How Should I React on Jakarta Bombing?

January 18, 2016

Few days ago, on January 14 to be exact, the capital city of Indonesia was terrorized by explosions and mass shooting. As an Indonesian, I was quite shocked to hear the news at noon. I didn't really believe it at first, but then I directly went on the internet and turned on my television to find any related news about it. Apparently, it did happen and was still happening. I was quite afraid that it would be as bad as the attack in Paris few months ago, but as I continued to keep on reading the updated news, I wasn't really sure how to respond to it.

On the early stage, people were shown running, there were bodies on the street, there was smoke and you could hear the gun shot, the policemen were shown holding their guns and trying to catch the terrorists. However, something was different. I noticed from the photographs taken and the footage of the news, I could see that there were public, unarmed people, on the street watching the pursuit. 

Since I'm an Indonesian myself, I'm already familiar with this kind habit of Indonesians having such a big curiousity of things that happened. When there was a car accident, there would be a crowd of people watching the aftermath on the street, and sometimes it could be really disturbing for the traffic. So, I imagined that people nearby were curious about the bombing and approching the scene, even though it's still ongoing. I think it was a really unsafe and foolish thing to do, logically. Furthermore, it also could be a distraction for the officials who were doing their job, trying to save people's lives. But, I know they just couldn't help it, because that's already become their nature and habit.

The attack in Jakarta was on a smaller scale compared to the one in Paris, based on the number of victims, thankfully. I think that's one of the reasons why those unarmed crowd still survive. The good work of the officials could also be another reason for it. 

As the attack came to an end, people on the social media who first used the hashtag #PrayForJakarta were changing it to #KamiTidakTakut meaning 'We are not afraid'. It became a national sensation, and maybe even international. People were using the hashtag and some photos were going viral. There were photos of an old man selling his satay and other street vendors who were selling their goods despite the ongoing terror. They were praised for their guts, and people were saying that the fear of not being able to eat tomorrow are much worse than the fear of terrorism itself. Some people even said that the policeman on the scene was handsome, and his photos were also going viral. There wasn't any atmosphere of fear in the society. People just seem to got back to their normal daily routines quickly. Therefore, people start to mock the terrorists, people said that the terrorists were failing to spread the terror like they intended. 

Compared to previous terrorism cases in Indonesia, this late attack can be considered as a small one. Indonesia has overcome much worse situations of terorrism before, such as Bali bombing in 2002 with hundreds of victims. This could be one of the reason for the fearless public reaction. 

However, I have a mixed feelings with the hashtag #KamiTidakTakut. In some way, I'm quite proud of the way we reacted to terrorism. We aren't supposed to be pushed down by terror, we shall rise together and fight it. I definetely agree with this message. On the other hand, I also feel a slight of arrogance in it. I read some tweets with the hashtag, and some people just weren't choosing their words wisely, and all I could feel was the arrogance, even though they weren't experiencing the attack by themselves.

In my opinion, #KamiTidakTakut means that Indonesians are not afraid of terrorism because we have each other. We come from a lot of different cultures through out the archipelago yet we are one nation. We are strong because we have experienced a lot. Our ancestors and founding fathers fought hard for the independence. We are still growing and developing yet we are optimistic about the future. However, not everyone have the same opinion with me. Some were just overpraising ourselves and degrading others. That's why I'm not quite sure, whether I should be proud or embarassed. I'm pretty sure, I have both of those emotions mixed up inside.

Indonesia is a growing nation, we still have a lot of things to do. I just hope people will learn to be a lot more humble and wise, including me of course. How was your respond to the attack?

Have a nice day!

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