In his address to the nation on Aug. 15, 2009, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono mentioned self-dependency (kemandirian), competitiveness (daya saing) and excellence in civilization (peradaban yang unggul) as three important factors in nation building.

Self-Dependency, or Nationalism in the language of our first president Soekarno, can no longer be sustained outside the larger framework of Internationalism. Our national self-dependency must also recognize the interdependency of nations. Our world has already become a global village, where anything happening in any corner of the village, or to any villager, affects the entire village and all villagers.

In response to the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton bombings recently, some of our “knowledgeable” experts, analysts and activists remarked that the bombers had no reason to attack our country, for Indonesia was not at war with them, and that instead they could have bombed some other country at war with them, perhaps for instance the United States of America.

It is very disheartening to note that even our “knowledgeable” lack intelligence. What happens to America, or to any other country in the world, has a ripple effect on the entire world. We cannot escape it.

Similarly, our government’s stand on Myanmar is also regrettable. While we can have a Palestinian Mission in our country, why can’t we allow the activists for peace and democracy in Myanmar to meet here? Why can’t we have the Dalai Lama visit our country and talk about the plight of his people?

While talking about competitiveness, I believe that the Machiavellian and Sun-Tzuian concept is no longer relevant. It must be replaced with a more human approach based on togetherness (kebersamaan) as pointed out by Business Week in its excellent special report (Oct. 30, 2006).

Interestingly, such a human approach was already envisioned by our founding fathers. Sukarno called it gotong-royong (sharing our burden), and Hatta translated the concept into a cooperative based economy. Unfortunately however, President Yudhoyono did not, even once, mention the word in his entire speech.

He did, however, suggest taking into account our resources (certainly both human and natural), knowledge (skills), and culture for our economic development. I fully endorse to this, as I also do to the “limited role” of government (non intervention), for we have just witnessed the failure of totally decentralized and liberal western economy.

President Yudhoyono suggested productivity, adaptability, and innovation (most importantly in the field of technology), as important factors to excel. I presume that by innovation he meant creativity. For innovation could also mean growth, or simply improvement on something already created; whereas, creativity is originality. Creativity is unique.

We must believe in our “uniqueness”. This country, like any other country in the world, is unique. We have our share to contribute to world civilization as other countries do. We must be more self-confident.

President Yudhoyono reasserted his commitment to the state ideology of Pancasila as an “open and living ideology, source of inspiration and solution for nation building”; and, the national theme Bhinneka Tunggal Ika or “Unity in Diversity” as our uniting factor.

Now, let us for once and all time end the discourse on khilafat and religion-based government system. And, with that, also end the threat to our national unity and integration.

What is most important for the President is to closely watch the movements of his supporters, some of them clearly have hidden agendas and vested interests.

Our culture is deeply rooted in spirituality and humanity, not in the dogmas and doctrines of a particular religion.

We do not believe in politically motivated barriers in the name of religion. Our founding fathers used Ketuhanan or Godliness for spirituality.

President Yudhoyono also shared his vision of “Indonesia 2025”, when, in his opinion, we will no longer be a developing nation, but mature into a developed nation. This is perhaps his wise response to a report prepared by the National Intelligence Council of the United States in November 2008.

The report and ensuing studies, as well as scenarios prepared by several experts, indicate that by 2025 the Indonesian State could be fragmented. The threat is posed by religious fanatics, radicals and extremists, and not only from terrorists or their violent acts.

President Yudhoyono seems to have understood this threat clearly. I must say, there are not so easy and very ambitious, but achievable goals. Together, we can achieve them. But, as we talk of togetherness, let us also not forget the “checks and balances”, the most oft quoted phrase in his speech, without which democracy would mean nothing.

Let us have the opposition. Let us not be afraid of them. “Those who point out your mistakes,” said the great 14th century Sufi Mystic Kabir, “are your true friends and well wishers.” For, it is because of them, that we can improve, and grow further.

The writer is a spiritual activist and author of more than 130 books.
Anand Krishna ,  Jakarta   |  Fri, 08/21/2009 1:03 PM  |  Opinion

Source: The Jakarta Post