Every human in this world is unique; no one is the same, even a twin. This difference, if it is united, makes our life colorful. However, it is also a very fragile thing. Had someone crack it only a bit, everything could be destroyed. Sometimes, some people hold the thoughts that they are right while others who do not share the same values are considered wrong. Unfortunately, these people, who judge someone wrong, do not want to know or hear something from the “wrong people”. Usually, we call this “Intolerance”. There are many forms of intolerance but in this article, I will tell you the most common form of intolerance that occurs in Indonesia.
Intolerance has been a serious issue in Indonesia. Before Indonesia became an Independent nation, European countries, especially the Dutch, who had occupied Indonesia for a long time, made Intolerance matter become worse, because of the social division which segregated the locals, the Chinese, and the Europeans. Thus, the racial issue has become a very sensitive thing in Indonesia until today. The definition of “indigenous” becomes unclear since some Indonesians suspect the Chinese or its descendants would harm the country although they have stayed in Indonesia for generations. The suspicion of some Indonesians over the Chinese and their descendents became worse and resulted in a big chaos. The 1998 riot is the witness of the brutality that comes from thinking; Many Chinese were persecuted, raped, or killed.
Another intolerance that is the most sensitive thing in Indonesia is religious intolerance. Most, or even all, of the Indonesian, are religious. Some of them even judge that people who do not believe in the same religion as him or her are wrong; in the worse case, they could say they (the people who do not believe in the same religion) are allowed to be killed. That is also one of the reasons why some radicals, who coincidently say they believe in Islam, commit suicidal bombardment incidents such as the one in Surabaya which killed a lot of Christians on the 13th of May 2018.
In the era of the second president, Soeharto, there was an enormous and sophisticated religious intolerance which was done by the government itself. At that time, Confucianism was not considered a religion in Indonesia. So, the people who believed in Confucianism had an administration problem, especially on making the ID card which required the column of religion they believed in. The Chinese also could neither read nor celebrate their holy day like the Chinese new year. Some people believe that this discrimination was the result of the G30S PKI incident, which was done by the communist. Coincidently, most of the Chinese and China is communist. Fortunately, in 2000, the discrimination was abolished by Gus Dur, the fourth Indonesian president. He thought that every Indonesian should be able to pray and believe in their religion freely.
Indonesia has various tribes scattered from Sabang (Sumatra) until Merauke (Papua). They live in harmony and unity. However, there is a possibility that they cannot clash and fight each other. One of the incidents was the Sampit conflict. In 2001, there was a bloody incident that involved two tribes: the Madura tribe and the Dayak tribe. There were some theories of the factors why these tribes had conflict. Some people said that the Madura tribe had dominated the economy in Borneo, which is the home of the Dayak tribe, due to the transmigration program. There was also an assault on some people of the Dayak tribe which was done by some people from the Madura tribe. The Dayak tribe felt threatened and fought the Madura tribe. Then, the others said that the incident was caused by the conflict of some students who have a race difference in a school.
Regardless of which theory is correct, this incident caused many people to be beheaded. The police and military could not do much because the conflict was massive. However, the police caught the official who provoked the conflict. The riot was also dissolved in the end.
Intolerance is dangerous, not only for the diversity in Indonesia but also around the world. We may be different in what we believe in or where we come from. However, in humanity, we have to support each other so that we can maintain peace in our society.