Thursday, January 14, 2016

kami tidak takut

Yesterday, as I was sitting in an embassy shuttle bus on my way to a friend and co-workers going- away lunch, there was a sudden flurry as peoples phones went off. John and Ed announced there was a bomb and shooting in the city and they had to go. So they jumped out of the, parked, van and trotted back into the office leaving the rest of us as they went off to do their jobs dealing with the flow of media coming both in and out of the embassy.
It took the rest of us about ten more minutes before we were called back to the office. We hadn't gotten too far when the announcement went out to the shuttle drivers to bring our people back in. The send-off lunch will be delayed and we all scavenged for what we could find in the building. Thank God for the Starbucks in our building.
Systems kicked in. Shelter in Place. People were accounted for. Parents checked on their children. Everyone sent out the mandatory Facebook notices that we were all ok.
I can't tell you all the details, because some of the secrecy is what keeps us safe. That's why you don't see pictures of the front of my house or images online that might give away security issues.
What I am telling you is that those systems are in place and I witnessed them work yesterday.
I'm also telling you this because I work with some great professionals who do their jobs very well, both yesterday and everyday.
Yesterday could have been much worse. I've been to the Sarinah Mall several times. In fact one of my favorite restaurants is there and I have had meetings at that Starbucks.
It's a really busy bustling place. The Jakarta police had it under control and the situation was dealt with. And it will continue to be.
I have never been afraid as I am out and about in Indonesia. And trust me, I stand out as a westerner.
But Indonesia is home to kind, open, friendly welcoming people who happen to be predominately Muslim. And the Indonesians I know don't understand why anyone would corrupt their religion this way. But also they are not going to take it lying down.
I have of course seen the Pray for Jakarta posts. Pretty standard. But I have also seen Kami Tidak Takut! We Are Not Afraid!
They are not going to roll over and let outside influences make things harder for "normal", as one friend called them, Muslims.
So I am going to take a cue from my friends from across the archipelago. I am going to choose not to be afraid. I will not let a few bad seeds influence my experience as I travel the world. I will not judge people based on their religion, color, creed. Of course we will take precautions. I will always have a gate and a guard when we are in the Foreign Service. But I will also take a this lesson. Saya Tidak Takut

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