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Jusuf Kalla Social Movement’s: Conflict Resolution Strategies in Poso to Inspire Further Global Peacemaking  

Indonesia has the motto of “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika”. It means a profound unity and unity for the people of Indonesia. The motto is essential because Indonesia is a country with a vast and diverse sociocultural condition, comprised of various ethnic groups, culture to religion that unite its people from east to west. Besides, Indonesia has a plural and heterogeneous characteristics.

Indonesia is then considered a multicultural wealth where our nation can be powerful due to that differences. When managed well, they are a truly source of power. However, diversity could also be a potential source of conflict.

The dilemma of diversity sometimes affects the existence of conflict that could lead to disintegration. This threat could potentially occur in the Indonesian multicultural society if failing to address differences which became the initial cause of intolerance.

Meanwhile, ideological conflict to end conflicts aggressively could lead to, instead, continuous violence. That is the moment where awareness to be able to live alongside one another fades away, so that the profound meaning of the motto “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika” is losing it grasp on personal behaviors of the people of Indonesia.

The case of horizontal conflicts in Indonesia, namely ethnicity, race, religion and inter-group based conflicts, are caused by several groups that tend to be intolerant for differences. Identity conflicts between the existing social groups are also an impact of polarization in various fields such as economy, social, politics, and also often in the field of religious diversity.

One conflict that attracted the attention of Indonesian society was the conflict in Poso, Central Sulawesi, involving Muslim religious group who were Bugisand Javanese migrants with Christian religious group who were indigenous people of Poso. This conflict started in 1998.

The clashes between Muslim and Christian were caused by several reasons.

First, it was economic competition between two groups. Second, the political instability in the proportion of power-sharing local government tended to unjust between the Muslims and Christians. The climax was a violent conflict in 2000, there were attacks uprising between the conflicting groups which were the Christian to the Muslim societies.

The conflict between different religious groups certainly has become a threat for the sustainability of individuals’ ethnicity and identity. Small frictions to rebellion from could end up with larger and organized actions. Thus, violence in name of social identity including religion, is a serious challenge.

Religion itself has been experiencing critical challenges in history. Religion directs its followers on two opposite sides, with one side on humanization and on the other side on dehumanization.

The worsening Poso conflict required the settlement to avoid casualties and damage in the area. A conflict resolution through collective action become one strategy for conflict resolution directionally in the form of social movements.

Conflict resolution through social movements can be implemented through the ‘humanization’ of all aspects of people’s lives. In that sense, a social movement can be classified as a collective behavior along with the terms of a community member that has a goal to achieve changes together.

The social movement for the settlement of conflict is embodied in the form of strategies. Conflict resolution have some common strategies, including negotiation, mediation, and arbitration or adjudication.

Jusuf Kalla (JK) as an agent of peace and agent of representative Sulawesi initiated conflict resolution in Poso. His strategy was trying to understand the Poso region before he came there. From this information, JK received detailed information about the real condition of Poso so that conflict resolution could be precisely performed. In resolving the conflict in Poso, JK focused on political and religious settlements collaboratively to enable conflict resolution.

To this end, JK’s work in Poso resonated with the idea of social movements that allowed humanization of people there.

In 2001, JK’s strategy was to reconcile Poso to bring together Muslim and Christian groups for discussion and Malino Declaration to sign the peace agreement. JK also suggested that the conflicting parties to forgive each other, forget the judicial process so that enmity and grudge with each other could be ended (Viartasiwi, 2013).

To me, JK’s social movement reflects the conflict resolution principle of the persuasive approach. Persuasion is more concerned with the way of peace than the method of threatening or going on a strike to force others to follow the aspiration of a certain group to resolve conflict.

Persuasive efforts can change behaviors and actions on the basis of mutual trust and non-violence toward peace which commonly involves the approach of understanding religions, languages and local customs to get the best solution based on the common interest towards peace.

The persuasion–based conflict resolution strategy is regarded as constructive conflict management. The strategy is considered a positive problem solving, in which some compromises and negotiations allow control of the results to be achieved by the groups involved.

The Poso conflict teaches us that all of the people who experienced the conflict have embedded the culture of tolerance to live alongside one another despite having different backgrounds. Every incident of conflict, though, should be acknowledged and presented not only to be remembered, but also to be the foundation for forgetting and forgiving and avoiding a grudge.

The primary requirement to be able to forgive and give up the past is a “confession”.

Our history records that the challenges truly happen in this life, including horizontal conflicts. Recognition of the past should be constituted by everyone including women, men, children, teenagers, the elderly, from various ethnic, religious, regional, and not to mention by the government, security forces, and other communities.

This recognition of differences of one another can be an imagination to live together. All elements of society are believed to serve as an agent that can change the potential of conflicts due to diversity to a safe, peaceful, and comfortable atmosphere.

Actions taken by JK in the form of social movement strategies, in my opinion, should become a critical recommendation for global peace efforts. The Poso conflict resolution should become a model or a representation of the successful implementation of conflict resolution to inspire global peacemaking.

As for the long-term recommendations, actions that can be done include:

  1. It is imperative to enhance social relationship among different groups is essential to enable social cooperation. The government is expected to provide space for appreciation such as sports venues, art and culture buildings, and meeting halls that allow people of different faiths to meet and have interactions and dialogs to improve social relations among them. Inter-religious dialogs are also going to build inclusive views among them.
  2. As the socio-economic factors have both direct and indirect impacts on social cooperation, the government and civil societies should pay attention to the market. They need to ensure that the market is a level playing field for everyone regardless of their backgrounds. This situation will enable peaceful interaction between religious communities.
  3. Preparing a better education to enable better the inter-religious relationships is essential. To this end, the local education policy stakeholders can initiate cultural activities such as festivals of local wisdom to mitigate potential conflict within the civil societies. Thus, conflict resolution can be carried out in cooperation between school, communities, and government.
  4. Conflict resolution education can further be developed through activities across national and global levels. At the national level, it could be sports, scout and Olympic activities. While at the global level the activities can be in the forms of cultural parades, and cultural exchanges. Learning multicultural education can develop the principles of mutual respect and tolerance for differences and cultural diversity.



Lingga Utami
25 years old, 2th year Post Graduate student of Sociology Education in Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia. Now active as a researcher to promoting social movement to protecting pedophile victim. And now, I am also active to help The Center of Research Community Service Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia to research Implementation Conflict Resolution in School.

Rengga Akbar Munggaran
24 years old, 1th year Post Graduate student of Sociology in Universitas Indonesia. I am active in Centre for Women and Childhood Studies Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia to which examines gender, population and children issues in Indonesia. Now, I am active to help The Center of Research Community Service Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia to research Implementation Conflict Resolution in School.



This essay has been edited and modified for digital publication and reading easiness reasons.

These terms have been agreed upon by the writer (s).

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