Saturday, May 28, 2011

Identifying an Indonesian ‘Osama’

Identifying an Indonesian ‘Osama’

Al Makin, Yogyakarta | Fri, 05/27/2011 8:00 AM, op ed column, The Jakarta Post
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Although Osama bin Laden was killed, radicalism on behalf of Islam – as some of the groomed “heirs” to the throne of al-Qaeda have vowed to avenge the blood of the mastermind and many pundits have prophesized in various media – looks to live on. With or without Osama, extremism, which has given birth to various atrocities, bombs and suicide attacks, goes on.

A bomb exploded in Pakistan a week after Osama’s death. In Surakarta, hundreds of men masked their faces as they took an oath on the street rallying to retaliate. A few days later, the anti-terror squad arrested and shot dead more suspected “terrorists” in neighboring Sukoharjo.

With or without Osama, the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) holds its radical faith firmly. This group publicly mourned the death of Osama, whom they regarded as a martyr, and condemned US President Barack Obama, whose figure embodied the super power.

Grief, however, does not weaken the FPI’s spirit. Nor does it stop them from thinking of a new agenda. This group showed their teeth and fangs in attempting to halt Hanung Bramantyo’s pluralism-themed film in Bandung.

It appears that the pundits’ prophecies and the radicals’ vengeances were fulfilled. But be prepared to see more.

For two decades, Osama’s simple rhetoric filled the air we breathed. His curse of the superpower‘s hegemony remains enshrined and is repeated in the Internet, Facebook, blogs and Twitter. Due to its simplicity, people easily understand the logic. But with this reasoning, radicals have failed to cope with the reality. They can never comprehend this world’s complexity. Nor can they accept their own defeat.

In whose figure in Indonesia can Osama’s be compared?

According to Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, a firebrand radical preacher from Ngruki, Sukoharjo whose excessive media coverage has sparked envy from rival jihadist preachers, he is the one whose reputation in terms of jihad is comparable to that of Osama’s. It is unclear whether Ba’asyir is proud or unhappy when surrounded by the tight security forces in the court. What is obvious is that he imagines himself as Osama, whose death and life has become a subject of a never-ending debate.



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