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Indonesian riots prove minister’s point on zero tolerance of racist remarks?

In Indonesia, Political economy, Public Administration on 27/08/2019 at 10:53 am

If a racist rap video was allowed to remain online, it could normalise offensive speech and such attacks against other races could become mainstream, said Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam.

Speaking at the CNM Leaders Summit organised by the National University of Singapore’s Department of Communications and New Media on Thursday (Aug 22), Mr Shanmugam expanded on why the Government acted to remove the rap video by YouTuber Preetipls and her brother Subhas Nair, which came in response to a controversial “brownface” advertisement.

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/preetipls-subhas-nair-rap-video-normalised-offensive-speech-11834928

Constructive, nation-building CNA

Well the following article from the BBC about violent protests in West Papua province is evidence that he isn’t talking cock about the probability of violence when there’s official tolerance of racist language. Racist taunts aimed at a group of students from West Papua in Java have sparked violent protests in Indonesia’s West Papua.

What happened in Java last weekend

The groundswell of anger that has fuelled the latest demonstrators was sparked by an incident in the Javanese city of Surabaya at the weekend.

After accusing Papuan university students of damaging an Indonesian flag during Independence Day celebrations, nationalist groups surrounded their boarding house and goaded them with racist taunts, calling them “monkeys”, “pigs” and “dogs”.

Police in riot gear then stormed the dormitory to force the students out. Authorities said the students were briefly questioned before being set free.

This resulted in violent protests in West Papua

The area’s largest protests in years saw numerous buildings torched – including a jail and a market – and resulted in the Indonesian government deploying thousands of additional security officers to an area which is already the country’s most heavily militarised.

The internet has also been shut down to “restore security”, according to the Indonesian government.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-49434277

But it’s more than racist taunts. Papuan students in Java, told BBC Indonesian they are often made to feel like second-class citizens.

“I have been turned away from student boarding houses and told that they will not receive boarders who are Papuan students,” said Benfa, a Papua student in Yogyakarta.

“We face discrimination and racism daily,” Aris Yeimo, from the Papuan student union, added.

Coming back to the spark that started the riots (the racial taunts),  a few Indonesian politicians are showing some sensitivity. The governor of East Java province apologised for the racism in Surabaya, and President Joko Widodo announced plans to visit Papua. But better not to have allowed the taunts in the first place?

Related post:

Brownfacegate: Did you know Shanmugam also said this?

Typical Chinese reaction to “brownface” ad/ Cina also can get upset

Brownfacegate: The inside story?

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