Activists hold Democracy Fest to mobilise civil society to safeguard democracy

Source – February 9, 2024
Usman Hamid (centre) performing at Democracy Fest in Jakarta – February 8, 2024 (Democracy Fest)

Dani Prabowo, Jakarta – Activists and comic strip artists issued a declaration to safeguard democracy during a Democracy Fest event in Tebet, South Jakarta, on Thursday afternoon, February 8.

Gorong Royong for Prosperous and Inclusive Economy (Progresif) National Program Director Eka Sastra said that the event was to mobilise civil society to safeguard the values of democracy.

"This activity is an effort to safeguard the wheels of our history to remain in line with the ideals of the nation. We strongly support this activity because of its intention is to keep the republican railway on the rails of democracy and justice", said Sastra in a written release on Friday February 9.

Nationalist speeches were one of the main agenda items at the event. All of the activists gave their view on the current state of democracy and what steps need to be taken to safeguard it.

Criticism through the medium of humor was presented by a number of comic artists that had a similar commitment towards democracy, including Sammy Notaslimboy, David Nurbianto, Rahmet Ababil and Mega Salsabila.

Meanwhile criticism through music was presented by human rights activist and Amnesty International Indonesia Executive Director Usman Hamid, who appeared with the musical group Usman Hamid & The Blackstones.

Another activist, Centra Initiative Chairperson Al Araf, said that democracy in the era of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's administration is "on the horns of a dilemma".

"Currently democracy is on the horns of a dilemma, there even those who say that democracy is already dead, because the regime of the Jokowi administration has slowly but surely killed democracy and established a dynasty in the interests of one family", said Araf.

"Yet the founders of this republic would not be willing for this dynamic republic, which was built through a process of long struggle, to only be controlled by one family", he asserted.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Para Aktivis dan Komika Deklarasi Jaga Demokrasi: Agar Kereta Republik Tetap di Rel".]