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Jumat, 10 Agustus 2012

“Feminism and Interreligious Life in the context of Protestant Church in the Mollucas”


Diversity is the face of Indonesia. Bhinneka Tunggal Ika which means “Unity in Diversity” (literally; many, yet one) clearly shows that we are living in the context of pluralism, and it is even the identity of the state. As a part of Indonesian, Mollucas has also the same identity, for people live in religious, social, language, and ethnic diversity. As an identity, it has ever been problematic in the history of Mollucan people when they were struggling to killed each other, especially those who were different with their religious community. As we know, the riot was over and the community was reconciled, but I am skeptical to say that the current situation will guarantee the future, where people will live peacefully among them. I see that in the grass root community the conflict potential still be preserved. In this context, I am going to say that reconciliation should be striven continuously by involving the whole community, including women.  
In the context of conflict, women played an important role for making peace and harmony. They began in the public space, such as traditional market which was opened in the borders between Moslem and Christian where they were actors in the economic transaction. Such transaction was more than economic activity, but a part of encountering the other to talked and to reconciled. So, conflict resolution cannot be separated from women’s participation. The question now is; is there any place for women in the context where conflict is over? I absolutely agree with Anna Marsiana that said that they are sent back to home with their domestic roles, even if they have public role but it does not guarantee that they will be the decision makers. The later symptom can also be found in the church. Almost 50 % of the total ministers in GPM (Gereja Protestan Maluku) are women, but the leadership positions are dominantly controlled by men. I think that giving the opportunity for the women to be ‘the leaders’ is one of the holistic ways to bring peace. For me, when women are the leaders, they will not only lead and make a decision with ‘their brains’ but also with ‘their heart’ as their emotional characteristics. They will act as mothers who care to every member of the family. They love to unity them, and not to separate. So, I am emphasizing again and again that women leadership, either in the social or religious community is very important, not only to oppose the patriarchal system but also to the harmony in the context of interreligious community.
I also suggest that: (1) women empowerment has to become priority. Its focus is socio-economic aspect. Their basic skills should be improved, getting better education and occupation, and being ready in economical market competition. I think that one of the conflict’s causal factors is joblessness. When people are lacking of occupation, the crime will be very potential to occur. Conversely, when they get opportunity to work, the crime or conflict then can be reduced. Here I am not saying that ‘the jobless women’ are the causal factor of the conflict, but what I am trying to stress is that by getting the opportunity to work or to be empowered, they can also empower the other and creatively making the opportunity to them for working. (2) The Mollucan women have to work together to return the cultural values back to their places and at the same time trying to strengthen ‘the motherhood principle’ in the socio-cultural system within the community where women especially mothers are seen as the most important figures in the family (ina-centred; ina means mother).

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