120.300 passed away and injured. 6.5 million were displaced.
When I am standing here to deliver my speech, thousands of teenagers out there like me are bleeding because explosion and facing death. When you are listening to my speech, thousands of people out there have to live in emergency tents instead of their home. Kidnapped, robbed, tortured, and even killed. All this is happening as I speak right here, in Syria.
We always have a choice: to help, to make things worse, or even just remain to be silent? But we have decided the choice, because two days ago, 186 personnel of Indonesian Armed Force have arrived in Lebanon as part of UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon), to complete 850 Indonesian Armed Force personnel of peacekeeping in the midst of civil war Syria. We chose to not stand to see our brothers fought and fought, but moving and help.
Syria is part of Asia where the earth of our state stand on, they make Islam as the state religion as we make it as the majority religion in this country. While Indonesia, is the fifth country with the greatest military power in Asia. This is not about implementing UN protocol to contribute to the peacekeeping force, but it is about saving our brothers and sisters.
This is the reason I am standing here, which is to support the role of the Indonesian Armed Force to be part of a world peacekeepers, and encouraging to achieve these objectives through optimization what TNI and Indonesia have. I illustrate this idea in these following three:
Amid rising world of weapons competitions – chemical, biological, satellites, to nuclear, Indonesia faced with the choice to follow the trend or vice versa. TNI as a form of military power in Indonesia has main function to defend the sovereignty of Indonesia, but the demands of the contemporary global circumstances including the constitution, also ordered the TNI as part of a world peacekeeper.
It is Indonesia’s vision to be a developed and influential state and become a world class peacekeeper. And it cannot be achieved in just a blink of an eye, but must be started by being a regional peacekeeper, especially in Asia. Conflicts in the Middle East is increasing momentum for Indonesia to demonstrate and enhance its role as a peacekeeping force in Asia. Syria is not only our diplomatic subject, but it is Indonesia’s responsibility to keep peace in Asian region.
As the troops were dropped into battle, Indonesian contingent for Syria mission not only brings logistical preparations and weapons, but also the experience. Indonesia has ever passed such times being experienced by Syria at this time, and the military plays an important role in the moment.
Syrian civil war that occurred as a result of public protests against the ruling regime are similar events that occurred in Indonesia when Indonesia to prosecute the reform of the New Order. At that time people tried to block the iron fist of government, and Indonesian Armed Force made transition from the armed forces (ABRI) into the military (TNI) and police (POLRI). Since then the Indonesian military is not only on a duty to comply with the government on the pretext of safeguarding the sovereignty, but also as a protector of citizens.
History is a valuable experience for the military who served in Syria, because it can be wisdom and lessons to mediate a similar conflict that is going on there. Mediator is a peacemaker, which could provide mutual understanding between the two sides, isn’t it? Indonesia has the power of experience to do that.
Something that is not owned by any other army in the world is the eastern and tolerance culture in Indonesia. Basically, a civil war going on in Syria’s being due to the gap between the government and the people who separated by the different Islamic groups. While Indonesia was not less diverse than Syria, because the Indonesian nation is a country made up of diverse ethnic, cultural and religions. But similar conflicts do not occur in Indonesia. This shows that the values of tolerance that has become a culture in Indonesia is a strong factor that unites the elements of the nation.
This is exactly what should be the ‘main weapon’ Indonesian peacekeepers in Syria. The difference between the combatant and peacekeeper is the using or not-using of the weapon itself, isn’t it?
As part of the peacekeeping force, non-violent way is the preferred way. And tolerance is the material that is very effective in relieving the differences and conflicts that are taking place in Syria. I imagine how the TNI envoy in Syria there be a mediator between the government and opposition groups, and patiently giving understanding to unite both parties as the value of Indonesian tolerance. If it comes to be successful, this would be a tremendous achievement of Indonesian Armed Force, and I believe that success is not merely a dream. TNI can do it.
In the end, Indonesian Armed Force is a force that holds a vital role in peace efforts in Syria. They are not only carries the flag of the United Nations, but also carry the name of Indonesia to improve the capacity and quality of the Indonesian military in the world. For this to be achieved, then the provisions that need to be taken and used by TNI there cannot just be weapons and combat vehicles, but giving priority to non-violent paths to reform the peace as well as experience of Reformation when TNI escorted Indonesian values and proved that is capable to unite the great differences that exist.
The third part of the Sapta Marga TNI state that every troops of TNI is believe in God, defend honesty, truth and justice. This is time for TNI to prove the form of the oath is not only able to present to the people themselves, but also to show and prove to other nations in the world.
General Sudirman was once said that a good soldier is a soldier who not only put superior instruction, but also defended the doctrine and its values.
I am proud to be a part of the Indonesian nation, which has TNI and brave soldier defending the truth not only for this nation itself, but also for the sake of the world.
This script was delivered at as a speech Naval Academy Speech Contest 2013.
*credit image: lowyat.net