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Military: stop protracted polemics

Kompas - June 22, 1998 (abridged)

Malang – The Armed Forces Socio-political Chief-of-Staff, Lt. Gen. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, said that political and elite circles embroiled in protracted polemics, should feel ashamed before the common people.

"In this crisis situation, the common folk remain willing to remain patient. The reformation requires patience, controlled phasing, and priorities. It is not like turning your hand," he said in a seminar titled "Nationalism in the Third Millenium" at the Malang educational faculty (IKIP) on Saturday (20/6). The general said that political and economic dynamics in reponse to the reformation, had given rise to various phenomena, which indicated an excess of zeal and exaggeration which could lead to national disintegration.

How easily do we act anarchistically. Perpetrating acts which clearly do not reflect our character and identity as a well-mannered natiom, respecting law and other people, and upholding religious values. Various incidents which have happened, illustrate a thinning of wisdom in facing the challenge of the future. "To get out of the difficulties quickly, is exactly why we must not lose our national identity," he said.

He stressed that this situation should not be worsened by incitement and emotional acts, which in fact are done by those with certain intentions, merely for group interests, with no thought for the greater national interest.

The question is whether we can come out of this crisis or transitional situation without sacrificing our national identity. The experience of other nations is that some succeed in doing so, while others do not.