After reading Andre Vltchek’s book about Indonesia, Archipelago of Fear, I began to stalk him on social media, reading his biography on wikipedia and many of his articles about problematic countries from all around the world. What was in my head after discovered all of those stuffs, then? I was so inspired and started to think that I want to be like him. Furthermore, I felt like I’m obligated to. There are people somewhere on this earth who really needs me right now and in the future. The people who suffers, whose rights have been taken away, whose being tortured by greedy-rich people. Despite the fact that I fortunately born in a middle-income family so I can get a decent education, I surely have responsibility to help other people who can not live as lucky as I am.
Reading a bunch of his articles about Indonesia and other developing countries, I realized that being a journalist like Andre is not an easy job. Physically, it must be very tiring. But I think the most terrible thing is the mental and emotional pressures when seeing murdered, starving, and tortured people. It will be very hard to keep determined in the middle of battlefield, being chased or blacklisted by goverment. I’m just wondering what will I do in those situations; hearing screams and shouts from victims, watching the flames from burning houses, and the bombs that cracked up the whole city. I could feel the scary feeling while reading Andre’s article about the time when he met an innocent Syrian girl in a refugee camp. When he heard people shouting in the middle of the night, alone, he felt totally vulnerable. It got me imagining how horrendous journalist life is. It is really a difficult job, but eventually we have no choice. Someone has to make the real information flow to the public.
Then, what does he do when facing those scary moments in those hideous places? Andre wrote, “When things get tough, I imagine a few people; men, women and children, from all corners of the world; people who touched me, who suffered immensely, and who are still most likely in distress. Their faces, their tears, even their screams, motivate me to keep working.”
“One day we will be building enormous monuments to those who vanished, to those who suffered immensely, to “un-people” whose tears most of us do not even see, whose screams of horror and pain are muzzled by horrendous lies, deranged pop music and movie soundtracks, by whoring mass media, and by formal education which is distributed to everyone like a poison, like sedatives, like a tool that makes most of the people on this scarred Earth disappear from our consciousness.”
Being a journalist is hard, but I guess it will be even harder because of my gender. I am a woman who can not be as tough as a man; phisically especially. I do know that gender is not supposed to be a reason to make me avoid to speak up for humanity, and there are so many female journalists that already proved their action to defend a lot of people, but I’m still terrified, don’t know why.
On my discussion with Andre, for the first time I heared about the backwardness of Indonesian intellectual nowadays. I thought we had so many talented people who already ‘goes international’, but it is not enough. There’s no Indonesian people who can win the Nobel Prizes (lately I heard about Joey Alexander who got grammy nominee in jazz music, it’s a nice progress). I still can not fully agree with this statement tough. Because in fact, the winners of those international awards are not always fairly chosen, for example the Prime Minister of Israel who won the Nobel Peace Prize (come on, it’s so ridicilous). But, let’s just admit it that we still have very few big intellects, we rarely making big inventions, good movies, good music or anything that acclaimed and praised internationally. It is definetely related with the education system we’re using right now. On my previous article I critized once about this stuff. It is what made me decided to quit school and became a homeschooler.
Not only about intellectual problem, Indonesia is also ‘the most indroctinated and compassionless place anywhere under the sun’, Andre wrote on his article titled “Horrid Carcass of Indonesia”. Well, it is a bit cringing, but I believe this is what really happen in our country right now. “Here, even the victims were not aware of their own conditions anymore. The victims felt shame, while the mass murderers were proudly bragging about all those horrendous killings and rapes they had committed. Genocidal cadres are all over the government.”
Then what about the young generation?
Andre wrote, “Young generation?” I wondered. In Indonesia, they felt like some old nomenclature, even at the age of 15: endless idiotic Barbie dolls on thin legs… Those of the “elites”, I mean… the rest were just slaves, exploited, humiliated and fully conditioned not to ask and not to know. “Young elites” – embarrassing parodies of the movers and shakers from Wall Street. So pathetic! No individuality, dreams, talent, hard work; no revolutionary and rebellious spirit! The same crappy, sugary pop music and Hollywood films, the same Starbucks lattes… While outside, the nation was burning, choking on its own smoke and excrements, collapsing and murdering in some of the most horrendous genocides in the modern history – East Timor before, and Papua now.”
You might be wondering why should I think so deeply about these stuffs? Well, I’ve been studying philosophy in the past 2 months and I love this discipline from the bottom of my heart. I want to use what I learn to write about things that really matter to me in a solid and lofty way. Then I hope it will help my helpless friends in every corner of the world who can not lives happily like I do. I promise I will not make money as my ultimate goal in my life. Life is too short, people say, make it valuable by fighting for people whose rights unfairly removed; fighting for a better world that is far from spite, hatred, war; fighting for a world that characterized by generosity and compassion.