Sunday, September 26, 2010

Devide Et Impera

Every Indonesian knows what devide et impera means. It's been drilled into our brain for ever at school, when they talk about history and in moral Pancasila study. Divide and conquer.

At school I'd been told how Dutch used this devide et impera tactic to rule Indonesian for 350 years. Come to think of it, the Dutch didnt conquer us for 350 years. It took them about 300 years to conquer all Indonesia. They came in 1552 in Banten, and it wasnt until around 1907 that they conquered all Indonesia before leaving in 1942.

That being said, we saw Dutch involvement in some of the conflicts between Indonesian kingdoms or within kingdoms. I cant really blame the Dutch for doing that, it was their opportunity to gain some allies and power. I blame Indonesians who were/are power hungry and willing to sell their land/country.

Fast forward to the present time, as the Dutch are far far away. Devide et impera is still tangible in Indonesia. There are religious, ethnic, political conflicts all over the country. Years of brainwashing about the danger of devide et impera doesnt pay off. It's still easy to divide Indonesians. I guess the need for power is stronger than the need for achievement in Indonesia. Even in the lower rank you can really feel the need for power in all aspect of life. There are plenty incidents where it could've been simpler/better, but because of the need of power of the person in charge with it, it became difficult.

Back in 1928, our forefathers managed to put their differences aside, and worked together to gain independence. We need to follow their lead and put our differences and the need for power aside, work together to create a better Indonesia.

1 comment:

colson said...

Is 'divide and rule' really a deliberate common strategy? I mean at a national level? Perhaps. Probably even ( it is a common practice wherever you look). But I rather think the really mosaic pattern of Indonesian is an objective fact.

Even without stressing the differences there are huge 'objective' conflicting interests; between classes ( the abyss between the poor and the ruling elite), between religions (majority religion versus and minorities), between regions ( centre and periphery) and cultures (I guess people in Aceh and the indigenous Papua's will not understand each other).

It is much easier to unite to conquer a foreign enemy that unite behind a common banner without one. If that nevertheless happens it probably will be kind of misleading nationalism, I'm afraid.

I think the best would be to identify and recognize the national contrasts and negotiate compromises by means of well established institutions.

I guess that's where the problem really is: the institutions are still flawed. An underdeveloped 'midfield', a political semi-oligarchy and inadequate state of law.