Are you a Soekarno lover? If yes, you should watch/listen the LSE Public lecture about “Growth Challenges in Fragile States” . In this lecture, the second speaker Prof. Sir Paul Collier (Oxford University) praised the way how Soekarno (Indonesia’s first President) built Indonesia despite the fact that this nation is an enormous fragmented society (maybe the most fragmented society in the world). Paul said what Soekarno did was “an amazing achievement!” (minute 54).

How did Soekarno build Indonesia? Theoretically, based on this lecture, He successfully shifted Indonesia’s different identities (religions, ethnics, languages, etc.) toward the power. I think Pancasila (the five pillars) and Indonesian language play the most significant role as the national identities. In contrast, Indonesia is currently not doing what Soekarno did. Indonesia now adopts decentralisation and power sharing since 1999 by shifting the power toward different identities. Paul argues that this process is quicker than the first one (the Soekarno’s way).

In short,  this is a very interesting and helpful lecture in building understanding how to effectively create and maintain national identities in a very fragmented country, like Indonesia: the world’s largest muslim democracy. Without a strong national identity, it is extremely difficult for a country to reach its glory.

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