as enemies of the state and dealt with appropriately. Failure to doing so would only grant incentive to the younger generation of leaders to follow in the same footsteps of their corrupt elders and dishonor our ancestors and debase all their sacrifices.