To Forgive and to Forget

It’s like a ritual for politicians, activists and the media. Whenever the ex-President was rushed to hospital for his recurring critical conditions, they refreshed endless debates whether attorney general should drop legal process towards him and his foundations or not.

At the age of 86, he’s in the worst conditions, and there may not be another episodes of the ritual. The military didn’t deny that they already prepared for funeral of one of the three five-star generals. What will happen when the man finally meets silently the angel of death?

Many people, including myself, if I were not called earlier, will probably do a mass solemn pray, for a person who have contributed to the wealthiness of many Indonesians, military officers, government officials and business people, as well as to huge number of foreigners who made great fortunes out of the exploited soils, seas and tropical forests of Indonesia and from the huge foreign debts that it’s committed to.

Many ordinary people, such as farmers, also enjoyed descent lives with subsidized fertilizer and relatively stable price during harvest times. It’s true that there were still many poor people during his era, there were also legendary corruption practices, dirty politics, human rights violations, power abuses, but who were to blame?

There are free lunches, but they may not be that often. There are costs needed to be paid. The more we get things, the more costly they will be, and sometimes the costs are just way too high. Whilst we are paying the bill now for things that were done in the past, but we are still practicing the same things now. The excessive exploitations of mother earth are still heard loud and clear today, and government projects funded by foreign debts are not rare either.

This republic has ever had two strong leaders, each with his unique towering strengths and eye-naked weaknesses. These are the leaders who inspired people and made changes to the nation, albeit in different ways. Many people suffered severely during their rulings, but many others got huge benefits. It seems that we have forgiven and forgotten the weaknesses of the first, will we be able to do the same with the latter one then?

Those who see themselves as champions of justice, who want to uphold the law in the strictest way, still urge the ex-president to be brought into court, without anymore delay. It doesn’t matter in what conditions he’s in today, or whether he’s still alive or has crossed the one-way border to other world.

Sometimes I had a thought that these people believe more in legal aspects rather than in their own religions and conscience. Honestly, I do not believe in law. Okay, I may do believe in what is written, but with a huge reservation on the implementation of it. Remember, champions also have their own horrible weaknesses.

To forgive deals with the heart, and to forget deals with memory in our brains. In reality it’s hard to erase things from our hearts and brains. What we can do is to put them in neutral positions, without judgment, and let the Great Judge deals with them.

If you were to make a choice, which one will you do: not to forgive and not to forget, to forgive and not to forget, not to forgive and to forget, or to forgive and to forget? Don’t worry, there is no absolute right or absolute wrong answer.

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Oleh Bambang Aroengbinang. BA lahir di Desa Mersi, Purwokerto, Jawa Tengah, sekarang tinggal di Jakarta. Seorang blogger dan pejalan musiman yang senang berkunjung ke situs, makam, dan tempat bersejarah. Menyukai pemandangan daratan subur dan pegunungan hijau ketimbang laut. Kontak BA. Subscribe via email untuk kabar tulisan terbaru. Diperbarui pada 23 Maret 2017.

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