Goenawan Mohamad is one among Indonesia’s most well-known public figures, a journalist and creator with impeccable credentials. As an essayist, his commentaries on Indonesian politics, society and tradition have lengthy been a supply of inspiration, particularly for progressives, liberals and modernists.* He based Tempo, an important journal in Indonesia. Coming of age as a author underneath the New Order regime, he was a frequent goal of presidency criticism, and Tempo was closed a couple of occasions.
Now within the early 80s, extra Gun continues to be lively. He nonetheless has that low-key, everyman fashion that I bear in mind, and when he talks, you pay attention. He isn’t liable to exaggeration or extra. And he had some very harsh phrases to say about President Joko Widodo and the state of Indonesian democracy proper now, as you possibly can see on this TikTok clip of an interview with Rosi on KompasTV. Sadly it is in Indonesian, however I am going to spotlight the vital issues.
It’s highly effective. Because it begins, Goenawan is in the course of a criticism of the sitting president’s second son, Kaesang Pangarep, who’s now the chief of the Indonesian Solidarity Occasion. Generally known as a youth-focused get together, this get together is comparatively pluralistic and progressive. The choice to put in political newcomer and banana stand proprietor Kaesang as chairman is kind of ridiculous and betrays not solely the hollowness of the get together group but additionally the deep machinations of Indonesia’s first household forward of the 2024 elections.
However issues get much more severe when Goenawan takes up the Constitutional Court docket. The background: Jokowi’s first son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, is the vice-presidential candidate on Prabowo Subianto’s ticket. Very long time readers will bear in mind once I attended a Prabowo rally a decade in the past. Properly, Prabowo continues to be at it. And due to the advanced vortex of dynastic alliance politics that I can not even start to explain (however Yoes Kenawas can!) Prabowo and Jokowi are actually in an alliance of comfort to make Jokowi’s twice-defeated opponent the president to make sure Joko Widodo’s legacy .**
It would not be so unhealthy if it wasn’t for the truth that the Indonesian structure prohibits Gibran from working for VP as a result of he’s too younger. And for the truth that Indonesia’s Constitutional Court docket merely ignored this rule to permit Gibran to run. Jokowi’s sister is married to the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court docket. The results are apparent.
With tears in his eyes, Goenawan describes his nation as broken [= broken] as a result of resolution of the Constitutional Court docket. He talks about his kids and grandchildren experiencing chaos [= fracturing, chaos]. After which he talks about his personal father, who was shot useless by the Dutch within the battle for independence. All that is to counsel that the battle for democracy and independence was value way more than what is going on proper now. He ends by implying that he will not be right here in 10 years. Rosi says, “oh that is unsure,” considering that Goenawan means he’ll be useless by then. Goenawan replies with a twinkle in his eye: “I need to be in America.”
These are arduous occasions for Indonesian democracy. I’ve by no means seen public figures so straight and publicly categorical such primary considerations concerning the elementary state of Indonesian politics. And Goenawan is just not the one one. Hashtag democratic backsliding.
* He’s a foundational voice within the Utan Kayu/Salihara/JIL group that I crossed paths with within the mid-2000s, which I mentioned just some weeks in the past. Nonetheless, I solely had the chance to fulfill him as soon as.
** Or no matter. I truthfully do not perceive what’s going on and I refuse to imagine the simplistic floor degree rationalization that Jokowi simply cares about his legacy and does not care concerning the implications for Indonesian democracy. One hears rumors of varied pursuits, minor corruption schemes that danger publicity, main conspiracies, Javanese cultural tendencies. However I’ve realized to not take heed to such obscure discussions sure events.