The good news is this surprising split more and more Indonesians do. They may stuff their private life with ever more religion but at the same time remove it from their political party-preference.
I should have liked to congratulate Indonesia on these developments. If only I could have believed voters have second thoughts about political Islam, the threat of FPI vigilantes and looming Shariah law. But actually I’m afraid traditional secular, well nationalist parties, rather have veered so much to Islamic agendas that they therefore make religion based parties superfluous in the electorate’s perception. In other words you need no PKS ( the Indonesian variant of the Muslim Brotherhood) if their secular counterparts in many ways speak ( and act) their mind.
As a matter of fact I’m afraid the predominant official view of humanity in politics is growing more and more reactionary. Time after time some members of government show their fundamentalist view of life.
Taking the gender issues as benchmark it is striking ministers, law makers or other officials often – if not usually- blame the victims every time girls or women meet with sexual harassment or assault. It’s an expression of their set of assumptions in relation to the tender sex. To me their philosophies seem to be dated at the start of our Jewish, Christian or Muslim Eras: women are emotional and dangerous creatures aiming at seducing defenceless men.
These unfriendly and angry thoughts came to my mind when I read about Education Minister Mohammad Nuh’s comment on a rape, gang-rape actually, which happened to a fourteen year old schoolgirl from Depok. She only managed to escape by the skin of her teeth and be safe from the fate of being trafficked for prostitution. Yet the pitiable girl of course has been seriously traumatized. She has to live with her traumas for the rest of her life.
What did the minister of Education do? He referred to the case by telling alleged rapes often were nothing but intentional sex by mutual consent. So his ‘help’ was implicitly labelling her as a slut.
And what did her Junior High School do to help her? Nothing but send her away with the message not to return. She had tarnished the reputation of the educational institution. Only after much negative publicity the decision was reversed.
The administrators of the school and the minister should put ashes on their heads, apologize, ask for forgiveness, try to get rid of that ancient cobweb in their heads and sink in oblivion forever.
Unfortunately however SAS ( as her initials have been called in the media) has and will have to cope with people cherishing outdated and appalling views on girls and women. These moral conservatives tend to have a peculiar perception of rape indeed.
Update: To do justice to the minister here’s the ministry’s letter tp the editor which the JP published. It comprises the transcript of the ominous interview.