JAKARTA, KOMPAS.COM - Indonesia marked its 75th National Heroes Day on 10 November, with a tumultuous 24 hours that many of the country’s national heroes would have found all too familiar.
Three years of exile has not lessened Islamic Defenders Front or FPI chief Rizieq Shihab’s appetite for chaos, as his subordinates’ enthusiastic reception in Indonesia’s main airport caused the delay and cancellation of dozens of flights and traffic jams all the way to the center of Jakarta.
The Indonesian Doctors Association [IDI] highlighted the losses that Covid-19 continued to inflict on Indonesia’s health workers. The IDI noted that nearly 300 doctors and nurses succumbed to the pandemic, more than eight months after it was detected in Indonesia.
And President Joko Widodo marked Indonesia’s 75th National Heroes Day by naming six historical figures from Indonesia’s colonial past as well as the heady early years of the country’s independence. Read on for more details on these stories, as they are curated by our editors:
1. Indonesian Muslim Cleric Rizieq Shihab’s Homecoming Paralyzes Jakarta
Thousands of people from the Islamic Defenders Front ( FPI) vigilante organization welcomed their chief Rizieq Shihab home from his three-year exile in Saudi Arabia on November 10, three years after he fled to the country in 2017, when the Indonesian National Police declared him a prime suspect in a pornography case. “If Allah has willed [that I] should return [to Indonesia], no force can [stop me]!,” the firebrand cleric said to his followers in Central Jakarta’s Petamburan district.
The Jakarta Metropolitan Police noted that the FPI rally shut down traffic and the Transjakarta bus routes near Petamburan. Earlier in the morning, they paralyzed Jakarta’s Soekarno Hatta Airport earlier that morning from 5am to 10am to welcome Rizieq home.
“[The FPI’s visit] has disrupted 28 flights. Some were delayed by 1 to 3 hours, while others were canceled altogether,” said Transportation Ministry Director General for Air Transport Novie Riyanto.
Angkasa Pura II airline insurance Branch and Communications Senior Manager Haerul Anwar reiterated Novie.
“A number of airlines such as Lion Air, Batik Air, Garuda Indonesia, Sriwijaya and Citilink have rescheduled their flight schedules and offered to refund passengers who missed their flights today,” Haerul said.
The FPI is notorious for using Islam as a pretext to terrorize individuals or businesses since its founding in August 1998.
2. Indonesian Doctors Association: Covid-19 Claims the Lives of 282 Health Workers
The Indonesian Doctors Association [IDI] noted that 282 doctors and nurses have died combating Covid-19, since the pandemic was first detected in the country last March.
“[The death toll] is made up of 168 doctors, including nine dentists, and 114 nurses,” said IDI Mitigation Team Chief Adib Khumaidiin a press release dated 10 November.
“They included 84 general practitioners, 73 specialists, and two residents. Most of the fatalities come from the province of East Java with 36 doctors, followed by Jakarta with 26.” He also paid tribute to their dedication.
"The health workers are heroes in the truest sense of the word in facing the [Covid-19] pandemic, as they remained strong and brave in this time of fear. They show up to fight the coronavirus and often put their lives and those of their loved ones on the line,” asserted Adib.
"The least the public can do to acknowledge their sacrifice is comply with health protocols and provide moral and mental support.”
3. Indonesia Marks National Heroes Day by Naming 6 New National Heroes
President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo has marked Indonesia’s 75th Heroes Day on November 10 by bestowing the title of National Hero to six historical Indonesian figures.
“[A characteristic] that defined these heroes is that they exist in every era [in Indonesian history]. They also welcomed the challenges of their time,” said Jokowi.
“I hope that Indonesians today can be inspired from their sacrifices and their fight in facing contemporary problems such as breaking the transmission of Covid-19, which plagued [Indonesia] over the past 8 months.”
The heroes included those who fought against foreign forces bent on establishing a foothold in Indonesia such as Sultan Baabullah, a 16th century Sultan from the Sultanate of Ternate in present-day North Maluku province.
Another is Machmud Singgirei Rumagesan, the king of the Segar region in the present-day Fakfak regency of West Papua, earned his title by fighting against the Dutch colonial government ahead of Indonesia’s annexation of the area in 1962.
Raden Mattaher Bin Pangeran Kusen bin Adi, a 19th century warlord from Jambi province who fought the Dutch from his accession in 1871 to his death in battle in 1907.
Others are more recent historical personages from Indonesia’s early years of independence. They include Police General Raden Said Soekanto Tjokrodiatmodjo, the first head of the Indonesian National Police, and Soekarno era Information Minister Arnold Mononutu from North Sulawesi. Amin Nasution, the first governor of North Sumatra Province from 1948 to 1953, capped off the list.
Indonesia designated November 10 as the country's Heroes Day as it marks the Battle of Surabaya, a confrontation between Indonesian independence fighters and British forces in 1945 that resulted in a strategic victory for the former.
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