Where is The Voice?

Where is The Voice?

A  popular quote  says  ‘silence  is golden’. However, this quote is never a single truth. Silence oftentimes could backfire as with the case of violence. By being silent, violence could reproduce violence, and this self­repeating process will create a vicious circle. It is this destructive consequence of silence that really matters so that we need a lot more of voice against it.

Let us look at some cases of violation against freedom of religious expression, violation against minorities within the same religion or between religions in particular, that recently took place in Indonesia. These kinds of conflicts have plagued our country long before the fall of Soeharto regime, and the violation has been highly increasing since the reform (Setara 2012).

The 2011 Cikeusik tragedy is a case in point. Attacks on the Ahmadiyah followers bythe majority Muslim killed three people from Ahmadiyah. Surprisingly, only few people staged a protest against the killing ancf the legal. Even more surprisingly, decision the suspects were only sentenced three to six months in jail.

The 2012 Sampang tragedy is another relevant case to mention. One follower from the Syiah minority died in following attacks by the Sunni majority. The incident left several people wounded and many houses destroyed. As part of expression of solidarity, protests were immediately voiced but only bythefew.

The two examples and another similar set of events end up with a question: While a number of people together voiced the protest, where was the rest?

As we all know, every time we convince international audience, our message is clear: Indonesian brand of Islam  is  moderate  and  tolerant.

Unfortunately, the message circulates in the midst of constant act of violence against minority groups. As a consequence, the message gradually loses its credibility. It becomes even worse when the majority voice is repeatedly silent as isusuallythe case.

Being silent signals multiple interpretations: silence is a matter of lacking knowledge as to how to react to the committed violence, silence shows fear, silence simply means ignorance, or silence is equal to a neutral position – all of which imply negative impressions that can support violence. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “A ‘neutral’ position is tantamount to support of [violence]”.

Quite the opposite of the popular quote, silence in the perceptible state of violence is not golden. Rather, silence could bring the danger of violence reproduction. To avoid the danger, a mass voice of protest resistance must be made louder against those committed to the atrocities.

Giving voice to the elimination of violence, in many ways, could be a powerful weapon of a truth defender as demonstrated by the famous peaceful resistance of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King or other uncovered success stories of non-violent protests by ordinary people around the globe. So, the message is made clear and bold: break the silence and resist!


Titik Firawati, MA

Program on Peace Building and Violent Radicalism (PILAR)
Instituteof International Studies, UGM


Sumber: http://iis.fisipol.ugm.ac.id
September 2012 |  Volume 10 | Issue 4

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