PROPAGATING PEACE IN INDONESIA: A Small Lesson from Peace Building Program in Multi-Ethnic groups in Konawe District

Mulyono Sardjono (YIS Surakarta, Indonesia), global education magazine

Mulyono Sardjono

(YIS Surakarta, Indonesia)




Tolaki are Buton, Muna, Bugis, Makasar, Javanese, Sundanese, Toraja and Bali, global education magazineIndonesia is one of the most diverse countries in the world. This diversity is reflected in the form of the state which is the largest archipelago country in the world with about 17,500 islands, big and small islands with a population of around 245 million (estimated in 2014). With this amount, Indonesia is the country with the fourth largest population after China, India, and the United States. When viewed over the diversity of the population of Indonesia is reflected in the number of tribes or ethnic groups are about 300 tribes with 742 languages ​​recorded number of regional languages​​. In terms of religion, there are at least six official religions recognized by the government – although in practice many people who still practice traditional religions, especially in rural areas. In terms of natural resources, Indonesia has a wealth of diverse natural resources. In fact, Indonesia has entered the ranks of countries rich in natural resources. In terms of biological richness, Indonesia is also very rich and diverse. Richness of species diversity in the forest and it is the second largest in the world, and just defeated the Amazon rainforest in Brazil.

Uneven distribution of resources and the management of natural resources causes unequal socio-economic conditions vary from one region to another. In addition to the community and different cultures, socio-economic conditions of the region to the other is also different. Differences in these aspects could lead to disputes that often became violent. Inequality in economic development between regions led to jealousy; as well as control of access to and control over resources can be a cause of conflict between individuals and groups . Uneven economic development can also bring the onset of various acts of criminality.

Conflict can be defined as a dispute between two or more individuals or parties, and there are those who interpret the conflict as a physical contact like scuffle, fights, or in a wider scale in the form of war. In the discourse of conflict, there are several definitions of conflict and one of them defines conflict as a situation that occurs when there is a disagreement or a difference in opinions among some people, group or organization and does not occur collaboration (Fisher, et al, 2002). By simple definition, then as long as there are two or more individuals or groups, it will always be a conflict.

Mulyono Sardjono (YIS Surakarta, Indonesia), global education magazine, unesco, acnur, unhcrSocial conflict can be divided into vertical and horizontal conflict conflict; but if the conflict can be parsed again distinguished by cause. Horizontal conflict occurs between groups of people caused by various factors. The reason could be economic factors, cultural background, beliefs, maintaining identity, political factors, or other social causes. Vertical conflict occurs between social groups with the authorities, such as state / government or when it occurs in a work environment is a conflict between a group of workers with the management or owner of the company. Scale social conflicts in Indonesia range from non-violent to violent conflict are often asking victims of property and even lives.

Typology of conflict in Indonesia from time to time had been developed. In the past century in the colonial era, conflict were between the people and the ruler (colonial government) and in the early days of independence dominated by high levels of conflict between political groups. At the time of the ‘new order’ many vertical conflict between the community and the authorities are often solved by repressive approach. At the end of the 20th century at the end of the authoritarian New Order government in 1997 until 2000, Indonesia recorded a black history of violent conflict is ethnic conflict between Dayak and Madurese in West Kalimantan and South Kalimantan; riots in May 1998 which is the accumulation of public protests against the government; religious conflicts in Ambon; and also religious conflicts in Poso, Central Sulawesi. The conflict claimed the lives of thousands of people, property, and leaving a deep wound on the parties involved.

Given Indonesia is a large country with a high diversity in terms of socio-cultural and political conflicts in the ‘reformation era’ of the early 21st century is also diverse. However, if explored more deeply, most of the conflict is rooted in basic human needs factors. Hot spots of conflict in Indonesia in the late 20th century who gained international attention is the area of Aceh, East Timor, and Papua. At the turn of the 20th century into the 21st century, the hot spot is the internal conflict in West Kalimantan, Maluku, and Central Sulawesi were recorded the conflict with massive scale. The conflict in this area in the early decades of the 21st century has been formally resolved. However, the potential for conflict still exists and if it is not managed it can reappear become actual conflict on the surface. Beyond the above-mentioned areas, local conflicts with small-scale or conflicts associated with criminal activity, are common.

Competition between communities in the fulfillment of basic needs such as the identity associated with ethnic and religious groups will easily occur if each group does not have the attitude of maturity in accepting differences. It is therefore a very diverse area storing the high potential for conflict if the fulfillment of basic needs to be unjust and uneven. Areas such as the type often found in Indonesia.

One area that consists of a multi-ethnic community groups and multi-religious society with the economic conditions that are uneven is Konawe District in Southeast Sulawesi. The ethnic group native to the area is known as the Tolaki whis is native group to the area of Southeast Sulawesi. Later, many other ethnic groups from both within the province and from other provinces who come, work and settle in Konawe. Ethnic groups whose existence was quite prominent in Konawe apart from Tolaki are Buton, Muna, Bugis, Makasar, Javanese, Sundanese, Toraja and Bali. In addition, other ethnic groups such as the Moluccas, Timor, Batak, Mandar also found but in relatively small percentages. There is no official data stating the composition of the population by ethnic group in Konawe, but in general this immigrant ethnic groups living in urban areas or areas near the outskirts of the city government center in Unaaha. Although there is no official data on the percentage of entries ethnicity, but some community leaders stated that in urban areas the percentage of ethnic immigrants Unaaha reached about 40%.

Konawe is a fertile agricultural area on the island of Sulawesi, but not areas with abundant resources. Income of people are still rooted in the central government budget. With a picture of the area such as, community groups with ethnic identities and cultural life with social and economic activities together. No doubt the economic activity there is competition. Competition can be run with a healthy but there are also occurring unhealthy.

Typology of conflicts that occur in areas of conflict Konawe is rooted in basic human needs are developed into a conflict of land ownership disputes, crime, and the latent associated with competition between ethnic groups in the area. There is no open conflict between ethnic, but if a potential conflict is not managed properly can be actions that are negative and destructive.

A ​​peace-building program was implemented in Konawe which aims to improve relations between ethnic groups in the region through increased of social relationship and economic cooperation. The idea of the program is that each of the groups which have not know each other in depth could establish communication and cooperation through the social and economic activity. The program is implemented by Yayasan Insan Sembada (YIS) Surakarta with funding support from NZAID (New Zealand Agency for International Development) later renamed as New Zealand Aid Programme.

The program sought to minimize the excesses of horizontal conflicts in the community with the main activities related to solving the root of the conflict in this area of economic activity. It is based on the results of the needs assessment conducted among groups that suspicion, covert competition, and the potential for violence is caused by economic competition and resource access control. The program was developed with a variety of activities that encourage mutual respect among groups through social and cultural cooperation that underlies the creation of a pluralistic society lives in harmony.

Activities conducted under this program include: Development Discourse Pluralism and Peace Building (Formation of ulti-ethnic self-help groups, Pancasila Forum, Cultural Dialogue and Intercultural Dialogue, Development of sermon of various religion with Peace issues, Interactive Dialogue on the Radio, Campaign for Peace and Democracy Development Through Various Media); Cultural revitalization (‘Mosehe’ Culture of Tolaki Ethnic Group, Inter-religion dialogue); Other activities (Working jointly to build a places of worship, building Peace Monument, Performing Arts and Sports, economic activities)

Activities and program were welcome and supported by the community. This is due to several reasons, which are: Compliance the objectives and the expected results with the context or local conditions; Support of many parties in the implementation of project activities; Input Project sufficient to achieve the goals set; The process that provides enough space for people to participate and be creative

Formally, this program has been completed and finished, but at the level of society has been growing awareness of the importance of living in harmony, and they internalize in everyday life. Various efforts are need to be continued and supported by the various parties in realizing harmonious life amongst plural communities.

This article was published on 21stSeptember International Day of Peace, in Global Education Magazine.

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