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DESPITE ATTEMPTED BLOCKADE AND PROTETS, “BHINNEKA” PREVAILS (CHRONOLOGY OF MASS PROTEST AGAINST MR FAHRI HAMZAH, DURING HIS OFFICIAL VISIT TO MANADO, NORTH SULAWESI)

(1) VISIT TO MANADO, FULFILLING A PROMISE OF MEETING A FRIEND

The night before heading to Manado, the official visit entourage of the House of Representatives headed by the Deputy Speaker Mr Fahri Hamzah had learned via the media that the situation was increasingly tense in Minahasa.

On Friday (12/5) Mr Fahri Hamzah conducted various activities in Makassar: opening of national convention of Syabab Hidayatullah (youth wing of Hidayatullah), meeting his friend the South Sulawesi Governor Mr Syahrul Yasin Limpo, delivered a brief sermon following the Friday prayer at South Sulawesi Provincial Mosque, national dialog with the community in the office of a daily, then spending the night with Makassar Mayor Mr Ramdhan ‘Dony’ Pomanto and hanging out with hundreds of youths in Popsa.

A similar agenda would be held in Manado. Fahri said there was a delayed appointment, meeting with Governor Olly. And he came to North Sulawesi to meet his old Parliament friend, a fellow legislature before Olly Dondokambey was the governor of North Sulawesi a year ago.

Saturday morning, the news from mainstream media and social media reported an escalating tension and there had been some elements of the community who are rejecting the presence of Mr Fahri Hamzah in Manado were staging protests. It was suspected that a trigger was a rumor that Fahri’s arrival was connected with the arrival of FPI’s Munarman. Nothing was certain of the source of this.

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(2) CAN I MEET WITH THE DEMONSTRATORS?

As scheduled, the flight from Makassar landed at Sam Ratulangi Airport at 10.55 WITA. The protocol welcomed the entourage at the foot of the stairs. At the head of the convoy was the Mobile Brigade personnel armed with tactical weapons. Before long, Vice Governor of North Sulawesi Steven Kandouw approached and debriefed about the situation. The governor apparently was meeting a group of people in front of the VIP lobby. With patience Governor Olly addressed and calmed them, before finally joining the entourage.

In this situation, Fahri Hamzah asked: “Can I give a brief speech? If it’s possible I want to meet (demonstrators) accompanied with Mr. Olly?” Security and protocols were against this for a good reason.

When this occurred, most of the individuals in the entourage had no idea of the situation at the airport. Later, mainly through social media, it was revealed that a relatively great number of people penetrated security all the way into the apron and conducted a sweep.

With coordination continuing, the entourage patiently waited at the edge of the runway. The convoy then crossed the runway and approached the Navy Headquarters across from the airport terminal. While waiting, the governor’s convey caught up.

With the new formation, the convoy moved rapidly through the township and the winding little roads that were hard to remember. Soon, the convoy reached the city center and then arrived at the governor’s office. Hundreds of policemen are on guard, and he situation is safely under control. The entourage went into the governor’s chamber and began to discuss.

Each member of the entourage monitored the development of the situation as it unfolded. Watching the timeline, the walls and chat groups.


(3) THE WARN DIALOGUE OF BHINNEKAISM

The Manado administration welcomed the Jakarta entourage as if nothing happened. Discussion continued in the Governor’s office, and the cool room became warm. There were matters concerning the development of the area; about the role of the regions being given less space; about national situation and jest here and there.

Looking back, before becoming Governor, Olly Dondokambey was the head of KIH (coalition of the rulling parties), of whom the counterpart was Mr Fahri Hamzah representing elements of the Red and White Coalition (KMP) in the parliament. Both of them played the role of managing the constellation in Senayan that somewhat jolted after the presidential election.

The agenda in Manado went as planned with some adjustments. The meeting with KAMMI Alumni Family, dialogue with the media and the administration of the Province eventually merge into one in the office hall of the provincial government. The situation got warmer as following the opening by the Governor, from the podium Mr Fahri Hamzah invited the audience to think of the great things Indonesia could do for the world.

“Many countries are failing because they cannot accommodate religion and state. In Indonesia the religion-vs. -State debate is over. We are a world model of integration (of religion and state) and democracy,” Fahri said.

A pastor, who is a Catholic Youth activist and coordinator of anti-corruption NGO, comfortably and assertively raises arguments and questions after Fahri got off the podium. Dialogue becomes more open and all looked relieved. There is a real understanding of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, about the Maqosid Shari’ah that manifests in Pancasila, about the relationship of religion, its adherents and the state.

Once again Fahri stated he wanted to have a dialogue with demonstrators protesting his presence. “Dialogues must be welcomed. We do not imitate the government who is not open. With dialogues agreement may not be achieved, but each party can be open to each other. That is how we maintain democracy,” said PKS politician from Sumbawa.

(4) GOVERNOR OLLY: ALL UNDER CONTROL

Throughout the event, almost everyone who attended, including the media that was usually critical and capitalized demonstrations, understood and assured each other that the situation at some point were under control.

Some people protested because of the biased information in the social media. Excessive provocation was misinterpreted. Manado was under control. The night before, several organizations that were prepared for the protest been gathered by the provincial government and were debriefed.

“The governor is in control, do not worry, it is safe,” said some local newspaper journalists. Governor Olly also suggested the entourage to return to Jakarta on the same day after completing all the agenda.

The governor picked up, ensured security and coordinated with all parties, entertained, facilitated meetings with the people, and accompanied the entourage to the airport. On Saturday, May 13, 2017, Manado is conducive. More importantly, diversity is championed and diversity prevails in the land of Minahasa. (SS)

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