YOUNG, TOLERANCE, AND RESPECT DIVERSITY
Syamsul Arif Galib
ASEC (Actual Smile English Club ) Member
Ambassador of CINTAindonesia (Committee for Interfaith Tolerance Indonesia)
Once, I heard people told me, Young generation is the hope of the nation. But then I realize, they are not only hope of the nation. They are more than that, Young generation is determinant of the nation. The future of this country are in their hand.
We have no doubt that Indonesia is a very big country. Not only in term of the area which consists of more than 17.000 islands, but also in term of diversity including religion, culture, tribe and people. Those diversity and plurality have made Indonesia to be such a beautiful wonderful country. Not to be hyperbolic, but Indonesia may look like the miniature of the world, where many religions and different types of people live in one place called Earth.
However, it is not always easy to be in diverse or in pluralistic society. Sometimes, there is a clash among the groups. People fight each other, think that their religion or group is better than other. Some even believe that their religion or group reflects the “true Indonesia.” It is kind of funny because Indonesia is not belong to any particular religion, group or even tribe. Indonesia is belong to every person who is born and raised as Indonesian citizen.
It is quite worrying seeing how conflict among groups and people are easily happened. It’s even more terrifying because some people who are involved in this some brutal actions are young generation. People whom in their hand the future of this is relied on. Then, what we can expect from the generation who are apatist, full of hate, intolerance, or not respecting diversity.
On the late October, around 35 students from various universities in Indonesia came together in Bali in the forum called, Interfaith Youth Forum 2013. It was an annual forum conducted by the alumnae of Study of U.S Institute (SUSI) for Student Leaders on Religious Pluralism and Democracy in USA. And supported by Dialogue Institue and Global Peace Youth Corps. The participants of this forum were coming from different background of religion. Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Kong Hucu or even people who define themselves as agnostic.
This program are very valuable for any young generation in Indonesia in order to create more understanding and to promote diversity and pluarlity of this country. Through this event, young generation are enable to know more about other religions through discussion and presentation from the religious leaders or through coversation among participants. It is also an incredible opportunity for young generation to get out of their box of exclusivity to be more inclusive or more open to others belief. And also to minimize the negativity and prejudice of others’ belief.
Through some interesting event such as drama and focus group discussion, these young generation are became familiar with the issue of diversity in Indonesia and learn how to deal with that issue and how to solve the problem. The participant also had a religious tour by visiting Puja Mandala. It is an area where Mosque, Temple, Wihara, Chatolic and Reformation Church are built side by side. This site can be a manifestation of our founding father thought about what Indonesia is. Bhineka Tungal Ika, Unity in Diversity.
This event also resulted an oath called Peace Pledge, where these young people of Indonesian commit to strengthen of respect, love, tolerance and working together among people without seeing any difference based on culture, tribe, religion, social class and race.
There is always feeling of happiness and optimism to see young people who are eagerly willing to join and involve in this kind of forum. Young people who are interested in knowing about others, and mingling with others to share their ideas without thingking about different faith they believe in.
For those of you who are still young, I just like to remind you that, in your hands the future of this nation are relied on. Stay positive and be a better person to others. Always believe that this coutry is designed for all Indonesian no matter of what religion and belief they are. God has designed this diversity world for you. So, live with that. Do not exclude yourselves. If you are a Muslim, be a good Muslim, if you are Christian be a good Christian. Be good Hindu, be a good Budhist, and be a good Kong Hucu. Even if you are an atheist or an agnostic be a good agnostic and a good atheist too. Keep respecting other people belief just like you want other people respect what you belief. Our country is proud to have you. A young generation who are tolerance and respect diversity.