Today I was invited to attend the Roundtable Discussion Indonesia-Denmark with interesting theme "Managing Diversity in a Democracy: Indonesian and Danish Experiece" with the Denmark Minister of Foreign Affairs, Villy Sovndal, at the Convention Hall UGM Graduate School. This below is my briefly written response as the ICRS student to the minister.
Some Ideas for Roundtable Discussion Indonesia-Denmark
As far I knew Ambon Case is a prominent example which indicates the vulnerable of Indonesian democracy as it was constituted since Revolutionary Era (Old Order) and Developmentalism Era (New Order). From the case then we have been seeing subsequent religious-based as well as ethnic-based conflicts in many provinces of Indonesia.
I may say that such an exemplary conflict caused by two problematic issues:
 Historical issue: The misunderstanding of democracy as only majority-minority discourse. Since the earlier state of becoming Indonesia as we can read in “Risalah Sidang BPUPKI 28 Mei 1945 – 22 Agustus 1945” (The Proceeding of Indonesian Committee for the Preparation of Independence), the heaviest debates mainly on the national foundation of new nation-state Indonesia – whether on “secular” (democracy) or “religious” (Islamic sharia). The basic idea of Islamic leaders at that time was simply that the majority of Indonesia population is Muslim so that Islam should be regarded as the sociopolitical basis for the state. They focused on narrow cultural environment namely “Java Island” and were simply disregard the existence of social groups outside Java Island such as some regions of Sulawesi, Bali, Timor, Maluku, and Papua. They thought that since Javanese and Islam are the biggest two identities in the new-Indonesia then both should be accepted as the dominant powers to rule the future of post-independence Indonesia. In that point, we can get understanding why the rejection of “seven words” and “Jakarta Charter” (Piagam Jakarta) had been memorizing collectively as the failure of the majority (Javanese and Islam). It was becoming worse when Suharto forced all social organizations (ormas), including religions, to accept Pancasila as the single platform, otherwise the government will dismiss them.
 Democracy and Development Issues: Regarding these issues I will say this is an Indonesian dilemma. Suharto, the second president of Indonesia, emphasized national stability as the basic condition for economic development. This was important strategy to build Indonesian economy after the revolution under Sukarno’s rhetoric. Consequently, the regime had to cut-off all ideological disputes by squeezing all political and/or cultural differences into one single loyalty under the flag of national interest. Indonesia under Suharto for 32 years underwent so-called quasi-democracy: we had general election every five year but had no critical people’s representatives in the parliament. Another main problem is the economic development which centered on Java Island, specifically Jakarta. Other islands have abundantly natural resources but the regime exploited them massively only for the Jakarta interest or regime’s cronies.
While as a nation we are facing continuously the problem of poverty, unemployment, imbalance economic growth, over-exploited natural resources, mega scandals of corruption at every level of bureaucracy and public life, the effects of neo-liberalism and free-market policies, global warming which threat small islands in eastern Indonesia, mismanagement of educational programs, double standard in law enforcement (for instance, Aceh has its sharia laws and flag while the government accused separatists for Maluku and Papua whose similar symbols) and so forth, we are also seeing the crystallization of religious spirit to claim the single truth for all regardless the diversity of Indonesian society.
The subsequent national leaders (including presidents till the present one) failed to revitalize democracy as the principle to embrace differences and as means to manage pluralism in Indonesia. Scholarly, I will say that the Indonesian government today has no basic national platform ideologically as well as culturally to manage Indonesian diversity as chief possibility to build democracy as the power to constitute rules and regulations which empowering Indonesian citizenship equally. We are still trap into the jargon democracy as majority-minority discourse. Who are the majorities? Who are the minorities? Who has authority to determine which majority and minority? On the basis of what principle such a determination has been made? Humanity or theocracy or what?
In terms of insisting religious doctrines in public sphere, I am questioning: Does religion[s] provide specific law about state or society? Or religions only provide the principles of ethic as guidance to empower mutual relationship and to build equal citizenship? Moreover, which religion[s] whose heavenly authority to claim the truth for whom in the context of pluralism in Indonesia? Who are the truth holders and the sinner? And, by virtue of what principles?
Brief response and questions above are an effort to criticize the democracy issue as I understood as Indonesian dilemma nowadays. They are also triggering issues to learn what is going on in Denmark deal with the diversity as the consequence of our globalized world. Thank you. [steve gaspersz]