If there is one hot button to set an Indonesian off, it would be religion.
Intolerance From a Mother’s Point of View
Yes, I know the above statement is generalizing and not all Indonesians are that short tempered. Yet sadly, every day I see posts after posts on Facebook that talk about religious uproar and witnessing the spike of intolerances in this country.
Friends attacking each other – don’t even start with how people will virtually attack strangers online for speaking up against intolerance, for stating facts that God does not teach people to be violent.
Friends calling each other “kafir” (infidel) for not defending their religion or for deciding to be peaceful instead of spreading hatred. When my Muslim friends would say the true Muslim teachings are not what it has become today, they too got called infidels. How sad is that?
Not only on social media, I am deeply saddened to hear with my own ears messages of hatred being preached in places of worships. Places where one supposed to pray and get closer to God. This country seems to be shaken with so much hatred lately it is frightening.
I am a Christian by faith so that means in the predominantly Muslim populated country, my family and I are considered the minority. Please bear in mind that Indonesia is NOT a Muslim country even some Indonesians get this mixed up. Muslim is the majority religion here but our law recognizes Christianity, Catholic, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Kong Hu Cu. 6 nationally acknowledge religious beliefs. If you are an atheist then you are pretty much screwed – sorry, but that’s the truth. Religion is a must filled columns in just about every official Indonesian paper works.
Seems like there’s a looming dark cloud of hatred hovering above Indonesia at the moment.
How do I explain to my son when he asked: “Why don’t they let Christian people have their event, Mommy?”
How do I explain to my son when he asked: “Why they said kill Ahok, Mommy?”
When you hear little children shouting “Kill Ahok!” on the street, my heart shatters and I wonder what have we become as a country?
I cannot shield my son from the outside world and what’s going on in this country. Even when I don’t watch the local news anymore, my son can hear the preachers and he can hear my family talked about the issues.
For my non-Indonesian friends, Ahok is Jakarta’s governor who got himself in deep water from a religious accusation that he insulted Muslim. Ahok is a Chinese Indonesian and a Christian. The first Chinese descendent who hold the office as governor in Jakarta. He is a great leader in my eyes even when he is quite vocal. He has brought great changes in this city especially in fighting corruption.
All political reasons aside, I am one for peace. My most concern is how this has spiraled out of control. Religious injustice has a long history in this country, yet lately, it has escalated to the level that I can’t even comprehend anymore.
I am so concerned about our children’s future – no, I am scared about what kind of future the world will become if we don’t take a stand now! I don’t want my son to grow up where differences become justified license to kill each other. I don’t want my son to accept that minorities will have to be second class citizen always.
As a mother, I can only do these at home in hoping that my son will not get sucked into this cycle of hatred.
5 Things to Teach Children About Tolerance
- Respect. This is the root of all good things. Respect covers the bases of all other great qualities that make us human. Respect for others and also for his own self. Bullying happens when there is an absence of respect for others. Respect for all religions, sexual orientations, skin color, etc. Different does not equal wrong. I will continue to teach and remind my son to hold off the judgments cards no matter what religious beliefs or sexual orientation someone has.
- Manners. This is very important for us parents to teach and to lead by example. Not only manners increase our children’s social IQ but it shows them as a responsible and thoughtful person.
- Agree to Disagree. Educating my son that hatred and violence is NEVER the answer to any conflicts or issues. I must keep teaching him that differences of opinions are a part of life and what matters is the way we react and how we control our own emotions.
- Acceptance. Teaching him that there are different kinds of people on this planet. Like rainbows; different colors, different shades yet it doesn’t make those who are different than us any less human or lost their rights as human being. Being interracial, my son already understands that people treat him differently here and I constantly must remind him that no matter what, we are all human being.
- Kindness. No one was born into this world with hatred. Children do not see the color of skin nor religion when they play together. Teaching my son to have compassions towards all living being is very important. When he has kindness in his heart, then I will rest assure he will go far in this life.
We would have less angry people in this world if we all teach our children tolerance.
There is still hope to create a better future for our children if we start from home. Come on, people we are better than this. Please, please, please let us say no to hatred!
How would you teach your children at home about being tolerant? How can we raise our children to be the agents of change?