Social Work at South Lampung, Starting Point to Conflict Resolution
Having experienced being activists during the May 1998 riot outbreak, the writers of this article understand the pain and suffering that the victims in South Lampung had to endure due to the riot that happened in late October 2012. The condition was similar to what the people of Chinese-Indonesian ethnic had to endure post mass amok in May 1998: they too did not dare to step out of their houses and had to suffer depression for a long time.
Intra-state conflict, in the form of ethnic violence, happened. However, this article will neither focus on the origin of the conflict nor the ongoing debates around it. Rather, this article aims to show the importance of the role of non-state agents, especially nongovernmental and nonprofit organizations (such as doctorSHARE), in reconciling the conflicting parties who tend to hold their grounds.
When conflicts and riots happen, the will power to destroy barriers among ourselves in the society seems to disappear without tracks. What remains is sector-induced egoism, provoking violent and terrifying actions – houses and schools were burnt, cars and public transports were ruined, and numerous lives murdered without justice.
Referring to the basic theory of Johan Galtung, a Norwegian sociologist, conflict resolution consists of three phases – peace making, peace keeping, and peace building.
Peace making is the agreement between conflicting parties to stop violence and it typically takes place at the elite level involving respective leaders. The effort towards peace making in South Lampung was evidenced by the signing of the peace agreement between the conflicting parties on 4 November 2012, and was further corroborated through the Peace Declaration which took place on 21 November 2012.
Peace keeping represents the effort to maintain peace so that the conflicting parties do not revert to using violence.
Peace building is the process of implementing social, political and economic changes (reconstructions) for the sake of continuing peace. In the process of peace building, society’s involvement, especially the role of nongovernmental and nonprofit organizations, is crucially important in manifesting social and economic justice in the field.
It is in implementing the function of peace building, that doctorSHARE (“Yayasan Dokter Peduli”, translated as Organization of Caring Doctors) initiatively takes a role to serve.
Witnessing the condition of the victims in South Lampung, doctorSHARE strongly feels the need for involvement from a third party who holds a neutral view in order to restore the confidence of those in conflict. It would then enable them to live their lives as they used to prior to the conflict. Peace building urgently needs to take place, starting from the simplest yet vital ground: society’s healthcare.
From the start, doctorSHARE has a vision to help individuals emerge from adversity. Seeing the conflict in South Lampung, doctorSHARE took initiative and conducted social volunteering work in the form of providing free medical treatments at the location where the conflict had occurred.
The purpose is to invite the people to come out from their respective residences to gather at a common venue where the social volunteering work was conducted so that they would interact with one another. By doing that, the remaining hatred and worry that they may have would slowly crumble in the long run. Simultaneously, this would help build their confidence so that they feel more equipped to work around their situation and emerge from their adversity.
As it turned out, the event solicited an unexpectedly high interest from the residents. People came in groups to the venue to get free medical treatments. The venue was held at the Sidoharjo Village, sub district of Way Panji, which is located at the border between the two conflicting villages.
This was to allow the people from both villages to come together and socialize. Despite the tension felt from people of both villages, this initiative serves as a means to bridge the gap between the conflicting parties and to diminish prejudices among them.
During the social volunteering event to provide free medical treatments, doctorSHARE partnered with “Korps Brimob Polri” (translated as the Indonesian police mobile brigade corps) in serving a total of 1.920 people. This number exceeded the target of 1.500 residents.
Even though they have to wait in long queues, the residents there, regardless of their races and ethnicity, remained enthusiastic and interacted with each other during their wait.
There were a total of ten doctors from doctorSHARE, four doctors from “Korps Brimob Polri”, eight doctors from the Lampung Department of Health, along with tens of other volunteers from different backgrounds, who came together and served the residents of South Lampung.
Five of the most common diseases found during examination and treatment in South Lampung were myalgia (muscle soreness), hypertension (high blood pressure), gastritis (stomach inflammation), cephalalgia (headache) and URI (Upper Respiratory Infection).
In addition to that, the team from doctorSHARE, which comprises mostly of young adults who are enthusiastic in helping others in need, also performed minor surgery for 20 residents who suffered from atheroma (three patients), paronychia or “naegel ekstraksi” (one patient), clavus (one patient) and lipoma (fifteen other patients).
Interestingly, doctorSHARE’s initiative in delivering free medical treatments in South Lampung was supported by government agents, whom were the “Korps Brimob Polri” and the Lampung Department of Health. This support was not only in the form of moral support or separate partnership, but rather, we partnered, collaborated and worked hand-in-hand in the field for the same cause.
This form of partnership and collaboration is certainly very positive. It can even serve as a precedent for other areas of conflict throughout the nation. The nongovernment and government agents do not need to take part separately. Nongovernment agents could take initiatives and if communicated properly with the government agents, the initiatives could induce well-formed partnerships towards reaching the same goal.
The theme of the free medical treatment event was “with love and partnership, we strive to attain true brotherhood and sisterhood in protecting the security of our nation”. Through this social volunteering work, doctorSHARE hopes that the conflicting parties would start to blend in and interact with one another for the purpose of continuing the process of peace building.
doctorSHARE is well aware that the peace building process is not as simple as turning the palm of a hand. It would require a long time because it is in this process that the roots of the conflicts can be resolved.
However, we believe that because this social volunteering work of providing free medical treatments touches the most basic aspect of life, that is the human health, it would serve as a building bridge towards conflict resolution.
doctorSHARE’s initiative, which was manifested in the field, emphasizes the importance of the role of nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations in resolving conflict. It is not to say impossible to make this model as the best practice of conflict resolution to be applied in the nation and in the world.
Another interesting point was that this free medical treatment event took place concurrently with the Peace Declaration which was attended by government officials and thousands of residents from South Lampung. The venue of the Peace Declaration (on 21 November 2012) was held close to the venue of our social volunteering work.
Even though we knew of no prior information regarding the Peace Declaration, it was not a coincidence that the timing of the social volunteering work of doctorSHARE, in partnership with “Korps Brimob Polri”, overlapped with the timing of the Peace Declaration.
The synergy to develop South Lampung to be safe, peaceful and prosperous region was becoming more apparent. As the residents witnessed the positive synergy, the feeling of security and peace would soon develop within them.
The synergy even became more apparent when the Governor of Lampung, Sjachroedin SP, visited the venue of the social volunteering work after he attended the Peace Declaration event. During his visit, the Governor interacted with the residents as well as showed appreciation towards the effort that doctorSHARE and “Korps Brimob Polri” had shown by providing free medical treatments for the residents of South Lampung.
Needless to say, there remain many outstanding works to be performed, not only by the nongovernmental and nonprofit organizations, but also by all parties involved including government agents and the residents of South Lampung themselves.
Despite needing time, we must continue to pursue the means of conflict resolution through ways that touch the most basic of human needs, as shown by the effort conducted by doctorSHARE, for the sake of achieving true peace.
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Lie is founder of doctorSHARE, head of the social volunteering team who provided free medical treatments in South Lampung.
Sylvie is member of doctorSHARE, field coordinator of the social volunteering work to provide free medical treatments in South Lampung.