zondag 4 mei 2014

Prabowo, Londo Ireng and some other issues

Press records this week discussed the issue that Prabowo's party Gerindra has formulated in its programme for the next election that the state must take care for the purity of the religions: menjaga kemurnian agama. Several NGOs have protested this formula, because it denies the individual freedom of religion and makes the state the supervisor of religion. This can be the beginning of a fascist regime. The formulation were quite strong, but the issue has been already an important one since the foundation of MUI in 1975 and the ban of the government on new religions and spiritual movements.
Another issue is that of the word Londo Ireng or 'Black Dutch/White person' for Indonesian supporters of foreign influence. Some local industries and business units are in fact the puppets used by foreign companies to make profit in Indonesia. Even the respected Syafii Maarif has suggested to Prabowo that these concealed 'neo-colonialists' should be banned. This can be seen as a new stream of nationalism, sometimes good, but often also just a populist vote getter. The run to the presidential palace is now the first goal for many.
These two issues were given to me by Jaspert Slob, who collects a weekly summary from the Indonesian and international press for issues about Indonesia.

For the word Londo Ireng I reminded the Larantuqueiros, or Black Portuguese of the 17th and 18th century. They were the local offpsring of some Portuguese traders with local women in Flores and Timor and developed as a caste and local power for themselves. The boundary between national and supranational is not always so clear. Below a procession of Larantuka Catholicism, in Portugese style, mixed with local enthusiasm.

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