Today, we celebrated our independence day. People held ceremonies, competitions, and many more events to enjoy the special day. But a thought came across my mind, a deep reflection of someone who is very care of her own country, where she was born, raised, and live.

Is our independence real?

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I saw on TV how our siblings in Papua still live in poverty. Their children looked so skinny, showing that they don’t get enough nutrition for their growth. It was so ironic that the governor’s office is not so far from the poor village. Then the TV reporter asked, to where the special autonomy budget has gone. At that time, I remember the incident when some of Papua people fought for building their own country, Papua, separated from Indonesia. And it wasn’t only Papua. Years ago, Indonesia has lost East Timor. Not to mention the Sipadan, Ligitan, and Sebatik islands, which were claimed as regions of neighbor country.Indonesia was well-known for the richness in nature source. I remember the old song that told how the soil of Indonesia land was so fertile that you just had to throw grains and they would grow instantly. They said that the sea is Indonesia was not merely sea; it was a huge pond of milk. In paradox, today Indonesia ought to buy rice, our very basic food, from other countries.

One day when I went to mall with my friends, I saw many kids stood up in front of the mall gate. They dressed badly, telling that they had no money to buy proper dress. In their small hands, they clutched lots of magazines, tabloids, and newspapers, offering the mall visitors to buy some. Not far from them, their peers walked happily with their parents, asking Mom and Dad whether they could have some new toys, enjoy games or delicious food in the mall.

Another story comes from my own experience. I never regret that I was born as female, with small eyes, straight hair, and light skin tone. I had a very nice childhood when my friends, which were physically different from me, treated me very well as a united part of them. But it hurt when one day I walked on the street and heard people called me ‘Chinese’ with an unsympathetic pitch. It hurt when someone said that people who had the same skin tone as me were all tight-fisted. I never think that I belong to a far away country in where most of its people just look like me. I don’t speak in their language; neither can understand their conversation well enough. Deep in my heart, I know that the fact that my ancestors came from that land is infallible. But I have shared the same air, the same water, stood in the same ground with people which may look different than me, from the day that I was born. I consider them as my siblings. Then what’s on earth that makes me not deserve the same treatment, the same respect, as they give to people who looks physically the same?

Colonialism is not only about being a colony of other country. Being independence is not as simple as getting sovereign to hold our own governance. When we still have to import our rice from other country, because we cannot produce enough rice for ourselves, I think we haven’t been independent. When there is still a significant gap between the poor and the have, I think the independence doesn’t belong to all. When the discriminations in the name of race, economic status, or others still happen, people who get the discrimination haven’t got the benefit of what we call ‘independence’. When some regions struggle to separate themselves from Indonesia, it means there’s something wrong about our independence, our integration, our nationalism spirit.

However, as an Indonesian youngster, I still have hope of our future. Our country is indeed, dangerously beautiful, abundantly rich. At this moment, I just want to whisper a simple prayer for my beloved country.

“God, please bless this country with the real independence…..”