Saturday, May 17, 2008

Human Rights of Indonesia May 1998 Tragedy


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
-Article 1 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)-



Ten years ago, I learned something that changed my life. I learned that the above declaration of Human Rights, were just another written declaration.

Learn that the declaration only works where no Power or Money or Politics involved into that.

Ten years ago, May 1998, people throughout the world read the tragedy which happened in Indonesia. Where human beings lost their mind, lost their dignity and lost their rights.

Started on 12 May 1998, where four university students were shoots to death during student demonstrations at Trisakti University (and later Semanggi tragedy). Then it became like a snow ball where on 14 May 1998, Jakarta and its surrounding were on fire, where public transportation, buildings, residential houses, supermarket, public utilities were burnt down and the barbarian people unleashed a series of unbelievable action.

The tragedy that changed my own beliefs of Indonesian culture which written in my student book.

Starts on that day, there’s an empty space in my mind which longing to be feed in with the answer of that tragedy, of the initiator, the director, the reason, the why.

Also starts on that day, every May in 10 (ten) years, the family of the victim, get together, raise their prayer and ask for the justice.

I remember clearly that day. I just visited my father who had hospitalized at Dharmais hospital, when my mother called me to leave that place immediately and told me to be careful. Arrived at my work place, an American bank and got announcement from the HR Director who got the reminder from American embassy to let the worker went home straight away.

I remember that day clearly, where I could not visited my father for almost 4 (four) days because Jakarta was in chaos, where I live in fear because every time got the announcement that we have to be ready because a group of unknown person tried to entered our housing.

Remembered the story of my brother in law, who had to walk far away from his office to his home and saw the same incidence, where there’s a man who became the initiator to burnt the building, the supermarket, and became the first one left the building after the unknown people stole the food or money, then started his action to another building. Remembered the story of my father, who told me, that through his hospital window, he saw an empty truck stopped in front of the alley, and a lot of people from that area get in into the truck which took them to another place. Remembered the story of my friends who lost their house, who runs from the rapes and saved by the unknown people, who run from this country …..

That day and 10 years after that, the rights of the people and the victim as a human being nearly or I may say have forgotten.

No one in this country, the political person, the government, the intellectual can give the answer, or even try to fight for the rights, the rights as human being.

Maybe because actually they who run this country or they who gave their intellectual actor were part of the tragedy; maybe is always the right answer for the one whom longing for justice.

Maybe … someday … we will get the answer ….

Well, it’s always easy to point our finger to somebody else and it’s always difficult to point back the finger to our self.

But have we realized that human rights are not just for the big things, it is something that we deal in our life, in our day to day activity.

The rights of our maid, the rights of our employee, the rights of our parents, the rights of our children, the rights to speak, to choose, the rights of freedom.

We can not win the big things if we never try to win the smallest things……

4 comments:

Stefanie said...

I found your post very touching and saddening. It's horrible that these things happen and I am happy that you made it through ok.

I have added the link to your post on the list I have collected of Bloggers Unite posts here: http://focusorganic.com/bloggers-unite

I debated between putting it in the Indonesia section or the Personal section, but, since your story was so touching and directly affected you, I decided to place it in the Personal section. If you want it moved to the Indonesia section, just let me know.

Rob Baiton said...

Yep, Human Rights starts at home or more precisely it starts with us!

If we want people to respect us then we need to start by respecting others.

Yet, this is not necessarily the be all to end all as sometimes we can respect others, treat them well, and go out of our way to make an effort, for which in return we get disrespect!

Live every day like it is your last and without regrets! We do not ahve time to harbour grudges and hatred towards others and nor do we have unlimited time to dwell on why people do not like us! So live your life and live it well and always do unto others as you would have them do unto you!

Nice post as always Tere 616 :D

accordingtod said...

geez 'ta... has it been a decade already? felt just like more recent. i used to know one of the vic's family when i was still in indonesia. just like you, this tragedy saddened me so. i was also working as a journalist at that time (with bang anto). i remember some of us just took motorcycle rides to the area of trisakti and university --despite the warnings-- and to the dpr/mpr building. the the riot following it? it was so so sad...

tere616 said...

stefanie : It's okay, because the intention of my writing is to let my thought of human right out of my mind. Besides to participate with bloggers unite is one of the intention.

rob baiton : yeah ... but that is the difficult part, isn't it ? live everyday like it is our last day ?

human rights is always never ending subject, maybe because we are human (an excuse ?)

accordingtod : yup ...it has been decade already. There's an Indonesian movie, the title is "Mei" to commemorate the tragedy. Will post it about it as soon as I watch it.

Yes, it was so sad ...