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Freedom of Expression, Dare You?

International Youth Day Celebration 2012


Jakarta, Indonesia, 12th of August 2012 Youth Rights Festival, School of Human Rights KontraS, and Youth Voices Against Corruption@clubSPEAK

Blur. One word that may be quickly reflexes when we talk about freedom of expression. In the condition of our country Indonesia nowadays: therere so many incidents regarding annihilation of diversity and independency, the incidents which are violated the human rights are ironically happened even by the State as the actor State, as a golden structure of sovereignty that still having the responsibility of protecting Human Rights as well as wrote and signed on the International Bill of Human Rights that meets human rights including the right to freedom of expression. Talk about young people, a generation who has nothing to do besides bitching issue with a tweet or facebook status-load against many things such as: traffic jam, banned websites, or the expensive price of book because the country taxs corrupted? Is there any true-story tells what young people do to indicate, fought for, and of course express the right as individuals. Defend human rights and certainly to get their freedom of expression? Yes, there is. Regardless the blurry topic of Freedom of Expression, the number of young people from Youth Rights Festival, School of Human Rights KontraS, and Youth Voices Against Corruption (ClubSPEAK)

Indonesia were initiated a collaborative event to celebrate the International Youth Day that fell on 12th of August 2012. Housed in the headquarter of The Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) event held in simple way yet youthful and complete with a spirit of making difference that worth to be happened. Publication of the event that allegedly relies only through social media turned out to be quite potent and effective heard by young people attending and participate in this event. Quite large numbers of participants were posted the post-it of expression on the Black-Board not far from the entrance as a condition of registration of participants as well as an act reflected the freedom of expression. The event starts at 4 PM, divided into 2 sessions and hosted by an MC Poppi from Youth Rights Festival. The first session begins with a greeting from youth-representatives from Youth Rights Festival (Muthia) and School of Human Rights KontraS (Malik), spliced with Film Screenings KvsK (We VS Corruption) SsstDont Tell Anybody by ClubSPEAK. After that, there was also a music performance by Youth Rights Festival and School of Human Rights KontraS that cheering up the atmosphere in that great afternoon. Importantly, there was also a sharing-session by 3 different communities regarding their experiences related to the freedom of expression, especially the ups and downs of doing the campaign about this cause. The first session successfully warmed up the get to know each other phase of this event! Entered the second session, the discussion casually joined by young highly experienced activists talk about freedom of expression, they were: Usman Hamid (Change.org), Savic Ali (Voice+ Magazine), and Mirwan Andan (Fine Art-Space) continued very interesting. After listening to a short exposure of those speakers, the communication was directed by two sides (speakers and audiences) entwined and lasts long enough yet full of excitement. Some of participants in the event also share a fun story or asking questions to the speaker make time flies so fast until we were passed out the Adzan Maghrib which is the time for break-fasting. Though just by a simple typically meals for break-fasting, it all feels so special when there is a sense of belonging between all of us in this celebration.

At the end of the event, there was also a human rights-themed poemsmusical and acoustic performance by bandThe Candies: (performed by young people who dare to express themselves with their skill).

At a glance, Freedom of Expression, Dare You? might be seen as just a ceremonial event that took the momentum of International Youth Day and may also have been done with the similar things by another groups of youth outside. However, the good news is, it was signified how much concern of young people was indirectly connected in a small agenda named International Youth Day. This is a proof that young people especially young people in Indonesia is still highspirited struggling to stand up for human rights, not only for themselves but also for their fellows. Sit down on silent, or rise against. Because silent is betrayal, in the era of reform, the sentence above quoted from a poem which became the gasoline of the spirit of youth in 1998 in welcoming the era of reform which called Democracy. Today, the reform era weve spent through 14 years. Life (should) be free from the shackles of freedom to express, as a result of our freedom against the authoritarian power of the King in the darkness before 1998. Hopefully now and in the future, young people can continue, continue, and continue to breathe as well as stating the spirit of reform. The spirit was built because our consciousness toward freedom of expression, and also the realization that shows how we are all connected to support human rights. [Ninies & Malik]