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Prevent Radicalism and Create Conduciveness Before Christmas

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By: Ina Putri Hutagaol )*

Approaching Christmas and the 2024 elections, Indonesia is again faced with the challenge of building a conducive atmosphere. Christmas as a moment of harmony and elections as the pinnacle of democracy require joint efforts from all levels of society to create a harmonious environment. In this context, various strategic steps can be taken to achieve peace and unity.

In response to this dynamic, the Indonesian National Police (Polri) has decided to take proactive steps by holding Operation Candle for 12 days, from 22 December 2023 to 2 January 2024. This operation is designed not only to protect the Christmas and New Year celebrations, but also to secure the campaign period for the 2024 presidential and legislative elections, face potential threats of terrorism, and anticipate other conventional crimes.

Head of the National Police’s National Security Agency, Brigadier General Mahrozin Rahman, explained that the main focus of Operation Candle was prevention. Involving 101,092 personnel from National Police Headquarters and Polda ranks, this operation was designed for early detection and prevention of law in order to maintain security and order during celebrations and the campaign period. With the increasing complexity of the security and social security situation as the 2023-2024 election campaign continues, the National Police is preparing itself with Operation Mantap Brata and coordinating with relevant stakeholders.

The Chairman of the Indonesian MPR Bambang Soesatyo (Bamsoet) also emphasized the importance of the role of all elements of the nation. In the atmosphere of the 2023 Christmas and 2024 New Year celebrations, Bamsoet extended an invitation to the political elite and all citizens to maintain unity and unity. He highlighted the dangers of damaging terminology such as ‘cebong’ and ‘kampret’, and warned against using religion as a tool to spread hatred in order to gain power. Bamsoet emphasized that in the Indonesian context which does not adhere to secularism, religion is an important element in the construction of social life.

Bamsoet emphasized that the implementation of the practice of religious life is love that drives brotherhood. Love and brotherhood are compounds that mutually strengthen each other, which will guide our every step towards harmony and peace.

In various public dialogues, such as those involving National Thinker Alfan Alfian, Catholic Cultural and Spiritualist Father Antonius Benny Susetyo, and communications practitioner Devie Rahmawati, the view emerged that active participation and joint commitment from all elements of society is needed. Alfan Alfian highlighted the importance of Bawaslu’s neutrality and staying away from identity politics. Father Antonius Benny Susetyo emphasized the neutrality of ASN, TNI and Polri, while Devie Rahmawati appealed to the public to avoid hoax news and check information from official sources.

Through dialogue and collaboration like this, various views and ideas are gathered to create a conducive situation. Communication practitioner Devie Rahmawati emphasized the importance of avoiding hoaxes and checking the validity of news from official sources.

Elections are often marred by the potential for conflict and the spread of incorrect information. Therefore, it is necessary to take preventive steps to deal with this situation. Strengthening law enforcement agencies, media monitoring, and anti-disinformation campaigns can be important instruments in maintaining election integrity. Intensive outreach regarding legal sanctions for hoax spreaders and collaborative efforts between the government, media and civil society can reduce the negative impact of disinformation.

Father Antonius Benny Susetyo asked parties related to election organizers to maintain public peace by working professionally. All of these views reflect a collaborative spirit to maintain a conducive situation ahead of the elections and Christmas, where security, unity and love are the main keys.

Facing the Christmas celebration, which has deep meaning for Christians, and ahead of the 2024 elections, differences in beliefs are often a source of tension. Encouraging dialogue between religious communities is the key to building a foundation for harmony. Through open discussion, mutual respect and understanding between people, we can reclaim diversity as a collective strength. Initiatives such as interfaith dialogue forums, diversity seminars, and inter-religious meetings can be a bridge to reduce potential conflicts and build mutual respect.

A conducive atmosphere can be built through active community participation in various social and political activities. Civil society organizations, non-profit institutions, and local communities can play an important role in motivating citizens to participate in activities that build togetherness. Activities such as mutual cooperation, charity bazaars, and humanitarian programs can be a forum for positively connecting communities and building trust in each other.

In this context, the role of the National Police is not only as a security guard, but also as a facilitator and coordinator in joint efforts to create safe, peaceful and conducive conditions. By combining the operational success of the National Police and the active participation of the community, it is hoped that Indonesia can celebrate Christmas and elections in peace, harmony and full of joy. This big challenge requires cooperation from all parties to jointly create a better future for the Indonesian people.

*The author is a national security observer

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