Indonesia Unite… For What?

Within hours after two hotels in the heart of Jakarta were shattered by bombs, there has been a big development in Indonesian blogosphere, or should I say twitterworld.

clipped from

Started from Friday afternoon, the Indonesian Twitter users put their new red and white avatars (red and white represents the national flag)–while some avatars also have “We Are Not Afraid” text. The country’s Tweeple also added #indonesiaunite hashtag in every tweet they sent.

In the next couple hours, the red and white avatars started sweeping the Twitter timelines and #indonesiaunite hashtag became the number one “trending topic” on Twitter! As of today, #indonesiaunite hashtag is still occupying the top Trending Topics.

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Yes, it has been a big hit in twitter. Looks like the agenda is to show the world that Indonesians condemn the attack, that we never welcome any kind of terrorism, that we are not afraid of the terror they – whoever “they” are – try to create, that we are not  a violent country, that we love peace, and hopefully the rest of the world picks up the message. (However, the trend is getting old and as said, “Of course, it’s already been co-opted by those with purely promotion causes, which puts a bit of a damper on the assertion that Twitter is the next great news aggregator. Certainly, it shows the trend of those showing support for the Indonesian people in the wake of violence, but deciphering those messages, weeding out the genuine from the garbage, would require a Robert Langdon-esque amount of intuition. It looks so tedious wading through the spam, I won’t even make my always-diligent interns do it.”)

Aside from Twitter, there is a page of “Indonesia Unite” in Facebook where you can join and become fans and shout your minds. There is even a website of Indonesia Unite although I couldn’t access it – as it perhaps is jammed by too many hits at once. Indonesian bloggers also spread the message about Indonesia Unite and urge others to put the national flags on their avatars, a message to the world that we are proud being an Indonesian.

I am glad that Indonesians, despite never ending tragedy that happens in the country, despite constant bitching about the government, its politicians and corrupted system, still love the country deeply, which clearly shows in the Indonesia Unite movement.

But here I must ask one question. Is that it?

I think most Indonesians are deeply traumatic by the media coverage on the previous attacks that sent the country into a despair for a long time. We all suffered from the damage in the economy, travel warning, the crash of national tourism industry, lack of foreign investments and many other impacts on the bomb blasts since 2002. It has taken years to build the confidence and positive sentiment about Indonesia. No one wants to suffer like that again, to lose face so badly like that, hence the strong message sent that we do not agree with the attack.

Not that I disagree with the movement. I do appreciate the initiation, but I don’t see the long term benefits we would make by putting red-and-white flag in our avatars. And it seems that The Jakarta Globe agrees with me: But some Web users were skeptical that the swelling of online patriotism would have any lasting impact. “This incident has had much bigger impact on patriotism among the young than 30 years of propaganda,” technology journalist Aulia Masna wrote on Twitter. “But yesterday’s call for unity needs to be followed up by offline activities.”

I think the most important thing we should do from this so-called Indonesia Unite pressure group is to push the government, our government, to find who did this. We are too scared that the impact of the attack would be like the bombs in 2002 – 2004, we have forgotten to keep pestering Indonesian government to be committed 100% to find the terrorists and would not rest until we do. We’re having too much fun pointing our fingers to A or B as the mastermind of the attacks, forgetting our duty as citizens is to make sure our government does the job right. No, I haven’t seen any single message in twitter – or I might have missed it? – that urges the government to keep reporting their findings, and what the progress they have made since the attack. Wouldn’t it be more important for us to unite to monitor what they have been doing rather than making visits to the victims and giving emotional and moving speech to the nation – have they formed special task forces to handle the victims, the search, and more importantly, the security in the country’s capital city? – and to make sure those behind the attack will be punished? And it is not just that, we also need to be consistent on our pressure and make sure they don’t waste their energy accusing who did this and that without actually doing anything to find the evidence.

We all have to do something, something real, to minimize the future attack possibility, starting from daily activities. For example, the government must improve the registration system so people wouldn’t be able to create fake IDs easily, but we – Jakartans especially – also must stop being ignorant to our surroundings and alert the authorities if we see something suspicious.

On the same day as the bomb blasts in JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton Jakarta on Friday July 17th, BBC broadcast a pretty interesting news about 20-year-old middle-class, British-born man, educated at some top independent schools, who converted to Islam in 2006 and was ready to commit the suicide attack in Bristol, England. It has emerged it was Muslims who alerted police in Bristol and counter-terrorism officers from Scotland Yard to Ibrahim’s activities. The BBC understands that his arrest was the first major one following a community tip-off.

Why can’t we do that?

Really, having our national flag attached to our avatar is nice, but it takes more than that to create peace in Indonesia, don’t you agree?








  1. will be more better if all people that not only follow the ‘trend’ but also understand what the meaning about..
    .-= lindaleenk´s last blog ..No title =-.

  2. I think your second paragraph nicely summed up one of the long-term benefit of such online movement. That, and the wishful thinking that the terrorists are now aware of “Indonesia Unite”.
    .-= katadia´s last blog ..Exit Poll =-.

  3. Not only whether the terrorists that perpetrate such acts of senseless violence are aware of Indonesia Unite, but also if they aware then the question becomes do they or will they care?

    My guess is that terrorists in general will not lose a lot of sleep over Indonesia Unite.

    Nevertheless, that said, I am all for doing something, whether that be standing as a united front or something else. Activism like this might not be on the radars of the terrorists themselves, but it is likely to get the attention of politicians and the like.
    .-= Rob´s last blog ..SBY — Flustered? =-.

  4. The government obviously haven’t done enough to eradicate terrorism in Indonesia. What worries me is that Indonesians might start to feel that the government are never there to support them, or that the government are not 100% serious about solving this problem.

    There’s no point in us uniting if the government are still adopting the “oh-well” attitude towards terrorism, as if there was nothing they could do. This is the type of response that put us down. Also, we don’t really need to know about SBY being the target of terrorists – I don’t get why he thinks this is a good idea to share to the people. Is that going to make us feel any better? What’s he trying to say? “Oh look, I’m a target too, you know. It could’ve been me,”?

    The good thing about Indonesia as a country is that whenever we are struck with something bad, we are sure to unite together, but when we’re all safe and well, we start hating each other again.

    What the government must do is to learn from their past mistakes. Get rid of any organisations that are trying to disrupt the peace, and be firm. Be firm and be strict. Something which I haven’t seen from SBY’s government for the past 5 years.
    .-= therry´s last blog ..I Am Bitching Already. =-.

  5. And it also takes much more than urging other people to do something.

  6. mendukung SBY untuk menghentikan seluruh aksi kekerasan, mencabut semua akarnya, apalagi jika mereka bersembunyi di belakang kedok agama atau politik. pidato SBY yang lucu dan salah tempat itu, yah biarlah mungkin lagi stuck dan emosi, jeehehehe.

    menyedihkan memang mbak melihat indonesiaunite jadi hot trending topics, lalu semua orang pasang twibbon merah putih, tiba-tiba jadi patriotik… bangga kalau indonesia jadi perhatian dunia, walaupun cuma di twitter doang… bukannkah ini musibah, bkn prestasi? masih tidak habis pikir kenapa nggak kita berprestasi aja yang baik, bekerja dengan giat supaya bangga yang membanggakan. sampai segitunyakah kita haus perhatian internasional? solidaritas itu jelas-jelas kewajiban kita, bukan prestasi.

    good post mbak!

  7. IMHO FTW the movement should be called “TANGKAP TERORIS”, and focused on encouraging people & communities to give tip-off about suspicious movements…

  8. Pak Rob: Online activism is one way of showing a potential of the majority being sort of ‘organised’. As you are aware, the terrorists ‘minorities’ are much more organised than the rest of Indonesians. Would they care? Well, isn’t that the whole purpose of the movement? You got to give people credits for trying.

    Therry: LOL. I think I care if the president of my country became a victim of a terrorist attack, whoever he/she might be, regardless whether I voted for him or not. :)
    .-= katadia´s last blog ..Exit Poll =-.

  9. Katadia: but there’s nothing new on that. We’re not supposed to be afraid. We’re not supposed to be defeated by any terror acts. We all know that. And I don’t think we have ever felt afraid. (When the bomb hit Australian embassy I had a construction project nearby and I called up my site supervisor immediately, as I was sick worried about his safety. His answer? “Yes, ibu, I am fine. There was a bomb about 500 metres from here. Now, the chairs are coming, so where should I put them?” He was shaken, but was determined to keep working. I used to work in Jakarta Stock Exchange Building where every few months we would have gotten a bomb threat. One day the threat was considered serious so they evacuated us. I was seating nearby the loading dock and I could see my vendor insisted to go inside because he’s on deadline, even a bomb threat wouldn’t stop him. And I don’t think this pattern has changed. People are not afraid!)

    So, we don’t need Indonesia Unite for that. If you read on twitter, I don’t think people actually understand the agenda behind the action, if there’s such. For me it’s more because Indonesians like gathering. Any chance to gather and be together will be grabbed and online community isn’t different.

    Also, I am puzzled why none of us think our government hasn’t done enough to protect us the taxpayers. They have a duty to make us feel safe at home, and they have failed. We’re more busy feeling scared of what the foreign media think about us as there were foreigners casualty – therefore lots of people try to say good stuff about Indonesia like ‘hey, we have the best tourist spot in the world. Keep on visiting’. That’s not the main point, is it? Tourists won’t come if they think their safety isn’t guaranteed.

    What I am trying to say here is that we do not realise our potential. We could be a very powerful pressure group which urges and monitors the government’s progress to handle this tragedy. If we want to bounce back quicker than the last time, we need to act fast. The world wouldn’t think it’s enough if we just keep shouting without actually doing something. Also, each of us, well, those who live in Indonesia, could do something real, instead of just putting our national flag in our avatar, like being aware of our surrounding. That will make Indonesia Unite is bigger than just a monitor screen.

    Rob: yes, we might get ‘attention’ from politician for having this Indonesia Unite movement. Boediono apparently joins twitter too. But again, what’s next?

    Therry: yes that puzzles me too. If they know – sorry, suspect – that this particular group has been behind the terrors, why haven’t they done something?

    Auror: that could be better. We have a ‘real’ agenda!

  10. totally agree…

    (pokoknya nyumbang comment deh ;p)
    .-= boy´s last blog ..Rest in Peace: Leonard Hutajulu (1981-2009) =-.

  11. IndonesiaUnite ‘s Official Twitter.

    indonesiaunite = Indonesia Bersatu.
    We Are Not Affraid.
    Indonesia Unite
    .-= indonesiaunite´s last blog ..indonesiaunite: RT @ripszylious I miss every corner on Bali,one of the most beautiful island in Indonesia. only on Indonesia! :) #indonesiaunite =-.


  1. […] July 20, 2009 in Indonesia, bloggingTags: indonesiaunite, Jakartabombings, terrorism, Twitter Unspun can understand and empathize with the seeming act of solidarity and defiance in the face of the Jakarta bombings with the Indonesia Unite movement, where Twitterers and Facebookers daub their avatars in red and white, the colors of the Indonesian flag. At the same time Unspun thinks that Anitay has raised animportant question in her blog, Finally Woken. […]

  2. […] Original post:  Indonesia Unite… For What? […]

  3. […] Originally posted here: Finally Woken » Blog Archive » Indonesia Unite… For What? […]

  4. […] topic” on Twitter! As of today, #indonesiaunite hashtag is still occupying the top Read more Share and […]

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    […] topic” on Twitter! As of today, #indonesiaunite hashtag is still occupying the top Read more  Mail this postSHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: "#indonesiaunite | Finally Woken » Blog Archive » […]

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