“diversity is our strength” the Republic of Indonesia

Posted On By bee-seo

Allow me to introduce you to my country, the Republic of Indonesia, one of the largest multiethnic countries on Earth with no single dominant ethnicity

Indonesia is often called an “impossible country”. A country this big, this fragmented, and diverse as Indonesia shouldn’t have existed and continue to exist under any circumstances, and yet the Republic of Indonesia has beaten all the odds and continued to exist for 77 years.

Pro-Democracy riots, May 1998

For the past 24 years, Indonesia has been a beacon of democracy within Southeast Asia and the Muslim world, it proves that Asian values, as well as Islam, are compatible with the idea of multiparty democracy.

According to the government census in 2010, there are approximately 1.340 ethnic groups that call Indonesia their motherland. There are also approximately 718 local languages that are spoken in Indonesia. The country is diverse in every way you can count and as has been stated before shouldn’t have existed in the first place.

The Indonesian motto is “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika” an old Sanskrit word that means “Unity in Diversity”. Unity is truly our strength, and it has proven to work well in Indonesia. When other countries like Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union collapsed, Indonesia continue to persevere amidst the many challenges it faced. Both Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union have a military force that is far more powerful than Indonesia ever has, they are also one single continuous country whilst Indonesia is a fragmented archipelagic country, and yet both countries have proven that a strong military couldn’t always keep a nation intact.

President Soekarno of Indonesia (right) and President Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia (left)

To end my answer and prove that diversity s truly our strength I’m going to give you a reported conversation between President Soekarno and President Tito

Soekarno: “Mr. Tito, if you die, what will be the fate of your nation?

Tito: “I have strong and powerful soldiers that will defend our nation, what about your country my friend?”

Soekarno: “I’m not worried, as I have given them a way of life, the Pancasila”

P:S: The existence of a single national language in the form of “Indonesians” have also greatly helped in maintaining our unity. The existence of a single national language from my observation has also relegated the idea of different ethnicity as just someone with different clothes and foods

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