In 2013, my study program classmates and I had the opportunity to conduct overseas course to Norway and Finland. I had the opportunity to visit the Norwegian Nobel Institute and participate in the presentation about the Nobel Committee from Mr. Asle Toje, Research Director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, who is currently a member of the Norwegian Nobel Committee in charge of selecting Nobel Peace Prize winners every year.
Mr. Toje, at that time, gave us an explanation of how the Nobel Committee works in order to select one of the hundreds of names recommended throughout the year from around the world.
In Finland, I also had the opportunity to meet the Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) team, as the institution established by Martii Ahtisaari. Ms. Minna Kukonen, as an Adviser to Ahtisaari, explained that peace in Aceh had become a ‘success story’.
The agreement signed in Helsinki was the result of the willingness of the parties involved in the negotiations to set aside their disputes in order to create peace in Aceh. This essay will see Jusuf Kalla’s (JK) role in building positive peace and his possibility of being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
JK, the peacemaker
After Aceh Tsunami, JK moved fast by asking GAM leaders to negotiate. JK said, “It is outrageous that GAM does not want to negotiate, for the sake of the Acehnese themselves. To ease the burden on the people, peace is the main prerequisite for facilitating and accelerating humanitarian assistance. How can we save the Acehnese people and build infrastructure after the Tsunami if the rifle at any time flares up? There are no outside parties who dare to enter Aceh for humanitarian support if the conflict persists”.
If there was one, that was JK. In an intensifying situation and suppressed by many parties, JK came out without resistance, but with spontaneous answers, witty, but still logic and firm. JK is a true peacemaker. Besides, his peaceful work was also seen when he successfully led the Malino Declaration I and II, which succeeded in bringing peace in Poso and Ambon.
At that time, before the declaration was signed, JK gave a choice between “honey” and “poison” to the leaders of Islamic and Christian communities. JK said, “If you choose poison, the government will give them weapons so that all Maluku people will extinct. Meanwhile, honey means they must open the door of dialog and trust the government as a mediator.” The leaders seemed very shocked, and they finally chose to make peace. An example of how extraordinary JK is in looking for a solution.
Positive peace in Aceh
Steps taken by JK are in accordance with Johan Galtung’s positive peace theory. Galtung stated that positive peace is a condition of good and fair relations in all aspects of life, social, economic, political and ecological aspects.
Direct and indirect violence, both macro and micro, such as warfare, torture, and violence against children and women, disappeared. Thus, structural violence, such as poverty and hunger, socio-cultural violence, such as racism, sexism, and religious intolerance, subsided.
In Aceh, for example, if the Indonesian government at that time decided to attack GAM to end the conflict, there would be no positive peace. GAM was destroyed, but the condition of the Acehnese community structure remains fragile because it was not based on constructive relations between actors, and also the culture of violence remained.
After decades of conflict, the Acehnese only knew one word, violence. If the Indonesian government used violence to resolve conflicts with GAM, then what would happen was that the conflict would relapse. Conflict relapse is a situation where conflict reappears because the negative peace situation still exists. This is where JK’s statesmen were seen. Realizing that violence was not a solution, JK offered an alternative conflict resolution, which in the future will bring Aceh to a positive peace condition.
The positive peace situation was actually proven in Aceh, Poso and Ambon. Today, the economy is increasing, as a result of a complete conflict termination. Democracy is carried out purely and consequently, as evidenced by the effectiveness of the local elections, conducted after the peace agreement.
When I was in Finland, CMI team acknowledged the role of Hamid Awaludin (the Minister of Law and Human Rights) as chairman of the Indonesian delegation team at the Helsinki negotiations. Hamid himself is considered to be close to JK, whom I feel must have learned a lot from JK.
Every step Hamid had in negotiations with GAM was coordinated with JK, who at that time could not have gone directly to the field because of his capacity as the vice president.
JK said, “The emergence of the problem is always preceded by gaps that occur within the community and the distrust of each party. Conflict resolution can easily be achieved if the government is willing to work hard to reduce it, and both parties sit together to discuss in a fair manner”.
JK’s contribution to peace has been proven since becoming a direct mediator in Poso and Ambon. All with non-violent method, giving all warring parties a sense of justice, upholding human dignity, and most importantly, no conflict relapse.
Johan Galtung is the father of peace study and becomes the basic theorist in this field of study. What JK did is exactly what Galtung wants when brought out the positive peace theory. Galtung is also a Norwegian. Therefore, the Nobel Committee should have seen JK’s achievement in contributing to achieving peace, even though it is not yet global, but at least JK’s model can be replicated for conflict resolution efforts. Something that Galtung, a Norwegian, was the pioneer.
JK for the Nobel Peace Prize
After the Helsinki Agreement, Indonesia actually deserved more to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Because with all humility, Indonesia was willing to negotiate with parties that in international legal terms were considered belligerent and had no legal status to negotiate with the state as an acknowledge sovereignty.
I think that this is an extraordinary manner because one of the criteria in the Nobel Peace Prize is that the candidate demonstrates extraordinary enthusiasm for efforts to promote peace, justice and human dignity, and practices nonviolent methods.
The Indonesian government after the Tsunami could have mobilized large-scale forces to storm GAM bases in Aceh. Likewise, the Indonesian Government stopped Poso and Ambon conflict by militaristic way.
However, JK at that time, instead of asking to submit negotiations when the government could end the conflicts once and for all, by force. A proof that JK is someone who deserves the Nobel Peace Prize because in the midst of his authority and power to use violence, he decided to end the conflict with peace talks.
The Nobel Peace Prize is given to people that can provide alternative solutions. JK also once said that there must be concrete steps in the effort to pursue world peace. Peace and conflict resolution can only be realized with real action concerning the warring parties.
So, it’s not just a ceremonial conference that is full of talks.
JK criticized many international conferences where the participants talk a lot about peace but has no desire for concrete steps on the ground.
In terms of JK’s nomination for Nobel Peace Prize, I recommend that the government sends a formal request to Martti Ahtisaari, to submit the nomination to the Nobel Committee. Since Ahtisaari was the laureate in 2008, he has the right to nominee JK for next year nomination. I believe Mr. Ahtisaari would be more than happy to do so.
The last but not least, Nelson Mandela, 1993 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, said “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination”. We are very lucky to have a VP with a brilliant head to come up with unthinkable ideals, and also a VP with a tremendous heart to forgive. Therefore, Nobel Peace prize for JK? One step closer.
34 years old, Political Science Lecturer in UPV “Veteran” Jakarta, now active in teaching Peace and Security Studies, and also write books mainly on politics and international studies
This essay has been edited and modified for digital publication and reading easiness reasons.
These terms have been agreed upon by the writer (s).