So Lady Gaga is in the news again, this time for cancelling her show in Indonesia. That a rock star, pop star, whatever, cancels a show is now big deal, it really happens all the time. No, the reason for said cancellation is really the big kicker here. She cancelled the show in part because a vocal group, whether minority or majority doesn’t matter, threatened to shut down her show, boycott and confront her vocally and perhaps physically as well. The threats against her and against the liability of the safety of her audience prompted her to cancel her show in Jakarta all together. This of course was the right call, but why did she have to make it.
The United States holds up Indonesia as a beacon of how Islam and Democracy can go hand in hand. Are we sure this isn’t a smoke screen? Indonesia is the fourth most populous country on the Earth and their country is 88% Islam as far as religion goes. They claim to have no state religion, but they have a law criminalizing the defaming of Islam. Indonesia has only had freedom and democracy since 1998 with the end of General Suharto’s military dictatorship. This sudden vacuum that was replaced with real freedom also brought with it the seeds of muslim militarism and Islamic extremism. The world found that out the hard was with the 2002 bombings in Kuta on the island of Bali that killed over 200 people, the deadliest bombing in Indonesian history. Fast forward ten years and the rhetoric of the extremists is so bad that it is deemed unsafe for Gaga to hold her concert.
And yet, I don’t get how we hold up Indonesia as a bastion of Islamic wonderfulness. There are many other places that are great mixtures of religion, where all is tolerated, and you don’t live in fear of being beaten or killed by religious fanatics. Hey wait, America comes to mind. No kidding. In fact, I am positive that Lady Gaga has wandered into the Bible belt several times and has not faced execution nor has her concert been interrupted or stopped. That is right, she threw on a meat bikini and strapped a toaster to her forehead and wailed about being “born this way.” Now, hey to each his own, I’m not going to judge, well I’m not going to judge too much. I will judge a little because we all do, but even if I judge and make a frowny face followed by several derogatory comments, that is as far as it will go. I will not grab my gun, sword, or bomb and head for the nearest public place to make my displeasure into headlines. America tends to operate like this. Indonesia, not so much. If Indonesia wants to really be a bastion of liberty and freedom, a place where democracy can thrive, they would let Gaga have her concert and then throw a Gaga dress up party afterwards. the state would provide all the security and remove any disruptors. But, I guess Indonesia is more comfortable with lip service to democracy and the United States will give it the old wink wink. But do not be fooled, they are just another theocracy in the making.