Addie MS and Djarot Syaiful Hidayat lead the choir at the Jakarta City Hall in order to support Basuki Tjahaja Purnama on Wednesday (10/05) (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Jakarta Residents Sing National Anthem and Pray in Show of Solidarity With Ahok


MAY 10, 2017

Jakarta. Dressed in red and white, Jakarta residents arrived at the City Hall on Wednesday morning (10/05) to sing the national anthem, led by conductor and composer Addie MS, in a show of solidarity with Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama.

In a controversial blasphemy trial, the North Jakarta Court on Tuesday sentenced Ahok to two years in prison.

Since a highly divisive gubernatorial election on April 19, which saw Ahok losing, people have been coming to the City Hall, bringing flowers, singing, expressing their gratitude to the incumbent governor.

Addie, who directs the internationally renowned Twilite Orchestra, was inspired by the show of sympathy.

"Last week, I was passing this area and heard people singing patriotic songs. Then I thought why don't we gather and sing together?" he told reporters, adding that the guilty verdict further heightened the urgency to hold the event.

"We spread the word through WhatsApp. I asked a member of Twilite Orchestra to make an invitation. Two hours later, many people said they'll come to join us. I was really touched ... It is a spontaneous event, like a rally, but we are singing to convey our message," he said.

Although showing solidarity with Ahok was the initial idea, Addie said, the event turned out to serve a much bigger purpose — restoring the unity of Indonesia.

"The focus has shifted. It is not only about Ahok, but also the recent issues that created divisive tensions among us. My concern is how to preserve the essence of Pancasila and our Bhinneka Tungga Ika [unity in diversity]," Addie said.

The morning rally began with the national anthem, "Indonesia Raya," followed by several other popular patriotic songs.

"Hopefully, these songs will revive our spirit and unite Indonesia through music," Addie said.

Jakarta Deputy Governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat, Ahok's running mate in the recent election, joined the second round of the sing-along.

He thanked the huge crowd for supporting Ahok.

"Last night, I met with Ahok. He told me to request that you respect the court's decision, even though the fight is not over," he said amid loud cheers.

"We have to accept it gracefully. The court will be held responsible not only in the face of the society but also to God," Djarot said, adding that by singing people voice their demand for justice.

The peaceful rally in solidarity with the Christian governor convicted for blasphemy against Islam ended with a long Muslim prayer.