The Jakarta Post
Vice President Jusuf Kalla has called on the National Police to understand the roots of conflict in Indonesia, saying that failures to understand what initially lead to the conflict will make it hard to resolve the current issues.
'Police officers and military personnel have quite different tasks. The police should protect and serve the people. To carry out these tasks, the police must be able to understand the root causes of conflict and the particular conditions in which it is likely to happen,' Kalla said as quoted by Antara news agency at the Vice Presidential Office in Jakarta.
He was speaking in front of high-ranking National Police officers currently participating in the police's High Staff and Command School (Sespimti).
Kalla further said that Indonesia was safer than other countries marred by conflict, such as Myanmar, Thailand, the Philippines and Middle Eastern countries.
He said, however, that there were some reasons why several conflicts in Indonesia had never been completely resolved and tended to be protracted.
The Vice President said that during the last 70 years after it declared its independence, Indonesia experienced 15 big conflicts, in which more than 1,000 people lost their lives. The conflicts included an Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) coup in Madiun, East Java, on Sept. 18, 1948, the South Maluku Republic (RMS) separatist movement, the DI/TII (Darul Islam/Tentara Islam Indonesia) insurgency, the PRRI/Permesta affair and other conflicts that broke out in Aceh, East Timor, Maluku, Papua and Poso.
'The Madiun coup was triggered by a communist plot to take over Indonesia while the RMS revolt was a separatist movement. The DI/TII and Permesta affairs were also caused by ideology-related issues. Except those rebellions, most conflicts, such as those which had occurred in Aceh, Ambon or Poso, were triggered by political, social and economic injustice. People in those conflict areas thought that they were blessed by abundant natural resources but little progress could be achieved,' said Kalla.
'This is our duty. If we want to avoid such conflicts from happening again in the future, we must maintain justice in this country and to that end we need to understand on why a conflict occurs in a society,' said the Vice President.
He said there were misunderstandings about the root causes of conflict in Indonesia. Many people thought that conflicts in certain areas such as Aceh and Poso were triggered by religious issues but in fact these conflicts, he claimed, were the result of injustices.
'The question is why have there been so many religious conflicts in Indonesia? I think this is simply because people easily get involved in religious-related conflicts and it takes quite a long time for such conflicts to be resolved,' said Kalla. (ebf)