Perspectives and Fear
Black Panther is an ongoing film with so many things to discuss. People often talks about Black movement et cetera. I find it interesting to dissect the characters, especially the lead and the antagonist.
T'Challa was an African descent. Raised in the protective world of Wakanda. As a Wakandan, he was born with the original environment. He would only see every other African tribes as his neighbour.
It is natural that he would have a view like the view of a Scotsman would to an Englishman. He would feel distinctive between his five tribes with the Zulu and the Ethiopian. They are not being viewed as brothers, but as neighbors that could possess national threat.
For me in Indonesia, it is like Indonesian and Malaysian would feel at each other. Both country would sometimes bring national issue and try to be hostiled at each other.
We would feel that we inherit different cultures. The language, national anthem and so on is different. While at it, Indonesian was free from the Dutch and the Malaysian is one of the British.
Yeah, it is ridiculous if we look as an outsider. I mean, both Indonesia and Malaysia is Malayan descendants. Both also having Chinese, Indian, Arab and so on. We also have the same root language in Malayan. Some of the cultures even overlapped with each other.
But, hey, sometimes we need a common enemy. That's why, N'Jadaka felt different.
N'Jadaka (a.k.a. Erik Killmonger) was an African diaspore. He was born with a washout identity. He never felt home on the land when he was born. He was raised without any original culture.
He was born in a melting pot where skin color is the differentiator. In that melting pot, he would love to identify all of the Blacks as his own. He didn't see African descent as tribes, he only see African American as his tribe.
And because he was in CIA special-op, he experienced how Black diaspore communities was on the bottom in almost all parts of the world.
That, with the heart of a weary young man who found his father dead for no reason, built his character. He felt connected with people in the same color.
As a Bataknese, I also felt that is also what is going on with many Diaspora. I see my tribemen in its origin would make different attitude than their counterpart.
As a Bataknese in Diaspora, I would often get help from fellow Diaspore. I'm a Rajagukguk Aritonang, but a Simbolon would gladly lend a hand. Everywhere we go, just because we are a fellow Bataknese, we feel we are brothers.
Oh, btw, Bataknese have their family tree intact. I could find a Simbolon in one of the leaf.
Fractures in Homeland
T'Challa is a mirror on my Bataknese homeland.
When I visited Toba Lake, North Sumatera, I saw fractures. I saw they would see us cynically. At one point, when I visitted a gift shop, I got cold shoulder. I was going to spend a sum of money at that day. But, because of the attitude, I stopped shopping.
It didn't happen quite often as I write. But, the fracture is there. Perhaps, they might feel bitterness of how the successful Diaspores would built tomb monuments instead of fixing their place.
In film, we would support Erik. In real life, so many would love to support T'challa. We see how many far-right factions accross the globe gaining supports. Even here in Indonesia, elitist of certain part of a major religion tried to divide Indonesian for gaining support.
That's why Black Panther really pose a question that needs hard answer. Answer that would not be solved easily. But, it is an answer that many should be answering.
How would we open ourselves?
In the advent of global economy, borders become thinner. Nations no longer sovereigns. Merchants (mega corporations) becoming rulers.
The first mega corporation was V.O.C. at the old time. Now, we have Amazon as global stores. IBM, Apple, Nike, Honda, etc building things offshores and sell it to many countries.
These corporations would pick countries with the better incentives to put their production. Many countries now even now beg at their mercy and compete just to become the cheapest bidder.
They would put their funds on many tax havens.
Here I wonder, is tax the only way to build infrastructure? Ahok gives a clever solution with CSR to build Jakarta infrastructure. Jokowi made Toll-based high ways just to entice corporations to build infrastructure.
Anyway, corporations with the power to influence national interests really made us rethink, are we really that different anymore?
I don't want to wait until the advent of A.I. just to come with the answer.
Nationalism vs Internationalism
I can see that Wakanda becomes like Indonesia. Especially, in peace keeping.
Indonesian founding father put internationalism as one of the base -- known as Pancasila, five base points. I think that's why Indonesia is a successful melting pot despite all the drama.
Indonesia stated in its introduction to state law that it was against any of colonization.
That's why, when nations divided in cold war between the East and West, we stand as Neutral.
Unfortunately, we are not strong enough to stand as Neutrals. History wrote each Neutral countries getting shot down and replaced by different reggimes.
But, hey, at least Indonesia once becomes a force that bridging those two.
The unique Indonesian culture as a melting pot also became apperent in our Garuda Peacekeeping Army. We are accepted from Yom Kipur, Sinai, Quwait-Iraq, Iraq-Iran, Bosnia, etc.
Perhaps, we often have the same religion. Perhaps, we have the stand of humble people. Of how our culture always try to accept every people with humility and respect.
Like Obama said, Indonesia should've teach the world about becoming a melting pot.
I think the solution of this world's problem is melting pots. Too few of them. There are too many tribalism in this world.
People who would care are ones that live in those melting pot.
But, to open up is not without a risk. Some old wound in old generation would find its way to terrorize civil order. Would a society that starts to open up have the ability to forgive?
The London Bombing and so on....
Would the world cower to isolation and tribalism or we try to embrace that wounded.
No answer is easy. We need time to heal up. And its duration isn't short.