Friday, August 22, 2014

Hubungan Warga Palestina dan Indonesia


SAYA menemani Maningsih, kerabat isteri saya dari Pontianak, hendak menikah dgn pemuda Palestina, Alaa Eidin Abdil Karim dari Gaza kini bekerja di Kuala Lumpur. Mereka memerlukan surat keterangan Kedutaan Besar Republik Arab Palestina.

Dutabesar Fariz Mehdawi menemui kami serta bertanya kepada Alaa soal keseriusan teken nikah dgn warga Indonesia. Mehdawi menekankan bahwa pernikahan adalah "kontrak" antara dua individu dengan melibatkan negara sebagai badan yang melindungi kontrak tersebut serta menyelesaikannya bila ia tak berakhir sesuai perjanjian: salah satu pihak meninggal dunia. Senang juga lihat wejangan dan pertanyaannya.

Alaa Eidin dan Maningsih dgn bendera Palestina dan Indonesia. 
Mereka berkenalan April 2012 ketika Maningsih dan sahabatnya, Astuti Dewi, berlibur di Kuala Lumpur. Alaa bekerja sebagai tour guide khusus turis berbahasa Arab di Kuala Lumpur. Ia dilanjutkan dengan komunikasi jarak jauh sampai Alaa, tampaknya serius, datang ke rumah Maningsih di Pontianak.

Persoalannya, secara hukum dan budaya, mereka tentu punya perbedaan. Alaa sendiri kelahiran Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, pada 1982 dgn status pengungsi. Keluarganya mengungsi ke Jeddah pada 1960an namun banyak kerabat di Gaza. Alaa kuliah di International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. Paspornya Palestina, tentu saja, dengan status bangsa yang "diduduki" Israel. Ia sulit juga buat bepergian, keluar dan masuk Gaza, lewat Israel maupun Mesir.

Keluarga Maningsih di Pontianak.
Maningsih etnik Madura bekerja sebagai guru bahasa Inggris di Pontianak. Statusnya pegawai negeri karena dia bekerja di sekolah negeri. Macam kebanyakan orang Madura, mereka berasal dari Nahdlatul Ulama. Keluarganya ada yang tak setuju dengan hubungan mereka.

Mamaknya kuatir bila mereka cerai. Bagaimana dengan anak? Repot sekali bukan? Abangnya kuatir takut bila adiknya dipukul suami. Siapa abang yang tak kuatir adik perempuannya dipukul suami?

Saya kuatir Maningsih tak bisa bekerja bila pindah ke Kuala Lumpur. Alaa bukan warga Malaysia. Dia memegang kartu pengungsi dari United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) yang hanya berlaku enam bulan. Setiap enam bulan harus diperbarui.

Saya tahu keluarga Maningsih adalah orang yang bekerja keras. Saya kira Maningsih pasti ingin punya hak bekerja.

Dua kali Alaa datang ke Pontianak.

Lebaran kali ini, saya yang kebetulan berada di Pontianak, ikut tahu kesulitan yang mereka hadapi.

Omong sana dan omong sini.

Maningsih dan keluarga cerita macam-macam. Saya juga tanggapi santai saja. Namanya juga keluarga. Perbedaan terjadi dimana-mana. Tak harus hanya antar kebangsaan. Tapi perbedaan bisa diatasi dengan mencoba mengerti kebudayaan pasangan kita. Persoalan hukum lebih serius karena ia menuntut biaya: bayar visa, urus kartu UNHCR dan seterusnya.

Pada 19 Agustus, lewat telepon, Maningsih beritahu rencana kedatangan Alaa dari Kuala Lumpur ke Jakarta. Maningsih minta tolong isteri saya menemani mereka ke Kedutaan. Isteri saya merasa saya lebih kenal dengan orang Kedutaan dan lebih bisa bicara.

Malamnya, Maningsih tiba di Jakarta. Ini pertama kali dia datang ke Jakarta.

Dutabesar Mehdawi
KEESOKAN hari, kami berkunjung ke kedutaan. Dutabesar Fariz Mehdawi minta agar disediakan surat persetujuan menikah dari orang tua Maningsih yang disaksikan oleh ketua rukun tangga dan rukun warga. Idealnya, bila orang tua Maningsih bisa datang sendiri ke kedutaan. Saya tawarkan via telepon karena agak sulit buat mereka jalan sendiri ke Jakarta. Maningsih mengatakan bapaknya, seorang petani, bisa tersesat bila jalan sendiri ke Jakarta.

Singkat kata, surat dibuat di Pontianak dan pada 21 Agustus pihak kedutaan mengeluarkan surat buat pasangan ini. Surat tersebut akan dibawa ke penghulu di Pontianak. Mereka akan menikah di Pontianak. Resepsi pernikahan akan dbikin pada 31 Agustus.

Mehdawi seorang yang suka baca buku. Dia baru selesai baca buku karya Reza Aslan. Judulnya, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Dia kenal Human Rights Watch serta mengucapkan terima kasih terhadap tempat saya bekerja.

Alaa cerita macam-macam soal Gaza, Saudi Arabia maupun Kuala Lumpur. Dia tak suka dengan negara Israel namun dia juga kritis terhadap negara-negara Arab. Dia juga kasih tahu saya berbagai jenis makanan asal Timur Tengah, dari hummus (biji-bijian dihaluskan, direbus dan didinginkan) sampai tabbouleh (salad).

Saya iba melihat pengalaman hidupnya. Saya harap mereka bisa mengatasi berbagai kesulitan ini. Tak mudah buat Maningsih punya suami seorang pengungi ... sejak lahir sudah jadi pengungsi.

Semoga mereka menjadi suami-isteri yang setia dalam senang dan susah, naik dan turun. Semoga mereka bahagia hingga kematian memisahkan mereka.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Black Jacket and Nelson Mandela



SOMETIMES I do television interview in my study. Video journalists like to see books, documents, a computer, a printer, statues and also the Nelson Mandela poster near my desk.

Like Mandela, I prefer to wear batik --short sleeve or long sleeve for the formal events. In July 2014, I did an interview with PBS Newshour in this room with my batik. It was about the post-tsunami Aceh, enforcing their Islamic shariah and how it discriminates women.

But some interviewers persuaded me to wear black. It's better for their audience, they said. Thus I have my New York Times T-shirt and a jacket. But no tie please.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Indonesian province turns up Sharia law after devastating tsunami


Islamic Sharia law was fairly dormant in the Indonesian province of Aceh until a massive earthquake and tsunami struck in 2004, killing more than 130,000. But as residents rebuild, Sharia officers have strengthened their grip, threatening rights of religious minorities and women. Special correspondent Kira Kay reports.


JUDY WOODRUFF: We turn now to Indonesia, where one province, in the wake of the devastating tsunami of 2004, has embraced Islamic Sharia law.

Special correspondent Kira Kay recently traveled to Aceh province, where she was given special access to the religious police force, to bring us this inside look at how Sharia is impacting the everyday life of residents.

KIRA KAY: It’s Friday noon, time for the most important prayers of the week at mosques around the Indonesian city of Banda Aceh.
Besides the call to prayer, you can hear another sound on the streets, the loudspeaker from the Sharia police patrol.

WOMAN (through interpreter): Exit and head to the mosque in order to do Friday prayers.

KIRA KAY: Shops and restaurants are supposed to be closed during prayers, but these Sharia officers are tipped off by the motorbikes parked out front the seemingly shuttered entrances, and they break up the clandestine lunch plans of this roomful of men.

Alongside a secular legal system, Aceh enforces an official policy of Sharia. While most offenses draw only a scolding from police, there is a court system to try more serious cases, with public caning the ultimate punishment.

Ritasari Pujiastuti is the chief of Banda Aceh’s Sharia police.

RITASARI PUJIASTUTI, Chief, Sharia Police Force (through interpreter): The most common infractions we find are un-Islamic behavior, like not wearing proper clothing. Next is being alone with someone who is not your spouse, particularly in quiet places, and then gambling. We also find a lot of alcoholic drinks. We also get reports from citizens telling us whenever a Sharia violation happens in a given neighborhood.

KIRA KAY: Sitting at the northernmost tip of Indonesia, Aceh is nicknamed the verandah of Mecca. Islam first came to the country through here.

Aceh fought a three-decade war for independence from the rest of Indonesia. It didn’t win, but was given special autonomy that included Sharia. So far, Aceh is the only province in Indonesia to be given this special right.

Banda Aceh Mayor Illiza Sa’Aduddin has made Sharia a priority.

MAYOR ILLIZA SA’ADUDDIN DJAMAL, Banda Aceh (through interpreter): We are very proud that Aceh got to do this first, that this blessing was bestowed on us. Even though there are shortcomings, we are glad to be able to live under Sharia.

KIRA KAY: The system sat fairly dormant until after 2004, when a massive earthquake and ensuing tsunami rocked Aceh, killing 130,000 people. Many citizens felt the disaster was God’s punishment for their lack of devoutness, evidenced by the mosques that remained standing amidst fields of rubble.

Acehnese renewed their dedication to their faith. The tsunami recovery process also opened up long-closed Aceh to the world, and its vices, says police chief Ritasari.

RITASARI PUJIASTUTI (through interpreter): We need to constantly monitor people’s behaviors by patrol or raid because there are a lot of outside influences coming from all sides. We are safeguarding people, particularly the younger generation, who are drawn towards this wave of globalization.

KIRA KAY: Mayor Sa’Aduddin says Sharia is part of Aceh’s rebuilding process.

ILLIZA SA’ADUDDIN DJAMAL (through interpreter): We are really grateful to everyone who has helped us with the recovery and rehabilitation. Without their help, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Our challenge is to ensure that Islamic values remain in people’s hearts, so that we can build on this development in a positive way, through a generation that contributes to society.

KIRA KAY: Among young citizens of Aceh, there’s some surprising agreement with the concerns of the mayor and police chief. Sanusi was stopped by the Sharia police for driving with female friends after dark.

SANUSI (through interpreter): I was nervous when it happened, but I feel the rules are good for society, especially to guide the lives and behaviors of young people. Yes, sometimes, we feel embarrassed or annoyed, but when the Sharia police give us words of advice, we understand they are for the good of all.

EVA AGUSTINA (through interpreter): Personally, I feel comfortable. I can also express myself with the latest Islamic fashion.

KIRA KAY: At the Islamic university, young students debate the laws amongst themselves.

MASHITAH (through interpreter): People view the Sharia as something extreme. But I think Sharia is there to establish boundaries, not to imprison us.

SEPTIA MULIA (through interpreter): I don’t agree that everything should be regulated. I think it is us who should regulate ourselves, not the government who establishes what we can or can’t do.

KIRA KAY: The restrictions on young people are significant, because Sharia prohibits the close interactions of unmarried people. Banda Aceh’s only cinema was shut down, and the music scene has been censored, with some of the city’s famous punks themselves convicted of Sharia violations.

Young people can still go to the beach, but it closes at dark to avoid improper behavior, causing traffic jams at the gate. Billboards sponsored by the city remind citizens that unmarried couples cannot be alone together. This young couple knows they are breaking the law, but they have nowhere else to go and are willing to take the risk.

Other youth have taken a cat-and-mouse approach, like these young women, who are wearing lawbreaking, though stylish, pencil pants.

DEWI NURHALIZA (through interpreter): We just have to be careful. If we see the Sharia police, we run.

NURUL FITRI (through interpreter): Of course we won’t just stand there and get arrested. I could never bear the shame.

KIRA KAY: But beyond these lifestyle infringements lurk more serious human rights concerns, as Aceh’s interpretation of Sharia broadens.

ANDREAS HARSONO, Human Rights Watch: By giving the Sharia to Aceh, the Indonesians basically opened the Pandora’s box.

KIRA KAY: Andreas Harsono is with Human Rights Watch.

ANDREAS HARSONO: There are two groups that are actually threatened by this formalization of the Sharia. The first group is religious minorities. More than 20 churches are closed down in Aceh over the last two years. They also banned 14 Islamic religious sects, like the Ahmadiyya, the Shia. We didn’t expect that.

The second victim is women. There are various, strange regulations being produced, for instance, banning women from straddling motorcycles. In some areas, women cannot wear pants to go to work or to go to school, which means that it will restrict their mobilities. Ultimately, it will affect their economic rights. Ultimately, it will affect their education.

KIRA KAY: We were given special access to follow the Sharia police on their daily rounds.

WOMAN (through interpreter): We often come to parks like this, because we can see people dating or not wearing Muslim dress. We try to give them guidance on the scene. But if the violation is more serious, we will bring it to the office.

KIRA KAY: We noticed women being targeted a lot more than men. These store clerks were chased because their uniforms were immodest. So was this mom for not wearing a head scarf. And this troubling scene, the berating of a young woman in the parking lot, after being caught having an affectionate outing with her boyfriend.

WOMAN (through interpreter): You will bring shame to your village. Do you understand?

AZRIANA MANALU, Lawyer, LBH Apik Aceh (through interpreter): When a man violates Sharia, people see it as a misdemeanor. But when it’s a woman, she is automatically seen as a sinner who has no place in society.

KIRA KAY: Azriana Manalu is a lawyer advocating for women facing serious Sharia violations. She says accusations of adultery are particularly traumatizing for women, but even simpler charges can ruin lives.

In 2010, two young women were caned because they were caught selling rice during Ramadan. After their public punishment, Manalu says, they fled their homes for good.

AZRIANA MANALU (through interpreter): The worst kind of punishment for women is the social stigma, even excommunication they receive from their communities. The caning hurts them for only one or two days, but the condemnation is something they will face for the rest of their lives.

KIRA KAY: Manalu also fears that communal tensions are rising as neighbors turn each other in.

AZRIANA MANALU (through interpreter): I don’t think Sharia is what people need right now. What we need is for victims of past conflict to live peacefully. We also need to put an end to corruption. These things should be taken seriously by the government, not this priority on Sharia enforcement.

KIRA KAY: Mayor Sa’Aduddin admits improvements are needed but remains firmly committed to Sharia.

MAYOR ILLIZA SA’ADUDDIN DJAMAL (through interpreter): We don’t want the officers to be authoritarian. They must truly understand their function is not to just punish people, but also to explain why they do this, and tell people not to take the law into their own hands. There must also be clear legal procedures, with witnesses and evidence.

KIRA KAY: There are now new bylaws extending Aceh’s Sharia rules to non-Muslims. For the first time this past Ramadan, Christian Chinese food shops were forced to close during the fasting period, a troubling development for a country long known for its moderate form of Islam.

Meanwhile, other parts of Indonesia are beginning to see Aceh as a model, sending local officials to observe the implementation.

JUDY WOODRUFF: This report is part of the Fault Lines of Faith series produced in partnership with the Bureau for International Reporting.