Solo, or its formal name Surakarta, the seat of an ancient sultanate, is a center of highly refined Javanese culture epitomized in its batik, court ceremonies, dance and gamelan music.
Less visited than its better known neighbor, Jogjakarta, it is quiet place with good accommodation, excellent shopping without the touts and traffic of Jogya, accessible by domestic air lines, with Silkair coming in from Singapore. Tourism will not be enhanced by the latest outrage in “moderate“ Indonesia, a poor omen for success in the country’s drive to improve arrivals numbers, 7.2 million in 2010, compared to 12.6 for tiny neighbor Singapore.
Solo is also the birth place of Abu Bakar Basyir, radical Islamist and convicted, although lightly sentenced, terrorist mastermind. In Solo, the cultural civil war between syncretistic Hindu-Islamic Javanese culture and Wahabiism rages just below the surface. The historic tendency of the Javanese toward syncretism and openness to different spiritual beliefs also resulted in a large Christan population, Now there are jihadis to attack them.
Egypt’s and Tunisia’s tourist industries have been ruined, and will most likely never rebound as they become shariah dominated Islamic republics. This could be Indonesia’s fate as well. Jihad is bad for business,
From Reuters, via MSNBC
“A suspected suicide bomber attacked a church on Indonesia’s Java island on Sunday, killing himself and injuring 17 people, police said.”
The ubiquity of cell phones here, and lax policing procedures means that a pic of the dead bomber is already viral. He looks like an offal stand in a wet market, No “suspected” about it.
The story goes on: “Religious tensions still bubble near the surface in the officially secular nation.” “Bubble” is a rather weak verb in this context.
“Officially secular”…yes, but not in a sense that nations like the US or France might recognize. The country has a Ministry of Religion, which, given the demography concerns itself mostly with Islamic affairs, but does allocate some funding to other beliefs. Domestic airliners, along with the emergency instructions and barf bag, have prayer cards for the major religions in the seat pockets, just the thing for white knuckle fliers,
In Indonesia, religion trumps everything , and one religion trumps all others.
And… “Religious conflicts flared up between Muslims and Christians in Maluku and Sulawesi, in the eastern part of the sprawling archipelago, following the overthrow of former President Suharto in 1998.”
This is a case where “religious conflict,” rather than being the value neutral and history shunning whitewash it usually is, may be an appropriate term, at least in terms of the inception of the conflicts, which were actually large scale regional civil wars. Both sudden explosions, over perceived slights that quickly spread and dragged on for years. However, in both areas was only the Muslim side that brought in arms and fighters from outside, with the indifference, if not outright collusion of the security forces, To my knowledge, no clear journalistic account, in any language, has been written for either conflict. At the time, local media withdrew and foreigners were banned. Despite widespread lawlessness, and the deaths of thousands, only three people ever prosecuted, Christians Fabianus Tibo, Dominggus da Silva, and Marinus Riwu, all executed in 2001. No one, Christian or Muslim was ever charged in the Maluku war.
Instead, academics, religious leaders and government actors spoke of “horizontal conflict,” convened conferences and hammered out intercommunal agreements. This is the Indonesian way, where confrontation is avoided, and consensus, regardless of justice, is valued above everything else. That is, until tempers rise too far. “Amuck” after all is a Malay word(for non- Indonesian readers, the Indonesian language is based on the Riau-Johore dialect of
Malay.) This, as much as political indebtedness to Islamic parties, may be at the heart of President Yudhyonos’s passivity in the face of rising Islamist agitation and violence.
In its story, the Jakarta Globe quotes police sources as saying the attack may be linked to recent violence in Ambon.
Note that once again, a “clash“ is Muslims attacking Christians, just as this is usually described wherever it may be, Egypt, Nigeria, or Indonesia, among others,
Since the end of the wars in Maluku and Sulawesi almost ten years ago, I would challenge anyone to find an instance of a Christian initiated “clash” in Indonesia; If nothing else, those “conflicts” taught the minority that they are not going to win, even in areas where they have numerical equality, or even superiority.
Another Globe story quotes Christian and Muslim clerics as warning against a plot to stir up “conflict.“
Here in microcosm, is Indonesia’s quandary, and the world’s, in confronting Islamist extremism. A refusal to look at the core texts of Islam, not the various islams practiced in different forms across continents, but the texts whose exact words motivate terrorists and jihadi fighters, results in logical fallacies, x-factor searches for conspiracies, leading to abject failure in defending the societies attacked.s
Just as is standard procedure in the Us and Europe, when a “lone wolf” jihadi is caught, or acts,, we are told that he or she is not part of a network, as if that is reassuring, and police and press speculate as to motive.
Motive? I posit Islam.
“When the sacred months are over, slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them and lie in ambush everywhere for them.”
Surah 9:5 Al Saif(the Sword)