Indonesian are curiously amnesiac. Watching current news in Indonesia proved that interesting fact. There is a certain events happened in the media (television, radio, newspaper and internet) right now. It is about the same topic again and again. Most of the people, related to the topic, talked about goodness, forgiveness and reward. Fair enough, but somehow there were some missing pieces. How about the wickedness, repentance and punishment?
As a human being we need to be able to forgive. If you are a religious person then you must believe that God will forgive anybody as long as they repent and in extreme situation, those who repent still need to be punished for their wrongdoing. So we had three main issues here: wickedness done by a human, repentance by that human and punishment for the wickedness done by that human who repent. Those train of thought were established to maintain a good society. It was not meant to hurt that particular human, it was meant to remind people about the great responsibility as a human being.
Being human is difficult. There are things a human should but could not do it. Or could but should not. Most of us picked ‘should but could not’ stance when faced with difficult situation. There are people who got so much power and most of them picked ‘could but should not’ approach to the situation. For example, people should help others but some people choose not to do it because they don’t have the ability or power to help. People with power however, they should not use their power to harm others but most of them choose to do it anyway, just because they could.
With great power comes great responsibility. Comic book lovers knew where the phrase came from. It may be a cliché but it holds the truth. Unfortunately, most people with great power did not understand this. They saw their power as a mean to escalate personal interest. Their power were so great, they even could altered the mind of people they were controlled.
Forgiving is a good act but forgetting is not. Forgiving is an act of clearing our heart and believe people always have their opportunity to do things right, next time. Forgetting is an act of wiping our mind and try not to remember anything, good or bad, about a certain person. By forgetting, we actually gave them another chance to do their best or their worst indefinitely.
Selective forgetting is the worst act and this is what happened here in Indonesia currently. Forget all the bad things, remember all the good things and that’s all. It does not really matter if a person practically, direct or indirect, was destroying many people’s life, practising wicked behavior and economic, manipulating minds of million of people and ruining a whole country with his/her previous action. It does not matter at all. Indonesian could forget all about that and remember only all the good and great things ever did by a person. Wicked deeds did not need to be repented and wicked deeds definitely did not need to be punished. This issue will lead into bad precedence for Indonesia now and in the future.
For some people, what happened to them was the opposite. Their hatred was so deep, they could not see the good things. Their hatred was tragically reasonable enough. They were destroyed, isolated, tormented and mollified physically and psychologically. They lost family members, their jobs, their reputation, their way of life. In their hatred mind, forgiving and forgetting are the same action. How we are going to assure them that forgiving is not forgetting and forgetting is just plain ignorant? Or maybe it was not our problem.
Most Indonesian memory do not last for more than 10 years. They do not remember why thing happened the way it was in 1998. They do not remember how to life under pressure, being afraid to talk their mind, scared to say something is right or wrong. They do not remember anything about the horrible past. They do remember all the supposed-to-be thriving economy. They do remember everything were easy if you had the money. They do remember how a public servant could become amazingly rich. They choose to remember all the good things while forgetting all the bad things.
They choose to be amnesiac, selective amnesiac.
Just ask for forgiveness and be forgiven. Asking for forgiveness is hard to do because we, direct or indirectly, admit our mistakes. Especially if we were someone with great power. Admitting mistakes was the last thing we want to do because we were afraid to look weak or stupid. But mistakes were practically human. Admitting mistakes makes us human and respected as a human being. If someone being a human, they should be treated as human too. So forgiveness is also part of our humanity.
Sure, we could forgive without being asked. That’s the greatest human action we could do. Just don’t forget. Don’t forget why we need to forgive in the first place. Don’t forget so we don’t experience the same thing again and again.
Please, be a great human. Forgive everything, just don’t be amnesiac.