Sundanese Nationalism

May 27th, 2006, in News, by

From the depths of time grave threats to the nation have re-arisen, Sundanese nationalism and international communism.

Police have recently arrested a number of members of a Sundanese nationalist group, in Tangerang, Banten, and Bogor, West Java, both near Jakarta. Some reports have the group being called the "Negara Sunda Nusantara" (NSN), others as the "Kerajaan Sunda Nusantara", while another news source has the name as "Forum Komunikasi Masyarakat Sunda Nusantara (FKMSN)". Confusion reigns.

Whatever the name it is evident that at least five members have been arrested. One Muhammad Husein, who claims to be some sort of ambassador, was picked up on the 24th of May at the headquarters of his movement. Husein, under investigation, however, denied that Sunda Nusantara was a separatist group, given the fact that they did not recognise the existence of the state of Indonesia. An independent Sunda had stood since the 14th century and anything that had changed in the intervening 600 years was illegitimate, he said. metrotv

Husein's arrest came hot on the heels of arrests of four other leaders of Sunda Nusantara a day earlier as police sought to deal with the danger of the resurgence of Sundanese nationalism firmly and quickly. In Tangerang on the 23rd four men, Ahmad Sujai (head of the Bogor branch), Sarun bin Asiin (head of the Tangerang branch), and Suhaedi and Sobadri (both members), were taken in, Ahmad Sujai being thought to be the leader of the movement. During the arrest some evidence was confiscated including three Sundanese flags and papers that detailed the positions held by the four men within the "kingdom's" administration. Apart from these four men seven witnesses were also questioned.

Brigadier General Anton Bachrul Alam of the national police said afterwards that the men faced a minimum penalty of 20 years in prison for treason. But, Anton admitted that he couldn't remember exactly which article of the law the men had transgressed. He was pretty sure on the 20 year sentence part though.

While Tangerang police chief, Tony Hermanto, said: kompas

I was told that under questioning Sahrun/Sarun had said that he wasn't an Indonesian citizen. I asked him directly, to be sure. Turns out it's true he says he's not Indonesian but that he is a citizen of Greater Sunda.
(Dalam berita acara pemeriksaan, Sahrun menyatakan sebagai bukan warga negara RI. Untuk meyakinkan, saya langsung bertanya kepada mereka. Ternyata benar ia mengaku bukan WNI melainkan warga negara Sunda Nusantara.)

Greater Sunda, it appears, covers all of Java as well as Sumatra, Borneo and even Papua New Guinea. The men claim that their organisation has a membership of 30 million, that is, all the Sundanese people, while the police believe the actual membership is about 400.

Meanwhile a ghost of the more recent past has also re-surfaced, some claim. In Bandung, West Java, a discussion of the events of 1965, in which the Communist Party of Indonesia was violently liquidated, was broken up by about 200 youth activists from obscurely named nationalist groups on the 20th.

The gathering was held at the Wisma Brantas, Jl. Brantas and was attended mainly by female former members of the PKI or its front organisations. Most of the women in attendance were over 70 years old and they were naturally reported mediaindo to have been shocked as dozens of young men poured into the room and forcibly stopped the meeting and kicked out the attendees.

Asril Agus, one of the men who led the breaking up of the gathering, said suaramerdeka that the meeting was dangerous because it could encourage the growth of the latent communism that existed in Indonesia.

The police were reported to have been very unsympathetic to the women, saying that the meeting was held without proper authorisation and therefore deserved to have been forced to end prematurely.

The young men were only helping to break up the meeting for the police. We need to question the organising committee of the meeting as witnesses because their holding of the meeting [without permission] was illegal.
(Massa pemuda hanya menindaklanjuti pembubaran pertemuan yang dilakukan polisi. Kita perlu memeriksa panitia sebagai saksi, karena tindakan mereka yang mengadakan pertemuan secara ilegal.)

said central Bandung police chief A.K.B. Mashudi, thankful for the helping hands of young thugs.

One Comment on “Sundanese Nationalism”

  1. avatar Paul Dale says:

    I was unaware of the existence of Sundanese Nationalism . . . interesting. It sure seems like internal problems are continuing to evolve everywhere, subtley and otherwise. Maybe I am over-analysing / over-reacting? Being a bit too pessimistic by nature, I have always assumed that it is a no-brainer analysis: that social conflict would increase over time due to increasing Islamization/Arabization, continued lack of economic progress for most everyone in society if not downright deteriorating positions, etc. . . .? Not Indonesia specific though, arguably these things are cyclical, interconnected.

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