Monday, January 03, 2011

Between ideas and acts: Anticipating radicalism in 2011

Between ideas and acts: Anticipating radicalism in 2011

Al Makin, Yogyakarta | Mon, 12/20/2010 3:05 PM | Review & Outlook, The Jakarta Post
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In 2010, Indonesia witnessed the police’s triumph, and in particular that of the special antiterrorist squad Densus 88, over terrorists.

The successful year was preceded by a long effort that peaked with the killing of top terrorist suspect Noordin M. Top in 2009.

However, terrorism is not a consequence of cause, but of result. Terrorism is an act triggered by ideas. The acts of terrorists do not stand alone. Ideology, plans, strategy and network precede these acts. Thus, if the police chase after these terrorists and eventually catch, or even shoot them, that would not mean an end to the story.

Ideas cannot be eradicated by the deaths of those who promoted them. People may die, but their ideas live on. In fact, the network runs well. Its gears of recruitment are still active. The cell system has operated confidentiality and the continuation of the movement can be guaranteed. When a group is annihilated, another group, with its robust branches, grows.

The cell system is in fact not new in Indonesian history. Communist movements — prior and after Indonesia declared independence — employed this tactic, with loyalty of and a mode of expansion that was impressive. With regard to this method of developing an organization, nowadays terrorism, particularly in Southeast Asia, and communism a long ago are deemed comparable.

Thus, we should not put the task of annihilating terrorism on the police alone, who will never be able to eradicate all aspects of terrorism. By the same token, do not persecute too many people, simply because they are suspected of having connections with certain radical groups.

Indonesians should learn more lessons from the way in which the communist movement was extinguished in 1965 under the banner of Soeharto’s New Order. The regime imposed strict rule upon its own citizens by screening for signs of communism.



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