Commoners (still) Always Defeated
Yes, after more than a year she breathed in the free air, suddenly Rasminah received an exasperating news; the Supreme Court had given a judgment for the grandmother of one, with a four-month-and-ten-day sentence. The Supreme Court judgment stated that Rasminah had been confirmed by evidence to violate Article 362 of Penal Code regarding theft. The judgment invalidated the Court of First Instance Tangerang order no. 1364/Pid.B/2010/PN.TNG, December 2010, which released Rasminah from sentences.
Before Rasminah, we used to be served with similar cases, such as cacao fruit theft by an elderly woman (whose name was almost similar, Minah) in Banyumas, Central Java, and a-pair-of-thongs theft by a young boy, Aal, in Palu, Central Sulawesi. And the massive one that won the attention from the public was Prita Mulyasari against an international class hospital.
We definitely cannot differ small from big cases in front of the laws, but it often hurts the public’s sense of justice. When legal decision is made based on formal regulation, it sometimes disregards substance and conscience. Even, many of us found law-enforcement officers making collusion with big players.
I remember a song by Iwan Fals, which analogizes the commoners with bemo (small, old minivan for public transportation) and a pair of thongs, “Besar dan Kecil” (the big ones and the small ones). Like thongs, the commoners always become an object to step on, squeezed, belittled, and thrown away. The cases above are the facts we cannot avoid from our sight. How could we? The prosecutor in Rasminah case, for example, seems unwilling to see the penniless mother breathes in the free air, though previously Rasminah had experienced the cold detention cell at Ciputat Sector Police Station and Tangerang Penitentiary for a couple of months prior to her trial.
Meanwhile, corruptors who had swallowed billions and even trillions of people’s money are let loose from the reasons of ‘being cooperative’ and ‘not going to destroy evidence’. Moreover, they give some of them permission to leave the jail only to watch a tennis match and go on vacation in the Island of Gods, Bali.
Can we still say, “respect the ongoing legal process”, while the law-enforcement officers are committing law-violating and disrespectful actions?
Do you know, the poor people will get poorer when they have to deal with legal matters? Wouldn’t they be? Astuti, Rasminah’s daughter lost her home as she could not pay the rent when her mother was imprisoned. The elderly Mrs. Minah in Banyumas also had to borrow money here and there for her transportation to the trials.
Dompet Dhuafa had once collaborated with Yayasan Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Indonesia (YLBHI, Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation) to raise public fund for the commoners, whose position is always weak when dealing with legal cases. Surely, it is merely our small effort to help the lowly people to face legal matters. Because we realize, that the lowly people are vulnerable. The poor crowd will be poorer even more when standing before the law. They always lose, just like the thongs, they are always under pressure and squeezed. We hope, in the future we can play more important role to defend common people’s legal rights. Not to always win the commoners of course, but to gain justice they deserve.
Kau seperti bis kota atau truk gandengan – You are like the city bus or double-trailer truck
Mentang-mentang paling besar klakson sembarangan – You’re the biggest, thundering honks, my ears are struck
Aku seperti bemo atau sendal jepit – I am like a minivan or a pair of thongs
Tubuhku kecil mungil biasa terjepit – I’m teeny tiny get squeezed so usually
Pada siapa ku mengadu? – Where should I complain to?
Pada siapa ku bertanya? – Whom should I ask?
Mengapa Besar selalu menang? – Why the Big always wins?
Bebas berbuat sewenang-wenang? – Free to do arbitrary sins?