In today’s world, the freedom of speech and religion is especially threatened. Below are some examples of people who are willing to jeopardize their life to stand up for their beliefs and contribute for the greater good of society.
This year is nothing short of tumultuous, already in the region we have seen cases of righteous, innocent people being put to jail for what they strongly believe in, a force and presence beyond human comprehension: God. Imprisoned on the pretense of false allegations. Imprisoned for their faith. Imprisoned for standing up for what they believe is right, which unfortunately society has found it displeasing and harming the nation. In Jarkarta, Indonesia, the country of my birth, controversial ethnic Chinese and Christian governor Basuki Purnama, affectionately known as Ahok, is jailed on false accusations by hardline Muslims that he blasphemes their religion and should be imprisoned, some even called for the shedding of his blood. The repercussions of his arrest reverberated throughout the country, in the region, and the world. On Wednesday, the United States Ambassador to Indonesia Joseph Donovan called on government and religious leaders across the archipelago to speak out against intolerance. He also added that (in accordance to the Jakarta Globe) : “We (the US) do not believe that it should be illegal to express opinions about a particular religion. We believe that blasphemy laws anywhere in the world jeopardise freedom of religion, expression, assembly and freedom of the press.” . My thoughts exactly. It’s preposterous to think that people (Ahok isn’t the first, many have faced persecution in the past) can be tried and sentenced to a morbid life in prison just because a large group of foolhardy folks from the rock bottom of the socio-economic pyramid demanded for him to face the consequences for ‘insulting’ Islam.
It all started when Ahok was still campaigning for another rerun to be the governor of Indonesia. He quoted a verse from the Quran that said it was not alright for Muslims to choose leaders who are non-Muslim. He freakin just quoted the verse, and that doing what the Quran demanded is a foolish thing to do. Hence, some sciolistic nutheads interpreted it the wrong way, accusing him of blaspheming the state religion, and as for the rest, we all have pretty much have figured it out. The shady Supreme Court judges that presided over his case decided to extend the trial (mostly to break Ahok’s resolve and crush him, which they did to no avail lolz), after which they pronounced him GUILTY. Guilty of a crime he didn’t commit. Guilty of just quoting their holy and most often confusing religious book.
This is one of Indonesia’s most defining moment in history. Our descendants will remember Indonesians and people who are illogical, uneducated and blind followers of a regime most dedicated to crushing any other individual who holds immense power AND isn’t a Muslim.
I’m certainly ashamed. My grandfather fought for the independence of this country that has been held captive by their Dutch colonial masters not because the Dutch were overpowering and dominating the Malay archipelago, but because they accepted their fates as merely a slave to their colonial masters. And now, they are repaying the sacrifice of servicemen who died for the country, by imprisoning the only fellow who dared to stand up for his beliefs, who dared to bring a wind-sweeping, avalanche-tumbling, wave-crashing change to Indonesia.
Ahok cleared up the corruption that has clogged the Indonesian government since its independence. Ahok revolutionized the way Indonesians live and work and play. He and his team improved transportation by following in Singapore’s footsteps. He transformed a once red-light district to a place where hip youngsters skate and play and where families can have picnics etc. His legacy lives on. All foreign news media had access to news coverage on Ahok and his trailblazing campaign and his short tenure as governor, and all agree on several things:
1. He is a revolutionary leader.
2. He left a legacy for Indonesia.
3. He’s a life-impacting, selfless Christian and ethnic Chinese. Even though he is from Indonesia’s minority ethnic group and religious group, he rose through the ranks as Indonesia’s best, and only useful governor.
4. He is judged unrighetously in a country that prides itself in religious tolerance (which in actual fact they never did have. They have always hated the Chinese as they’re richer than most ethnic Malay Indonesians lolz and especially Christians. Don’t know why. 🙂 )
5. He shouldn’t even be jailed in the first place. All news agencies from CNN, BBC, Reuters, Channel news Asia, StraitsTimes, JarkartaGlobe ( sometimes post a bit too biased articles against Ahok ) agree that hardline Muslims took his comment out of context and therefore press the corrupt government to condemn him to jail, even execution. They agree even more strongly that those allegations are purely evidence-less claims made by a bunch of infuriated folks who are racist towards Chinese and Christians. It’s nuts how they always preach that they’re a bunch of peaceful folks yet cry out for blood and hate everyone that’s not Muslim.
6. There’s not even enough objective evidence to support the claim that he has ‘blasphemed’ Islam. It’s all in the name of hate.
7. He’s pretty awesome.
The above are my opinions, and disclaimer: they’re probably not the opinions of the news agencies stated, although I’ve gotten inspiration from the implied message of their articles. However, judging from their language used in the articles, they obviously see that there’s no basis to condemn Ahok.
This case is a lesson for us all. Not just Indonesians, but every country in the world: how much human rights are practically non-existent even though human rights watch are claiming that they’re actually doing something, that whatever you say there’s always that guy who will take your comments a bit to the extreme, and how much more we need to stand up to injustice. Ahok’s legacy will live on.
God’s justice will prevail. He will see it through till the end.
Features Image courtesy of Jarkarta Post