Izak Y. M. Lattu

A blog devoted to Indonesian Religion and Peace Project

My First Day in Harvard University

August 26, 2013 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

Harvard has provided me a great academic opportunity to explore my dissertation topic. Along with two of my Indonesian colleagues at Harvard Kennedy School, I have gotten my Harvard Student Card which enables me to enter into Harvard University’ system. The day I set up my paper works and other documents that linked to my academic life in Harvard.

Imagined Reconciliation: Folksong (Kapata) and Collective Imagination in Malukan Reconciliation

November 22, 2012 by · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

Imagined Reconciliation: Folksong (Kapata) and Collective Imagination in Malukan Reconciliation
Izak Lattu
[email protected]

Presented to “Friday Forum” at Southeast Asian Studies, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, November 16, 2012

As a strong oral community, Maluku is occupying significantly by folksongs in private to public sphere. In the household, parents sing folksong for their children during bedtimes. During my first research, I experience the penetration of Malukan folksong into my private room for I could enjoy the music of my neighbors when I was still lying on my bed. While in Malukan public transportation, drivers played a full and loud music. In city such as Ambon, no one will ride non-musical public transportation. Therefore in the private and public lives, one may argue that Malukan get used to and get influenced by folksong.
In this presentation, I will explore a research question of how collective memory recreates and reshape Malukans “imagined siblinghood” through folksong (Kapata) after a huge conflict of Muslims and Christians in 1999 to 2003? The presentation will conclude that Folksongs (Kapata) either in traditional or modern style have connected people’s imagination as a community by which the folksong creates an “imagined reconciliation.”

Pela Gandong: Malukan Web of Social Engagements
Culturally, Malukans believe that the people come from a sacred place named Nunusaku. In that sense, the story of Nunusaku has significantly dominated Malukan collective memory through the narrative of folksongs. Grounded on Maurice Halbwachs’ collective memory, the narrative of Malukan social engagement in folksongs created a realm of “imagined siblinghood” (pela gandong relationship). For Halbwachs, “collective memory is a social framework that confines and binds our most intimate rembrances to each other” (Halbwachs 1992 : 53). In Maluku, the collective memory of pela gandong relationships has functioned to bind communities and work as a cultural mechanism to support reconciliation.
What is pela gandong? pela is divided into un-genealogical and genealogical alliance. First, un-genealogical pela is commonly called pela. In Maluku vernacular, un-genealogical pela has two forms; blood pela (pela darah) or hard pela (pela keras) which was established through a cultural oath between the leaders of two or more small-local communities (Negeri) after those negeri involved in a long-bloody fight. Here, blood pela is an act of cultural conflict resolution.
Another model of un-genealogical pela is soft pela (pela tempat sirih). Soft pela was established after a minor event such as assistance which given to one particular negeri by other negeri during a natural or social disaster. In brief, un-genealogical pela, either blood pela or soft pela, has established a new “siblinghood” relation based on mutual supports between negeri.
The second type of pela that based on a genealogical association is named gandong. Negeri who have the gandong relationships believe that they share a common ancestor. The story of gandong begun from diaspora from Nunusaku, as members of a family considered to continue their journey to different directions and find dissimilar place to live. Before they decided to split up, an oath was established as a site of remembrance to the next generation.
Accordingly, pela, whether it is genealogical or un-genealogical, requires mutual respect and an obligation to render reciprocal assistances, including the construction of public buildings such as negeri meeting house (bailieu), churches, mosques, and schools. To borrow form Benedict Anderson’s “Imagined Community”, here pela gandong creates an “imagined siblinghood”. Even though one never meets other people who shared a pela gandong relationship, the feeling of siblinghood is remaining strong. It is common for people who have pela gandong relationship to hold each other when they gather for the first time, as if they already know each other for a long period of time, because a “shared siblinghood feeling” exist in their imaginations.

Kapata: Malukan’ site of Collective Memory
Folksong (Kapata ) helps to preserve the “shared siblinghood narrative” in Maluku’s collective memory. It is through Kapata that Malukan describe social integration in Maluku. One may find out one’s relationship with other community through the narrative of Kapata.
In strong oral society like Maluku, Kapata is the means of historical narrative. R. Z. Leirissa, a Malukan Jakarta based scholar argues that Kapata is the device of historical mnemonic. For him, “almost all historical narratives in central Maluku are narrated in folksong in indigenous language.” (Leirissa 1999 : 77). Beside it role in formal ritual, such as pela enactment, marriage ritual, and other forms of formal ritual, Kapata also functioned as a “community anthem” (Tutuariam and Latupapua, 2010). Kapata is a folklore that everybody in Maluku can perform and understand. Echoing Bartels, I argue that Kapata is the shape of Malukan present, anticipate the future through past narratives. Bartels says, “Kapata is traditional greeting formulas and shorthand histories; generally, they consist of old songs in which episodes of the past are told” (Bartels, 1977).
Kapata works in Maluku society through at least four means; First Kapata as a tool of ritual performance and Kapata as the narrative of siblinghood. In a ritual performance, Kapata produces habitual and shared feeling among participants in pela gandong re-enactment rituals. Through the ritual, people have an integrated memory that establishes a collective experience and reinforced connections between people. In many pela gandong re-enactment rituals, people sing Kapata while holding each other hands (baku kele). From the folksong and body movement in the ritual of pela gandong re-enactment, Kapata provides a sense of belonging among people who have pela gandong relationships. When it comes to Negeri from different faiths, Kapata helps to create room for passing over religious borders and openness toward people of other faiths.
Second, Kapata functions as a narrative of siblinghood supplies people with a shared knowledge and experience of the past. Since Kapata arises from Maluku local context, people understand the narrative by which Kapata brings people to the imagined common ground (“topos”) of collective memory. Kapata, which places Nunusaku as a focus of its narrative, serves as a shared knowledge to integrate people into the same rasa. The rasa that comes out from a narrative of Kapata integrates the imagination of people who understand and believe in the narrative and re-creates collective memory and group identity. Kapata Nunusaku of South Ceram illustrates people imagination of siblinghood that ground in the story of Nunusaku,
Tui-tuia heilete, heilete,
Heilete Nunusaku o, Nunusaku o,
Riai moma, taralele, taralele
Tara lele, moria la samo, moria la samo
Uru Siwarima, uru Siwarima o,
Uru Siwarima, uru Nusaina o
Mae sama ito, sama ito mae o,
Sama ito mae ito lekahua o
Upu patasiwa toti apapua mae,
Apapua mae, upu patasiwa o
Nunusaku o, Nunusaku nunu o,
Nunu Nusa Ina nunu Siwarima o
Upu lepa pela upu ina lepa o,
Kwele batai telu kuru siwarima o
Sei hale hatu hatu lisa pei o,
Sei lesi sou sou lesi pei o
They scattered as tui-tui , moved out from Nunusaku
When they moved out, they make an oath
They promise to help each other, look after each other as siblings
People of Siwalima , people of Nusa Ina (Ceram Island)
Let’s dance Maku-maku because Patasiwa has given you apapua Nunusaku in Ceram Island is the land where the descendants of Siwalima comes from.
Our ancestors have made an oath that three rivers belong to the descendants.

The last part of this Kapata is clearly highlighting the imagined siblinghood in the remembrance of oath, “one turns over the rock, the rock befalls over one.
One breaks the oath the oath cracks one down” (Sei hale hatu hatu lisa peio, sei lesi sou sou lesi peio). For Folklorist like Alan Dundes, a form of folklore, including Kapata, that represents collective understanding is a product of social experience. The experience infuses “a sense of group identity that helps to foster the collective memory of particular community.

Third, Kapata is sung as a communicative action. One can argue that Kapata is also an instrument of communication among community members, and between community members and Nitu, ancestor spirits who protect the community. Kapata Pela between Hunitetu and Lohiatala is a facet of communication between two different communities, the creator, and the spirit of ancestors:
OOo tunai-lasatale, pulane, leamatai,
Tuwale, Babike, lanite, tapele, selu jami ooo
Kinu kwate kai Lohitalaooo
Kinu kwate kurele, pela jurule; saka mimise, noa mimise,
lesi kena lumaio, sapu kena lumaio.
Ooo….saa marelo tetu matau;
saa malau soa tetu peisoa, iane kete matau;
timule keri matao; halite likio matao.
Mata sakalele pelene.
Kinu kwate kurele, pela kurele; saka mimise, noa mimise,
saka nunu rupu kena patu, patu rupu kena nunuee,
nunu pali tolase, tolase pali nunuee, hiooo….
(Oh the Creators, moon and sun, Rabike and Tuwale,
Look at us who drink the oath with Lohiatala.
An eternal and strong oath.
Watch carefully and remember diligently
so we (Hunitetu and Lohiatala) will not fight and be indignant over each other.
If you fight over each other, when you climb a tree to catch a kusu
You will fall down on the ground and the bees will sting until you die.
You will die when you eat your warm sagoe
You will die when you eat areca-nut
In the sea you will fall from your boat and be swallowed by fish
You will die when the east and west winds blow you
You will die just like a lighting bug.
We are drinking an eternal oath, a strong oath.
Be vigilant and do not forget.
We will be as strong as a banyan tree and as a rock.
As if we are the rock and banyan tree.
Just like a tolase tree that grows together with the banyan tree, hiooo)

The first part of Hunitetu and Lohiatala Kapata describes Kapata function as a mode of communication with the Creators and the spirit of ancestors. The second part is explaining communication and a facet of collective memory that people in both negeri must remember.
Fourth, Kapata is the means of social control or social integration. In Maluku’s community engagements, when Kapata narrates the story of Pela gandong relationships, it has functioned very much as an instrument of social control and cohesion. At this point, Kapata serves as a foundation for social acceptance of plurality. From Kapata that narrates the alliance of Pelauw “Muslim Negeri” in Haruku Island and Titawai “Christian negeri in Nusalaut Island“, (Bartels 1977 :249) one can conclude that this Kapata glues these two communities together. The Kapata says;
Lembe-lembe rima o
Lembe-lembe rima o
Gandong Matasiri lembe rima mae o
Lesinussa Matasiri hae lata Nunusaku o
Ito rua huka hoto Nunusaku oo
Kukuwano manu, loto Tala ina
Ale kuku o
Tala ina yo sorak gandoing erwako
(come here and extend your hands (sakes hands) 2x
Siblings from Pelauw come and offer your hands
Titawai and Pelauw, both are from Nunusaku.
We two came from Nunusaku
The raft down the river Tala
Because our raft drifted down
From the river Tala, we are siblings)

In this Kapata, Nunusaku, again, plays important role in people imagination. Nunusaku becomes a connecting factor for people who belong to different religions. As a “topos” of remembrance, Nunusaku creates an imagined meeting point that moves people to come together in unity. Kapata pela of Titawai and Pelauw as well as Kapata pela Hunitetu and Lohiatala explain clearly the collective imagination of either genealogical or un-genealogical siblinghood. It is clear that through Kapata people employ a set of civic engagements between people of different groups and religions. Scholar such as Lisa Schirch argues that peacebuilding is aiming to “engage people through multiple ways of learning and knowing”. Echoing Schirch’s theory of peacebuilding, through Kapata, which is narrated Pela gandong relationship, people engage through multiple ways of learning and knowing. Song in Schirch’s perspective is a major way to bring peacebuilding narrative in practical understanding (Lisa Shirch, 2005 : 164).
In Maluku today, Kapatas as an oral tradition, experience an evolution from a monotone song into a complex genre range from pop to hip hop. In my interview with Hanry Noya, a Malukan singer, songwriter, and producer, it is clear to me that Malukan modern song takes Kapata’s spirit and narrative. Peter Salenussa, a lecturer of Music at the Indonesian Christian University of Maluku, supports Noya argument, showing that some Malukan pop songs are the evolution of indigenous language bahasa tana into Maluku lingua franca, Ambon-Malay in order to help people to understand the meaning of those songs. (Salenussa 2009: 45). At this point, one can find a strong abstract of Kapata in Maluku modern folksong such this bellow song,
Gandong lah mari Gandong, mari jua ale yo
beta mau bilang ale, katong dua satu gandong
hidop ade deng kaka, sungguh manis lawang e
ale rasa beta rasa, katong dua satu gandong
gandong e … sio gandong e…,
mari beta gendong beta gendong ale jua
katong dua cuma satu gandong e…,
satu hati satu jantong e ..
(Come here my siblings
I want to tell you that we are one
Our siblinghood is so sweet
Since we have a shared feeling for we are one
My siblings, let me hold you, hold you tight
Because we are one, one heart and one soul)
In comparing “Gandong” song and Kapata Titawai-Pelauw (genealogical pela) as well as Kapata Hunitetu-Lohiatala (un-genealogical pela), one might acknowledge a bold language of mutual respect and shared experience in the narrative of the Gandong song.
Maluku’s modern song also takes Kapata narrative in preserving the place of Nunusaku as a topos of remembrance. Kapata has become inspiration for Maluku modern songs in entangling the people of Maluku as a community who share the same roots, history and cultural narrative. As a facet of orality, Kapata functions very much as the “storage” of Malukan local communication and knowledge. One modern folksong by a group named Mainoro proved my assumption that Kapata has been functioning as the storage of Malukan collective memory, which is centered on the narrative of Nunusaku. Below is the lyric of Mainoro’s “Satu Darah” (one blood) song;
Sejarah tinta seng bisa bicara tapi Kapata bisa carita
Hancurkan tirai kusut dan tua sio Nusa Ina bukti sejarah
Sombar baringin dar Nunusaku Tifa Murkele game dong bale
Hutan dan rimba sudah babunga tahuri babunyi di unjung Binaya
Sio basudara yang satu darah ana cucu Siwa Lima
Katong buka suara Pombo putih kapata damai
Seisi bahtera bersukaria sinar sejarah damaikan Maluku
Sio basudara yang satu darah Nusa Ina itu rumah tua
Nunu Siwa Lima oooo Pombo putih kapata damai
Seisi bahtera bersukaria tahuri babunyi di unjung Binaya
Sinar sejarah damaikan Maluku
(Written history cannot speaks, but kapata tells (Malukan) story
Cracking down the rumpled and old curtain, Nusa Ina is the historical evidence
The shadow of the Banyan tree of Nunusaku, Murkele little drum has summoned you all
Forest and jungle are blossoming, there is a sound of tahuri (shell) in Binaya
Ooo My siblings who shared Siwa Lima blood
Voice out your tone, the Pombo bird has sung kapata of peace
All passengers of the boat (Maluku) are rejoicing, there is a sound of tahuri in Binaya
The light of history helps Maluku be peaceful)

The narrative of Mainoro “Satu Darah” follows the same pattern of Kapata Nunusaku in preserving the central place of Nunusaku and Ceram Island (Nusa Ina/Mother Land) in Maluku’s collective memory. In Jeffrey Olick’s perspective, Kapata, both old Kapata and Kapata in Malukan modern song, is the collective memory in which people of a given society represent their history and produce accounts of past events to reshape the present (Olick 2007 : 15). In this sense, Mainoro is aiming to reshape the present of Maluku society by incorporating Kapata’s narrative into Maluku modern song. “Sejarah tinta seng bisa bicara, tapi Kapata bisa carita” “written history cannot speaks, but kapata tells (Malukan) story“ is explaining boldly the purpose of this song to rewrite the present of Maluku society.
The performance of Kapata in everyday life, pela gandong re-enactment ritual, and other special local events as well as the extraction of Kapata in Maluku modern songs are meant to extend Maluku’s cultural memory. In Rachel Wagner’s words, Kapata is the “site of information-sharing.” (Wagner 2012 : 11). As the performance of Kapata as a site of information-sharing because, I am echoing Maurice Halbwachs, the collective memory extends as far as the contemporary group preserves and performs it regularly (Halbwachs 1992 : 75). He adds, “ to remember is not to sit back and watch, but to remember is to reconstruct the past.” (Halbwasch 1992 : 75). Kapata, including Maluku modern folksong, is the process of remembering the past as a repetitive process by which Malukan society is tied up collectively.
Oral history in Kapata is important for Malukans to remember the past and to reshape the present in a framework of community entanglement. Drawing on Jeffrey Olick’s collective memory theory, without the narrative of Nunusaku and Pela gandong in Kapata, Malukans are unable to provide a good explanation of their worldview and traditional heritage. Developed from Olick, Kapata is not just the act of remembering as members of Maluku’ society, but Maluku society shapes its members simultaneously in the act of remembering through the narrative of Kapata. Through Kapata Maluku becomes a “community of memory.” (Olick 2007 : 53).
In the ritual of pela gandong re-enactment and Malukan local knowledge, Kapata helps people of Negeri Muslims or Christians to come out from religious borders respectively to encounter people with different faiths. I agree with Merdjanova nad Brodeur’s definition of dialogue for peacebulding. For them, interreligious dialogue is any form of human communication that helps mutual understanding. It is including speech and shared activities. Kapata as the form of Malukan oral tradition is part of interreligious dialogue for peacebuilding. When people sing Kapata together, they move their bodies and go hand in hand with pela gandong siblings people shared activities and building social integration through ritual. At the same token, Kapata as a means of social capital enlarge and robust “radius of trust” in Malukan communities.
Kapata as a cultural performance creates a rasa of siblinghood among people of different faiths. The narrative of gandong song, for instance, “one heart one soul” (satu hati satu jantonge) has played as a form of speech in interreligious dialogue. When people of different faiths sing the song, rasa come along with body movements and narrative of song. The rasa, then created a shared story and value in people imagination. Developed from Bryan Turner’s somatic society, body movement goes hand in hand when people sing Kapata together creating a somatic memory in Malukan collective memory. Turner says, “we live in a ‘ somatic society’ in which our present political problems and social anxieties
are frequently transferred to the body.” (Turner 2003 : 1 – 11). In Kapata, when people go hand in hand (baku kele) , in a ritual of pela gandong re-enactment, “rasa of siblinghood” (rasa orang basudara) integrates people into one cummunal identity. In “baku kele” as a body movement when people sing kapata, all religious differences fluids in “rasa orang basudara” that emerge from the somatic memory in “baku kele.” Therefore, somatic memory helps people from other faiths to be bold to “touch” somebody from other beliefs.
Rasa orang basudara, also comes out when people imagine Nunusaku as a common ground of Malukan Muslims and Christians. As I mentioned before, all pela gandong folksong (Kapata and modern song which takes Kapata narratives) places Nunusaku as a vocal point. Nunusaku, in interfaith dialogue, serves a common ground from people of other faiths. Drawing on Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities, where he proposes his “unisonance” concept, he argues that through “unisonance”, a community is formed through song. Anderson states, “at precisely such moments, people wholly unknown to the same melody. The imagine: unisonance. Singing the Marseillaise, Waltzing Matilda, and Indonesian Raya provide occasion for unisonality for the echoed physical realization of the imagined community.”(Anderson, 2006 : 145). Nunusaku could reframe Maluku as a community through song. Therefore in the imagination as a community, Malukan Christians and Muslims find the foundation of solidarity and collective identity, I am arguing that in this imagined siblinghood, people of Maluku found their “imagined reconciliation”. It is imagined because, unlike Gacaca in Rwanda and Ubuntu in South Africa when victims and perpetrators formally encounter each other, Maluku’s formal reconciliation in Second Malino Meeting only touch less than 50 elite under government order. While the rest experience imagined reconciliation through the re-enactment of pela gandong relationships and narrative of Kapata in modern folksong that enable people (Muslims and Christians) to reconcile themselves by advancing a collective memory of the community of siblinghood (orang basudara).

Violence Against Indigenous Religions (The Jakarta Post, 01/03/2012)

June 20, 2012 by · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

Violence against indigenous religions
Izak Lattu, Berkeley | Opinion | Tue, 01/03/2012 9:43 PM
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When human spiritual experience becomes real, the multiplicities of religious practice become naked. It is clear that human beings may encounter varieties of religious understanding toward the Ultimate Reality of the authentic realm of religious experience.

Here, Sunda Wiwitan and other Indonesian indigenous religions have also been facilitating peoples’ beliefs in the Ultimate Concern, God. The indigenous religion, which is rooted in a local belief system, had been in existence in Indonesia long before the Indonesian state had come into being.

Although indigenous faiths such as Sunda Wiwitan, Kejawen and other forms of traditional beliefs represent local ways of addressing the Ultimate Reality, they nonetheless encounter discrimination on a political basis.

As soon as the religion disappeared from the national identification card, Sunda Wiwitan believers cried out against the discrimination.

Having been suppressed, the Sunda Wiwitan community is now longing for freedom of religious expression. Unfortunately, neither the national government nor the local government of Bandung have dealt seriously with the problem.

The removal of Sunda Wiwitan from the national identity form is a mockery of religious diversity in Indonesia, especially given that this nation was founded on the words “unity in diversity”.

This removal is a satire to Indonesian religious life. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has spoken of the use of a nonviolent approach in addressing religious differences.

He said “the diversity of our nation is a wealth that we should be grateful for” (The Jakarta Post, Dec. 9, 2011). The presidential statement on religious diversity and violence is totally different from the public policy practiced on a daily basis.

Yudhoyono’s statement is pivotal in dealing with Indonesia’s diversity of religious beliefs.

For unity in a diverse state like Indonesia, people need the government’s will to manage plurality in a proper way. Supposing the government doesn’t deal with the Sunda Wiwitan problem, it will commit systemic or structural violence against the fundamental rights of its citizens.

Consequently, the government’s inability to provide Sunda Wiwitan with freedom of religious expression represents structural violence against an indigenous religion.

This type of violence takes place when social structures prevent people from meeting their basic needs. Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stated freedom of religion as a fundamental right. It says, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.”

In a democracy, government is a tool for people to secure their basic needs. Slavoj Zizek has identified that preventing people from meeting their fundamental needs represents systemic violence.

It reveals the hypocrisy of those who, while fighting individual violence, are instead involved in fostering violence on a systemic level (Zizek, 2009: 174). The elimination of indigenous religions from the national identity mirrors systemic violence against the indigenous community. This is another signal of how religious lenience is undermined in Indonesia.

Furthermore, one may argue that indigenous religions, including Sunda Wiwitan, are not really religions. Yet, who dares to define a religion? In the field of religious studies, one might find thousands of arguments on what religion is
all about.

To sum them up, I would like to argue that religion is simply a belief system. Since Sunda Wiwitan believes in the Sang Hyang Kersa, the Ultimate Reality, the indigenous faith is undoubtedly a religion.

God, or the Ultimate Reality, are both infinite, while the human being is finite. For this reason, how can the finite properly understand the mystery of God? Provided one declares that one religion is the only way God reveals faith, then he or she will have already categorized God as the finite.

As Ibn Arabi points out, “it is possible that a single word is a revelation for one person and not a revelation for another person?” (Tavassoli, 2011: 157).

To make it clear, Sunda Wiwitan adherents argue that what they believe is a way to address belief itself. Theirs is a religion for the community.

Simultaneously, time and narrative as well as collective memory leads to different understandings of religious experience.

People who practice world religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism and Islam, have a dissimilar perspective of religion than those who practice indigenous religions.

As a result, a grand narrative of world religions has triggered the officer who works at the government office to put indigenous religions such as Sunda Wiwitan into the collective paradigm of world religions.

Accordingly, structural violence against indigenous religion is taking place due to a phobia over indigenous religion. The irrational fear is the result of superiority of world religions.

At this point, the government has been trapped in their pre-eminence. Those who neglect the existence of indigenous religions in the realm of real religion need to overcome the phobia of the religious other.

The Yudhoyono presidency should say “never again” to any form of violence against indigenous religion.

That the President points to the diversity of our nation as our wealth, and says that we should be grateful for this, is excellent.

Yet, Indonesia is still waiting for a concrete policy to fully respect this diversity through bold political action that formally acknowledges the likes of Sunda Wiwitan and other indigenous religions. I do hope that we, as Indonesians, overcome this problem.

The writer is a Fulbright PhD student of Interdisciplinary Studies on Religion, Oral History, and Interfaith Dialogue at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, US.

Violence Doesn’t Have a Religion (The Jakarta Post, 09/30/2011)

June 20, 2012 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

Violence doesn’t have a religion
Izak Lattu, Berkeley, CA | Opinion | Fri, 09/30/2011 8:14 AM
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Using violence based on religion is blatantly misleading; religion does not lead to violence but to love and peace instead. The suicide bomb that occurred in the Bethel Injil Sepenuh Church (GBIS) Surakarta, also known as Solo, Central Java, is not linked with one particular religion and the fatalities should be perceived as victims rather than as the believers of a certain religion. In my point of view, the problem should be located in the victim-perpetrator relationship without adding religion into it.

Religion, in one way or another, has nothing to do with violence. The main course of religion is peace-love. The history of religion is the peace-love narrative. The life narratives of the main figures in all religions have clearly shown the language of respect and peace. Despite the main message of religion, doctrinal interpretations have created the problems among and between religions. Since the interpretation is a human-made elucidation, the action that leads to violence is a personal responsibility.

In the context of the recent suicide bombing in Solo, the perpetrator has hidden behind the strict interpretation attached to the Jamaah Ansharut Tauhit (JAT). Yet, the action of killing other people is a particular matter, Islam is far from the actions of suicide bombers. The perpetrator was not a Muslim, it was Pino Damayanto or Ahmad Urip instead. Instead of associating the victims with religion, we should rather name them according to their names. The violence is not associated with any religion.

Moreover, the violence in Solo was not the act of a religious group. It’s not an Islamic act, rather a JAT action. Confining the violence to the individual believers can reject the evil idea of a clash of religions. Thanks are due to Muslim and Christian leaders who stand up and criticize the perpetration of suicide bombs as an unreligious act.

Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama, the biggest Islamic groups in Indonesia, have criticized the person who is responsible for the suicide bomb as wrongly interpreting Islam. Both groups have also asked the government to end terrorism in Indonesia as soon as possible. This is a strong signal that violence does not have a religion. Perpetrators are criminals regardless of religious background.

By locating violence on the empirical basis, we let the judicial mechanism work according to the principle of equality before the law. At this point, the violence done by Pino Damayanto is not a religious issue; it’s a “law enforcement” subject. As the problem is in the law enforcement area, the issue should be away from any political rumors and games.

As a matter of fact, putting the suicide bomb in the exclusive domain will keep it free from bias. As usual, the government expresses sympathy and blames the perpetrator publicly, but the real action to cut off the root of terrorism and violence might not be finished yet.

Unlike with counterterrorism in other countries, Indonesia seems to be playing games with violence and terror. The government is reluctant to fight against terror and violence. JAT has allegedly been involved in more than one suicide bomb and terrorist act, but it does not make any sense that the Indonesian intelligent organizations has failed to crack down on the group terror.

In the course of private and state actions, John Finnis says, “Public acts must be strictly impartial between the members of the public – and public-community here includes not only the state but also political parties, etc. Public acts must look to the general good, in the sense of the good of each, and there is no room, as there is in private morality”.

For Finnis, if a state does not take action against a blatantly personal action in public, the action could lead to a justification (John Finnis, 2011: 84). The bottom line in an Indonesian context is that the state, including the political parties, should take action against violence and terrorism, unless public will justifies the violence as virtuous conduct.

In fact, the justification of violence could create a wrong collective imagination on terror and violence. People will be haunted by the terrorism nightmare and the feeling of weakness. Vigorous action will send a message that the state is for everyone. Also, actions can craft a common vision of how people should live together in the state. Humans are imaginative beings. Therefore, imagination plays a pivotal role in bringing communities together into a state.

A state’s serious action against terrorism is the sermon to make violence a private matter. The bomb at the church in Solo was not violence against Christians rather it was against Indonesian State supremacy. The perpetrator is not a Muslim but a citizen who is committed to crime.

The heart of Indonesia is unity in diversity. Hence, the heart of Indonesia is under attack when a particular person launches violence toward others. For this reason, Indonesia and Bhinneka Tunggal Ika – Unity in Diversity – are two sides of one coin. One can not separate the principle from Indonesia.

The writer is a Fulbright PhD student at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley.

An Irony to Religious Tolerance (The Jakarta Post, 11/20/2011)

June 20, 2012 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

An irony to religious tolerance
Izak Lattu, Berkeley, California, Jakarta | Opinion | Sun, 11/20/2011 12:25 PM
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It has been years of agony for GKI Taman Yasmin Protestant church congregation members as Bogor Mayor Diani Budiarto has defied a Supreme Court decision to allow them to attend Sunday mass in their place of worship.

Budiarto’s bureaucratic move reflects the failure of not only law enforcement in the city, but also of the country’s civil justice system.

A number of civil society groups under the Bhineka Tunggal Ika Forum, which also includes Muhammadiyah Student Association and Nahdatul Ulama’s Indonesian Islamic Student Association, have tried to resolve the issue to no avail. The Asian chapter of Human Rights Watch and the World Church Conference have also stepped in, but their efforts did not work either.

Indeed, the Bogor case reflects the irony of Indonesian religious tolerance, which has been dubbed a global model for inter-faith relations. In an international discussion at the Islamic Studies Program at the Graduate Theological Union Berkeley, Marriane Farrina, a professor in Christian-Muslim dialogue, ranked Indonesia among the most preferable sites of peaceful relations among religions.

Thus, in the eyes of the international community, Indonesia is an interesting phenomenon where Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists can live in one house or get along side-by-side peacefully.

Is Bogor a reflection of religious relations on the whole in Indonesia? I do believe that Islam is a blessing for the universe and what’s happening in Bogor doesn’t reflect the general state of religious relations in Indonesia. I would rather say Budiarto represents his political allies’ perspective instead that of Indonesian Muslims.

The contribution of Muhammadiyah and Nahdatul Ulama youth groups in efforts to resolve the case proves my point.

My research on Christian-Muslim Dialogue in Indonesia has come up with a unique Christian-Muslim relationship in Hunitetu land (negeri) in Maluku. Hunitetu is a predominantly Christian society with only one Muslim member of its population. Fascinatingly, the current Raja, the traditional leader of the area, is a Muslim. The only Muslim leads the Christian community.

Culturally speaking, the example of the negeri shows that unprejudiced relations are possible. The collective memory narrates that they are more Hunitetu people than Christians or Muslims.

Here, the Christian people of Hunitetu feel no problem for having a Muslim Raja as for folk narrative opens the gates of tolerance and respect for others. Hence, the Hunitetu cultural narrative, which perceives other religions with a friendly image, unites people regardless of their religious affiliation.

From the perspective of the collective memory, cultural relations create a “topos” or common ground for religious relations in the minds of the people. Besides relations within the Hunitetu community, a strong cultural attachment (Gandong or blood relationship) with Latu, a Muslim negeri, strengthens the collective memory of the friendly image. Therefore, with such a cultural relationship, communities would have a communal image of peaceful relations between Muslims and Christians.

Budiarto and his allies’ beliefs are the enemy image of other religions. Their beliefs have nothing to do with economic status or education levels. People in Hunitetu who live in poverty and go to elementary or high schools do not mind to be led by Muslims since their cultural narrative has created a friendly image toward Islam.

Unlike Bogor, which has advanced levels of education, Hunitetu does not have any colleges or universities. Therefore, comparing Hunitetu with Bogor also leads me to criticize the common theory of religious conflict, which blames poverty and a lack of education for religious violence. In my opinion, the core factor of religious violence is political interest.

Junaid Rana’s book Terrifying Muslims supports my study. His study of terror in Pakistan argues that orientalism and colonialism are the source of religious violence (Rana: 2011, 52-53). Hatred toward Christians in Pakistan is triggered by the image of the enemy. In memory of narrow-minded Muslims in Pakistan, Christianity came to Pakistan through Western missionaries, so Christianity is the enemy of Islam because of its attachment with the Western paradigm.

However, Islam teaches Muslims to respect and tolerate people of other religions. The Prophet Muhammad’s understanding of the Christian prophet Waraqah’s prophecy upon his prophethood, the first Hijrah (migration) of the Prophet Muhammad to Abbesyah (a Christian kingdom) and when he graciously allowed a Christian delegation from Najran to pray in the Nabawi Mosque after a long, peaceful discussion with the Prophet are historical foundations of peaceful relations between these two Abrahamic religions.

Political agendas and the construction of an image of “the enemy” have driven Budiarto and his allies away from the peaceful relations that the Prophet established in the Golden Age of Islam. Removing political interests is the best way to resolve the GKI Taman Yasmin case. As Nietzsche said, politics assumes that there is always a strategic victory (Hyde 2010:44). Thus, politics is always seeking a strategic victory, not amicable action.

In the Benedict Anderson concept, Indonesians live in an imagined community. Although one never knows or meets his/her national fellow, the imagination binds people as a community (2006: 6). Living in an imagined community, Indonesia needs to develop a friendly image, or else it will not achieve persatuan (unity) but persatean (coerced unity).

The GKI Taman Yasmin case is a challenge for Indonesia as a nation, and whether or not it can manage its imagined community. At this point, the friendly image serves as a lesson from the Hunitetu community to promote better interfaith relations in Indonesia.

The writer is a Fulbright PhD student at the Graduate Theological Union Berkeley and an extended member of North California Islamic Cultural Center.

Rejuvinasi Intelektualism Maluku

December 2, 2011 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

Rejuvinasi Intelektualisme Maluku

Izak Y. M. Lattu

“Maluku tidak identik dengan militerisme”, kata teman saya bagi sahabatnya yang baru datang ke Ambon. Pertanyaannya tentang simbol militarisme dalam patung Kapitan Pattimura dan Martha Christina Tiahahu membuat saya bertanya dalam hati, dimanakah para intelektual Maluku. Tidak salah bila Patung Kapitan Pattimura berdiri di Lapangan Merdeka, jantung Kota Ambon, dan Martha Christina Tiahahu di Karang Panjang tetapi pejuang Maluku bukan hanya sosok militeristik seperti Kapitan Pattimura dan Martha Christina Tiahahu yang berdiri dengan parang, salawaku dan tombak. Dimanakah figur Latuharhary, Leimena, Patty dan intelektual Maluku lainnya?
Manusia adalah makhluk simbol seperti kata Ernest Cassier, Animal Symbolicum. Dalam keseluruhan pikiran dan tindakan manusia menggunakan simbol. Seluruh kehidupan manusia ditentukan oleh simbol-simbol personal dan sosial. Karena itu, masyarakat terbentuk dalam jaringan makna yang membangun pengertian dalam masyarakat. Jika di Kota Ambon hanya ditemukan figur-figur militeristik seperti Kapitan Pattimura dan Martha Christina Tiahahu maka masyarakat Maluku akan teranyam dalam jaringan makna militeristik. Perlu dicatat, saya tidak sedang menggugat kedua figur ini, tetapi berusaha memberikan pula ruang bagi intelektual Maluku di negerinya sendiri.
Simbol-simbol militeristik yang ditempat pada titik-titik strategis di Kota Ambon seperti menjadi pembenaran bahwa masyarakat Maluku adalah masyarakat yang militeristik. Simbol-simbol ini seperti menjelaskan bahwa pahlawan itu pasti muncul dalam sosok yang militerisktik. David Hume menulis, manusia tidak membawa pengetahuan bawaan, tetapi pengetahuan datang dari pengamatan. Pengamatan terhadap simbol-simbol militeristik ini membuat masyarakat terperangkap dalam kesadaran militeristik yang pada akhirnya membentuk masyarakat militeristik pula. Karena itu, jangan heran jika masyarakat Maluku memiliki budaya militeristik/kekerasan yang kuat
Budaya tergantung pada apa yang Pierre Bourdiue sebut sebagai field (lapangan atau konteks) yang di dalamnya teranyam jaringan makna. Jaringan makna ini melahirkan Habitus (cara pandang baru). Dalam pengertian Bourdiue, habitus dibentuk oleh, pertama; pemikiran dan refleksi individu. Kedua, interaksi praksis individu dengan masyarakat di mana dia hidup. Karena itu, Habitus baru sebagai refleksi budaya dapat dilahirkan oleh interaksi masyarakat dan pemaknaan terhadap konteks dan jaringan makna dimana dia berada. Dengan demikian, budaya baru mungkin saja lahir akibat interaksi dalam konteks yang berbeda.
Bagaimana kita dapat mengharapkan sebuah habitus baru yang anti kekerasan sedangkan figur-figur pahlawan dalam bentuk patung-patung pahlawan di Kota Ambon adalah simbol militeristik? Refleksi pribadi dalam interaksi dengan masyarakat dibangun dalam kerangka refleksi militeristik. Karena itu, jangan heran jika habitus masyarakat Maluku adalah kekerasan bukan perdamaian, sebab dalam budaya militeristik terdapat adagium, ”jika menginginkan perdamaian siapkan perang”.
Kita bersyukur bahwa militer juga turut membantu perdamaian di Maluku. Tetapi kita tidak bisa mengandalkan pendekatan dan budaya militeristik dalam membangun perdamaian di Maluku. Pendekatan militeristik hanya dapat menyelesaikan damai dingin (cold peace) dan bukan damai panas (hot peace) menurut Johan Galtung. Dalam damai dingin terdapat sedikit rasa kebencian diantara pihak-pihak yang bertikai tetapi juga kurangnya interaksi menguntungkan antarpihak yang dapat membangun kepercayaan, saling ketergantungan, dan kerjasama, di sini pendekatan militeristik diperlukan untuk menjaga ketegangan tidak meledak menjadi konflik fisik.
Orang basudara di Maluku sedang memasuki fase yang Galtung sebut sebagai damai panas, dimana kerjasama aktif diperlukan untuk menjadi jembatan untuk memperbaiki masa lalu dan membangun masa depan. Karena itu, pendekatan dan budaya militerisktik tidak lagi mendapat tempat yang sentral di Maluku. Adagium yang diperlukan pada fase ini adalah “jika menginginkan perdamaian siapkan dialog dan kerjasama”.
Dalam fase damai panas ini, masyarakat Maluku justru membutuhkan sosok pahlawan dalam sosok intelektual yang bersedia memberikan pemikiran untuk pencerahan masyarakat. Intelektual seperti Leimena yang menggagas konsep Puskesmas misalnya. Dimana jalan Leimena di kota ini? Mengapa ada jalan Diponogero? Apa hubungan Diponegoro dan Maluku? Masuk akal jika jalan itu dikasih nama Slamet Riyadi yang gugur dalam menegakkan Negara Pancasila di Maluku.
Mengherankan bahwa di Kota Ambon yang sarat dengan intelektual pejuang Kemerdekaan Indonesia ini tidak ada satupun sosok pejuang intelektual yang dikedepankan. Masyarakat ini mesti didorong untuk melihat bahwa pahlawan itu tidak hanya dalam figur militeristik, tetapi juga dalam sosok intelektual. Dengan demikian masyarakat akan melihat pendapat Francis Bacon, pengetahuan adalah kekuasaan, bukan senjata adalah kekuasaan. Pengetahuan adalah kekuasaan yang dapat mengubah masyarakat ini menjadi lebih baik, bukan senjata dalam pengertian fisik.
Phenik (1964) menulis, manusia secara esensial ditentukan oleh siapa yang berkuasa untuk menghasilkan makna. Eksistensi manusia juga ditentukan oleh sekumpulan makna yang menjadi contoh. Dengan menggunakan paradigma Phenik, jika makna yang dijadikan contoh dalam masyarakat adalah intelektualisme dan bukan militerisme, maka Masyarakat Maluku akan bertumbuh menjadi masyarakat yang menghargai intelektualitas. Maluku akan memiliki Culture of Peace (budaya damai) budaya yang menurut UNESCO dalam Declaration of a Culture of Peace adalah budaya yang adalah sikap, tindakan, tradisi, dan model perilaku dan cara hidup yang didasarkan pada penghargaan terhadap kehidupan, mengakhiri kekerasan dan mengedepankan tindakan anti kekerasan melalui pendidikan, dialog, dan kerjasama.
Kekerasan bukan kodrat manusia Maluku, saya yakin manusia diciptakan untuk menghadirkan budaya damai di muka bumi Maluku dan Indonesia berdasarkan Pancasila.. Budaya bersifat dinamis, karena itu upaya menghadirkan sebuah budaya damai bagi masyarakat Maluku adalah proses yang menunjukkan bahwa masyarakat kita adalah masyarakat dinamis yang menginginkan kehidupan bersama yang lebih baik.
Sekali lagi saya tidak sedang mengatakan bahwa militer tidak penting, tetapi bagi saya sebaiknya masyarakat Maluku tidak diarahkan untuk menjadi masyarakat militerisktik. Sudah saatnya kita menghargai intelektualisme dalam sosok Latuharhary, Leimena, Patty dan lain-lain. Saya mengusulkan secara konkrit, “bangun juga patung para intelektual pejuang di Kota Ambon jika kita ingin masyarakat ini lebih damai dan intelek”. Katong perlu menghidupkan kembali (rejuvinasi) intelektualisme Maluku. Semoga!

Shaping Truth trough Art and Context

November 9, 2011 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

Shaping Truth trough Art and Context

Izak Y.M. Lattu

 

When I passed by the Berkeley campus the other night, I saw two Asian Students kissed each other publicly. Having saw the moment, I am thinking of my Asian context where kissing is a private matter that located in private sphere. These students might act differently in the place of origin than what they have been doing in the US. In this free country, kissing is a private matter either it takes place in public or private domain.

The truth of kissing in US as a free country is different with that of the Asian countries. Kissing as the object of art has different meaning in the context of place. Here, the cognition of kissing is curbed by the contextual narrative. The students I saw are from Asia but they have been living in the states where other people externalize the truth of kissing. As individual whose life is curbed by the narrative of context, the student internalizes the truth that they have found in the realm of value. Now, the put aside the Asian truth and get the states truth.

Using Peter Berger’s work, the Sacred Canopy (1990), the process of internalize the new truth is a contested process. Contest between the truth that those students absorbed from the first context (Asia) and the second, current, context.  In Eviatar Zerubabel’s (2003) word, collective memory of past in Asia and the present common memory in the US have reflected an “either or” relation. If truth as collective memory is  the mental packaged than the students mental packaged is moving from what it used to be.

The question is how the students have shaped the mind and the perspective of truth? The interaction with a context has moved the perspective of individual. At this point, media as a tool of art reflect the real life of society. I am echoing Octavio Carrasco, the concert of Britney Spear and Tupac Shakur have influenced people life and behavior. The Hollywood film industry has also created meaning in the life of people who watched the movies.

As a consequence, the students believe that kissing in public is truth because of the observation of surrounding context. Art has created the truth in the student minds. Yet, one could argue that the public kissing is the reflection of the concept of love in the mind of the students. In Ethica Nicomachea Aristotle wrote, the good is that at which all things aim, the good for man is happiness, and happiness is the realization of man’s essential nature (Sulivan Roger, 1977). The kissing of these two people in Aristotle concept of happiness is the reflection of happiness and the happiness comes out from the mind of the students.

 

On the Land of the Others: Eboo Patel’s Dialogue of Life Experience in the Context of Multicultural Society

November 9, 2011 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

On the Land of the Others:

Eboo Patel’s Autobiography on Dialogue of Life Experience in the Context of Multicultural Society

Izak Y. M. Lattu

Introduction

Read Eboo Patel’s book, Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, The Struggle for the Soul of a Generation (2007) is like looking at my shadow in the Patel’s mirror. As Patel have experienced for being a Muslim and an America in the context of multi-religion and multi-cultural society, I was facing the same problem as a Christian and an Indonesian in the Indonesia pluralistic context. Both, Patel and I, live as a minority in the multi-cultural society where values and identities sometimes come along but also fight each other. As Patel did in America, I was working closely with my Muslim family and friend to bring about peace and justice for the interfaith youth community in Indonesia.

In this book report, I will elaborate Patel’ experience on the encounter of self and the religious others as well as self and the cultural others. It is clear in Patel senior high and sophomore period when he struggle with identity issues. I will argue that Patel’ book is all about how to cross into the soil of the others; religiously and culturally. I will figure out the reason and sources behind Patel progressive mind. Here, I will describe the book that he read, the friendship that he makes as well as the activities that he involved in. I might also bring some other sources in order to understand Patel writing and his circumstances.

 

Patel’s Passing Over

Patel was born into an Indian family who moved to the US along with the whole family for his father graduate study in the Nother Dame. As a young Muslim Patel was trained by his family to recite Quran and read the prayer (du’a). He was nurtured in the strong Shi’a family and community, back home in India and now in the US. He was able to recite Quran in the Chicago Mosque in the very young age when the rest of his college did not do the same way.

He started to realize his different identity in the school age. Here his Mom played a big role in shaping his identity as a Muslim. By avoiding to eat pork, Patel comprehended his different identity, Muslim. When ask his mother why he could not eat pork, what’s wrong with the pork. His mother reply, “because we are Muslim, we not eat pork” (p, 23-24). Socially, nothing wrong with the pork, but religiously it’s matter. At this point, religious value and norm become identity which distinguish one person or group with the others.

From Patel explanation on Shi’a, what make it different with Sunni[1] as well the story of Imam, I assume that Patel gained a really strong religious training in his family. Recite Quran, reading du’a “ya Ali, ya Muhammad” and all the involvement in the Mosque have been able to strengthen Patel faith on Islam as well as his belief on the Shi’a teaching. His started his life with a strong foundation of religion. However, his youth age was not an exclusive one. Means, he started an open relationship with friends from other religion such as Christian and Jew. In John Cobb, Jr religious attitude toward others, Patel begun his life with an inclusive live. Strengthen the self-identity but open for the existence of the others.[2] Here his family play an enormous role of such religious attitude.

Patel’s involvement with Young Man Christian Association (YMCA) gave him a rich experience on his religious other identity. In the association, he started to not only make friendship but also learn of some Christian teaching from song. When Patel learn some Christian song he understand other religious teaching. His mother again played big role in this encounter. As soon as his father worried about the learning of Christian song of his kids, Patel’s mother said “I hope they teach the kids Jew’s and Hindu’s songs, too. That’s kind of Muslim we want our kids to be” (p, 17). Patel’s mother was the one who taught him the prayer, reminded him to recite Quran and Shi’a teaching, protected him from eating pork, but at the same time open space for her kids to learn from others and grow as a tolerant and progressive Muslim.

During Patel college life, he experienced different model of encountering the others, Love. Young Patel enjoyed his college life and as others students in his time did, Patel was in a relationship with Lisa a Mormon girl. His explanation on Mormon faith and theology reflects his understanding on Mormon teaching what he gained from a serious relationship with Liza. He says “whether it is a religion, a drugs, a book, or a person you fall for, you can expect to emerge on the other side nothing less than totally transformed” (p, 34). Relationship with Liza as well as latter with Sarah a Jew woman helped Patel to understand other religions in a more proper way. Not only in the love story but his friendship with Kevin his Jewish best friend (p, 69) triggered him to cross over to the heart of the others land.

The point is, close relationship with people from other religion leads one to open the heart for others. In order to understand Liza, Sarah, and Kevin, Patel needs to deal with their identities. Although Patel does not explain in his book, but I do believe that the three friends of him also could learn something from Islamic teaching which lead them to a better understanding of Islam. Patel eloquently pointed out that to make a true dialogue is making friendship and understand the others. Seems to me that Patel has done what religious scholar call the dialogue of life.[3]

 

The Suffering Others

Eboo Patel activities with Catholic social worker brought him to El Cuarto Ano School, a school where he came across to the land of suffering others. Here in the school he taught students who are the member if the gangster as well as students who have at least one child. In the early period he found hard time to teach the students, but later on he was successful in teaching them how to read and write in a proper way. Some of the, at the end, went to college and university to continue their study.

His meeting with some professors and social activists during his university life inspired him to do something for the suffering other. Bill Ayers the Professor of education in the University of Illinois, Chicago taught him the critical thinking and the movement of some rebels who work for the poor under the unjust regime. From Ayers he knew Che Guevara and John Brown two rebellions who worked for people in their life time. In the Catholic social worker, he read the story of Dorothy Day who devoted herself for the less and unfortune people. Kathy Kelly the founder of Voice in the Wilderness tutored him to speak for the weak through the protest against the Iraq war (p, 52-67).

His visit to Jerusalem taught him about the suffering of Palestinian people under Israeli occupation. He saw the Palestinian people struggle with an overwhelming burden, including how to keep the identity as a Muslim. He quote his conversation with one Palestianian “This is Arab food, Palestinian food, the Israel occupy our land, but they cannot take our land” said one Palestinian refugee in San Francisco. Even though he knows little about the PLO and other Palestinian liberations but his visit to Israeli and Palestine edified him the burden and suffering of people under the occupation.

Patel learning process from so many sources and religions, encourage him to go beyond the border of religion and ethnics. At this level, Eboo found himself as an international person who work with people across the ethnic groups and religions. Unlike Eric Rudolph who detonated New Woman All Women Health Care, Alabama and attacked the 1996 Olympic Game, Eboo extend his reading, friendship and study by passing over to understand the others. For Patel, he is different compare to other people that is why he needs to learn from the other. Yet for Rudolph as well as Habib Hussein, Muhammad Siddiq Khan and other fundamentalists, the others are different therefore they should be banished.  Patel’s way in dealing with the others is the peaceful and tolerant path by which he could open up his mind and heart to understand the others.

In the perspective of Patel, Islam is the religion of peace. His reading on Rumi’s peace Islam helped him to figure out the peaceful side of Islam. Reading Rumi’ poets leads Patel to his reflection on Islam as the Rahmatanlil alamin, Islam as a blessing for all living being. He also read Fazrul Rahman concept of moderate Islam in Chicago. Rahman was a Pakistani Professor who escaped to the US for his tolerant and peaceful interpretation on Islam which was different than that of majority Muslim in the Pakistan. Farid Essack book’s, Quran, Liberation and Pluralims, is another important sources for Patel to coin his understanding as religion as peace. Here, he gained his ability to accept the truth from whatever sources it might come and be transformed to be a true Muslim and American at the same time.

 

Conclusion

Eboo Patel’s progressive mind is a long process which started from his family and continued until his today life. His book shows the reader that family plays a significant role in shaping one perspective on the others. As family is the first institution of education, the tolerance and progressive values should be planted since the childhood. In addition to the family, friends and the inner circle of relationship could lead to the openness toward the others.

Patel response to the relationship with Islam and the other is different compare to the fundamentalist people since he have been trained in the pluralistic environment. Was born into educated family, learn Islamic teaching at home and learn other religious tradition at school. His reading on Islamic scholar like, Aga Khan, Rumi, Fazrul Raham, and Farid Essack gave him a complete picture of Islam as the religion of peace. The reading strengthens his perspective that Islam is the blessing for the others. In the hand of Muslim should rest a love instead of the violence.

 

 

 


[1] Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Islam: Religion, History and Civilization (New York: Harperone Press, 2003), 10-14.

[2]  John B. Cobb, Jr, Beyond Dialogue: Toward a Mutual Transformation of Christianity and Buddhism (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1998), 52.

[3] Christian W. Troll, Dialogue and Difference: Clarity in Christian-Muslim Relations (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2010), 20.

Waihatu: A Central Java Community in the Middle of Moluccas Host Society

March 15, 2010 by · 7 Comments · Uncategorized

AJAS (Anak Jawa Asli Seram) or Javanese Descent who is originally from Seram is a nick name for Javanese descent who was born and grew up in Waihatu, Western Part of Seram Island Moluccas. As a name of community AJAS represent an hybrid identity lays upon Javanese descent in Moluccas. They aware of dual identity which are atributed to this migrant community. They are no longer Javanese as it was in Java. They have another added identity what they observed from interaction with host Moluccan community.

Language is one of the measurment of their dual identity. They can speak Ambonese -Malay, the lingua franca of Moluccas very well. Eventhough the dialect still influenced by a Javanese dialect  but they are about perfectly speak the lingua-franca. Among the second-thrid generations of Waihatu, interaction in the public schools bring them into a close relationship with the host Moluccas.

Although, in some parts Javanese migrant in Waihatu learn an use Moluccan culture and custom  but they are hardly preserving their own identity. They way they keep the Javanese values are trough watching wayang in the television or DVD and discuss it along with the elder who can contribute them with a original Javanese costums. Values such as tepo seliro, seduluran salawase, nrimo ing pandum triger the migrant to be in a mutual relationship with host Moluccan. What surprising is, during a giant religious riot in Moluccas from 1999-2004 they were very safe due to this tied relationship…..a complete article will be published in another journal….a small describtive article will be published by Suara Merdeka Newspaper…

Tentang Proposal Sosiologi Gereja

October 28, 2009 by · 10 Comments · Uncategorized

Dear all,

Beberapa hal penting:

- Proposal tidak lebih dari 3 halaman 1 spasi

- Judul harus spesifik, langsung pada masalah yang mau diteliti

- Latar belakang masalah

- Teori yang sudah kita dapat di kelas

- Metodologi penelitian: pertanyaan penelitian, tujuan penelitian, Jenis penelitian, metode penelitian, metode pengambilan data, waktu penelitian, tempat penelitian

-  Dafatar pustaka

- Pengumpulan Proposal paling lambat hari Senin, 2 November 2009, pukul 14.00 di Kanfak. Diprint yah. Terlambat satu hari nilai proposalnya dipotong 5%

- Thanks guys, chayooooo…….you can make it……I will cross my fingers for you