Statesmanship

Every person, institution or government has some blind spots, areas where the span of vision and control of the person could just not reach, and the person remains ill-informed until somebody be kind enough to share their observations in the form of critics, suggestions or in harsher forms of feedbacks. One should remember, however, critics may backfire to the senders when there are imbalances in the assessments.

I still remember quite clearly prior to the 1999 general election in Indonesia. The first free direct general election after the collapse of the authoritarian New Order regime, when many people were quite afraid on the high probability of acts of violence during the open campaign and after the election that might undermine the value and legitimacy of the election and might as well kill the still young democracy.

When many people just did the talk and got their names and faces appeared on the papers and TV stations as experts or smart political analysts, Garin Nugroho did it differently. Through Visi Anak Bangsa he produced a couple of TV spots sending simple messages suggesting common people to have peaceful open campaigns and election.

The selection of the characters, the dialogue (Inga, Inga!) and the properties used, created relax humorous atmospheres and hence the message could effectively enter into the people's MiHeS (the Mind, Heart and Soul), and remains there until today. As we all know, there were no violence reported during the street mass campaigns, and the historic 1999 general election ran smoothly. It would be good if these kind of TV spots be aired again for the next presidential election to refresh people's memory.

In the last April 9, 2009, however, there was no Garin Nugroho who reminded people with his simple but powerful messages to simply check whether their names were already in the list and to cast their votes in the voting day. There might be many talks by politicians and analysts regarding their concerns on DPT (Daftar Pemilih Tetap), but common people do not listen to them, and hence those who lost their votes most likely were those who gave no attention at all to their rights, until they lost them.

These days we read and watch in the media words of those smart political analysts and politicians who put all the blames to KPU and the government for failing to register millions of eligible voters, and they even challenge the legitimacy of the election and do not care what that would mean for the country. Those smart people really need to know where they need to stop. Stop to be smart political analysts and politicians, and be statesmen and -women.

In this beautiful country of Indonesia, with the quality of systems and people that we currently have, it's absurd to expect a flawless election without the support and contribution from individuals and the society.

The country clearly needs more persons like Garin Nugroho who apparently has more sense of statesmanship than those smart political communication analysts and seasons politicians.
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