What does Osama bin Laden’s death mean to Indonesia?

Twitter went wild yesterday with the death of Osama bin Laden when it was officially announced by Obama (yes, I better make sure I don’t make the same typo). Big news, but I actually would think that it doesn’t mean much to Indonesia.

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Twitter went wild yesterday with the death of Osama bin Laden when it was officially announced by Obama (yes, I better make sure I don’t make the same typo). Big news indeed, but I actually would think that it doesn’t mean much to Indonesia.

Firstly Obama’s speech was a smart one, winning cookie points with the Muslim world with this statement:

As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not –- and never will be -– at war with Islam. I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own. So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.

The Vatican also issued a statement shortly after Osama bin Laden’s death which is aptly put:

“Faced with the death of a man, a Christian never rejoices but reflects on the serious responsibility of each and every one of us before God and before man, and hopes and commits himself so that no event be an opportunity for further growth of hatred, but for peace,”

I have never understood the minds of people who kill by the name of religion, and Osama bin Laden certainly was a poster boy for this ideology. If his death would mean anything to Indonesia, first of all, it would be a signal that as long as anyone is there spreading terror, there would also be people against it. So for some, Osama bin Laden’s death might be a victory, but for the world to be cheering about it, it’s an overstatement.

Terror is a concept, it’s created in our minds. Waging war against terror, in my view, would be difficult to measure. To which point does the war end and who can be determined as the winner?

If fear spreads, then terror already won. But if in the case of a bomb, a conflict, or a riot happened and the citizens remain vigilant and calm, then terror have lost. When the JW Marriot bombing happened in 2009, the #indonesiaunite movement was an example that we refuse to be in a state of fear and be united against terrorism.

If Osama’s death is any indication that the war on terror has been won, then that is a false sense of achievement. Indonesia has been facing an increasing number of religious-related violence, and the fact that the government is doing very little about it means that they are condoning such behavior.

I wouldn’t be relieved that Osama bin Laden has died, if the spread of radicalism, hatred and intolerance is still there. So as long as it is still there, especially in Indonesia who is supposedly built on the principle of unity in diversity, I don’t think Osama bin Laden’s death means much to the people here.

Feel free to put in your thoughts in the comments below.

16 thoughts on “What does Osama bin Laden’s death mean to Indonesia?”

  1. Obama said that he plans to release one death photo of bin Laden. I’m betting that it will be onefrom right before “burial.”

  2. Very little. The problems of increased religious polarization, intolerance and violence that we have witnessed in Indonesia in the last decade have less to to do Al Qaeda, and more to do with Indonesia’s unresolved historical and governance problems, and with Indonesians’ engagement with religion.

  3. Yeah, Pipi is among those, like Megawati Sukarnopoetri, who suggested the 9/11 was all a CIA-orquestrated hoax, and that the war on terror is really thinly veiled crusade against Islam. Right.

  4. i believe, there exist two types of terrorists; the ones whose leader was buried in the sea and those who appear as anti-terrorist or underground terrorists.

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