Jakarta – The hashtag #Reformasidikorupsi (Reform corrupted), which became the tagline for recent nationwide rallies in the country, has inspired a musical protest that amplified protesters' demand that the state be committed to continuing decades-old efforts of political reforms.
A concert titled "Ikut Mendesak Tapi Santuy" (Protesting but Chill) was held by a number of musicians and activists in South Jakarta on Wednesday evening in support of the movement, which saw tens of thousands of university students taking to the streets in a string of protests last month.
Those who took part in the concert include the singer of alternative rock band Efek Rumah Kaca, Cholil Mahmud; the son of missing activist-cum-poet Widji Thukul, Fajar Merah; Yogyakarta-based soloist Danto "Sisir Tanah"; former Banda Neira singer Rara Sekar; and artist Melanie Subono,
Prior to the concert, the musicians were engaged in light discussions on why and how musicians could take part in protecting the country's democracy.
"Musicians are civilians, so when a bill does not take side with the people, everyone, including musicians, should show their stance by, for example, demanding that the bill be canceled," Danto said.
The participants of the concert said they supported seven demands of #Reformasidikorupsi, which had become the "thread" connecting the movements of students, laborers, farmers, fisherfolk, schoolchildren and civilians in various cities.
They also stood in solidarity with many of the protesters who they said had been subjected to the police's excessive use of force during the rallies that demanded, among other things, that the House of Representatives hold off on passing a number of controversial bills, including the revised Criminal Code (KUHP) bill.
Among the seven demands are the rejection of the passing of some controversial bills, the resolution of cases of human rights abuse and the withdrawal of the Indonesian Military (TNI) from restive Papua.
Cholil, meanwhile, cited the success of protesting musicians who forced House members to take down proposed draft legislation on music earlier this year.
"It proves that musicians have the power to protest and convey their opinions. Several musicians have to show their voice for things that they easily understand, such as the KUHP bill, but it is not enough," Cholil said.
"Musicians are lacking imagination, while in fact we have to – whether we want to or not – take part in democracy, and we have to fight together as human beings." (gis)