Riot at Mbah Priuk Tomb (picture courtesy of Tempointeraktif)
Someone wrote in twitter, “Are Indonesian people violent by nature?” This tweet referred to latest riots in Koja, Tanjung Priok. As we knew conflicts between Satpol PP (Pamong Praja) with locals resulted in violence yesterday. Two from Satpol PP died and hundreds from both sides injured. Details of incident won’t be discussed here, we could find it easily in newspaper or news website.
To that question I would answer I don’t believe Indonesian people are violent by nature. Instead, I would argue that people are ignorant by nature. Ignorance in certain emotional circumstances could result in violence. That’s what I believe.
What is ignorance? Ignorance is delusion, unawareness state of mind. It’s the lack of awareness due to overwhelming of one’s ego. In ignorant state of mind, one could only think of oneself. One couldn’t sympathize with others, couldn’t feel others sufferings, so the hurting of others.
We try to fight ignorance with education, with knowledge. By education we learn what is right and wrong, what is good and bad. We learn why we should be good and not bad to others. We learn how to communicate, how to socialize with others.
However, even though we have the highest education, ignorance still stay in some place of mind. When we are clear headed, we could be intelligent, we could be wise. But when we are emotional, intelligence is easily replaced by ignorance.
In that Koja riot we could see ignorances were everywhere. Satpol PP members were instructed to clear Mbah Priok Tomb area and locals were gathered to defend their rights (at least that’s what they believed). Conflicts couldn’t be avoided. People shouted at each other in anger. They hit each other, mostly in the heads. Some even used sharp weapons. Blood was everywhere. Cars were burnt. People fell down from both sides, injured, but the fights continued. Were they not intelligent enough to understand that violence won’t solve it? Didn’t they have feeling for injured victims? Why did they persist on fighting their own cause? Questions flew in our mind that couldn’t understand it. Mind of us, observers from a distance.
The answers are most of them might be intelligent enough to understand it, they certainly had feeling for victims from both sides. But ignorances kept them fighting. They wouldn’t stop until their goals achieved. Intelligence and feeling had stepped aside, emotion took over awareness in mind. Ignorance caused hatred. Hatred turned eyes blind. For locals, Satpol PP were enemies and vice versa. Thus the pursuit of Satpol PP by locals even though the conflict had ceased. Material damages could be seen and recorded but such kind of mental damages to human being we hardly could describe and understand. Human could act like animal, hunting each other and worse, not for food.
So ignorance causes unintelligent acts, one of those is violence. And violence caused suffering to others. We could conclude ignorance is the root of suffering. If we examined our mind carefully, inwardly, we could also see that not only others suffer from our ignorance but we ourselves suffer from it too.
So next question will be could we be free from ignorance? Let’s save that for another blog, it’s a question of a lifetime. For the mean time, lets discuss if you agree with my observation that ignorance leads to conflict.