Friday, July 19, 2013

Sustainable Peace For Sampang; Can Shia reconcile with Sunni and resettle in Sampang?

After 20 days staying in Jakarta, the Goes , representative of Shia people from Sampang-Madura- East Java, who came to Jakarta by bicycle, eventually were received by President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudoyono on 14 July 2013. Mr. Yudoyono has promised that He will lead the process of reconciliation between Sunni and Shia in Sampang. He also remarked to all Muslim in Indonesia to not spread hate speech to other group and will take the situation of Sampang as strong consideration to impose the development agenda. Can Presiden bring sustainable peace for Sampang?

I must say "yes, it is possible". Moreover, the president can also take an initiative of reconciliation between Sunni and Shia in Sampang and bring the agenda of resettlement of almost 233 people who currently are staying at Puspo Agro Apartment in Sidoarjo, nearby the capital of East Java Province. The current situation between Shia and Sunni seems stuck. The national discourse on Shia and the local discourse is not match. Majority voice of Muslim in East Java claims that Shia is not part of Islam, While in National level strongly support that Shia is recognized by International Muslim Society. It is big fact. Another controversial issues relating with this is about inconsistency internal voice of Nahdatul Ulama (NU), the biggest muslim mass organization, in which provincial and distric branch agree that Shia is heresy. While, in National Level, the head of NU, strongly addresses that Shia is one of school of thought of Islam. Though, there are intervention of program has been doing for conflict resolution, in fact the intervention program was only remedy the impact of conflict, not to resolve the root causes of conflict. So, it is unquestionable that the intervention from the president is urgent. To support this progress, i may suggest the president of Indonesia to take some points as considerations before designing model of conflict resolution for Sampang.

Number one is to have broader perspective on conflict resolution. Meaning that to look the root causes of conflict is economic and non economic  inequality. The fact that Sampang is one of poor area in Indonesia, in which the number of illiterate, poverty, lack of health services, lack of education quality, early marriage, Maternal Mortality Rate, Infant Mortality RAte are having high rate. On the other hand, the role of religious leaders are influential to people, can be a positive and negative side. Positive side, they could strengthen spirituality of people to keep strunggle living in poor condition. Contrary, the negative side of their existence, is the religious leader may use their power to gain his political interest and using people. 

Number two is to focus on conflict transformation through sustainable development, in which the national government must take a look back the national plan of development, and shift the priority to conflict prone area like Sampang. The achievement of MDGs must be projected to Sampang, where people earning income less then one dollar should be strengthened their capacity and put more opportunity of job. So people could access. Illiteracy among adult must be eradicated by integrating learning program (Paket Belajar) to local institution. So, illiterate adult can learn how to write and read. Health services must be affordable for them and awareness raising must be strongly addressed. If it is possible to be part of priority program in district and community level. Building big road is very possible to cut people dependency to the middleman who often give cheap price to their harvest. When people have a nice road connecting from village to town, people could directly sell their goods to the town. Outsider could also invest to the village. 

Number three is to include all multi stakeholders in the process of reconciliation and transformation process, because reconciliation needs long process and required forgiveness from two sides.  So, representative of connectors from Sunni and Shia must be part of the process. including the civil societies should be part of the process. 

Number four is to have law enforcement in national level, in which any violence cannot be tolerated by the state. So, state must strongly monitor the groups who often commits violence and give serious sanction to them. Hate Speech in public must be responded seriously by the government. Minister of Religion must control of religious leaders who do preaching in public and ensure that they do not use hate speech to against other religions or beliefs. 

Finally, the president must using the interest based approach to reconciliation and resettlement of Shia in Sampang. Sending back Shia people to their village is tough work, but keeping them sustain and be accepted by the local people is big challenge. And this is the core of reconciliation. AMAN Indonesia did investigation last year after the second attack to Shia groups regarding peace capacity in Sampang. The findings shows that (Sunni) Women have strong opinion to keep peace. Meaning that Women are ready to accept and live together with Shia people. So, the reconcilaition process should also considre the participation of women because women has strong potential in making peace. Because women often thinks more strategic on keeping "life". Because life is starting from women's body, therfore women more appreciates the life. 

In all, I am so much supporting the process of reconciliation and resettlement of Shia in Sampang. I also more supportive when Government could consider the interest of both Shia and Sunni. Shia needs to come back, Sunni needs to be improved their life quality. So, fasten development in Sampang may give benefit for all. ***  

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