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Federalist questions

(Part 6)




Erik Espina

Erik Espina

Indonesia was besieged with deep inter-ethnic tensions at its since its founding – or example, regions outside of Java, Aceh and Kalimantan (Borneo), historical discrimination/violence vs. the “Orang Tionghoa” (Chinese descent) since 1740s, five notional separatist states struggling to be independent republics. A unitary state – the Republic of Indonesia – was the practical solution for the nationalist movements. Dutch colonials had influenced what became a defunct federalist Republic of the United States of Indonesia. But the nationalists said the neo-colonial scheme was risky in a politically/socially charged and dissociative environment. To cement heterogenous cleavages, “Pancasila” was adopted as the Indonesian state credo: 1) Belief in the One and Only God; 2) A just and civilized humanity; 3) A unified Indonesia; 4) Democracy, led by the wisdom of the representatives of the people; 5) Social justice for all Indonesians. Established by President Sukarno, it reminded native factions of the philosophy and consequence of “unity in diversity” as shared values.

Other countries as Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, including the USSR, turned into ill-fated experimentations with manufactured and coerced marriages of states. In 1946, Yugoslavia fell under the communist regime of Josep Broz Tito as prime minister (1944-63), and “president for life” (1980s). installing a federation of six republics – Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, Macedonia, plus two provinces in the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia. In 1963, the country was renamed Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Considered a benevolent dictator, Tito’s policies nurtured peaceful co-existence among the federation nations. With his passing in May, 1980, followed by Eastern Bloc communism falling, and the Berlin Wall crumbling, Yugoslav coherence began to stray and fork. Upheavals and inter-ethnic civil wars broke out. Today, the former federal state of Yugoslavia has splintered into seven independent states.



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