Friday, June 30, 2006

MASJID SALMAN ITB, TONGGAK ARSITEKTUR MASJID KONTEMPORER DI INDONESIA

oleh Bambang Setia Budi


Bangunan masjid ini layak disebut sebagai satu tonggak arsitektur masjid paling penting bagi pembaruan bangunan masjid-masjid d
i Indonesia. Tonggak itu dapat dilihat pada upaya pembebasan diri dari tradisi dengan ditinggalkannya (hampir) secara total penggunaan idiom-idiom klasik seperti atap tumpang/tajuk pada masjid-tradisional atau kubah yang sering dianggap sebagai idiom universal dari masjid.





Masjid Salman ITB – Menjadi satu tonggak paling penting arsitektur masjid kontemporer di Indonesia karena totalitasnya dalam upaya pembebasan dari tradisi. (Foto: Bambang Setia Budi)



Sebutan mas
jid kontemporer, atau bisa juga modernistik/kiwari merujuk pada rancangan bangunan masjid yang berupaya membebaskan diri dari tradisi, atau paling tidak mere-interpretasi atas bahasa/ungkapan arsitektur yang telah ada/sudah lazim serta berkembang sebelumnya. Wacana desain arsitektur masjid modern oleh para perancang/arsitek masjid saat ini, memang sudah semestinya dilakukan dengan mere-interpretasi ungkapan-ungkapan lama atau bahkan pembebasan tradisi dalam makna pembaruan yang terus menerus.

Masjid Salman yang dirancang pada tahun 1964 oleh Achmad Noe`man ini, tampaknya telah mampu memecahkan kesunyian penciptaan karya arsitektur masjid-masjid di Indonesia selama hampir lebih dari lima setengah abad. Di sinilah letak monumentalitasnya, artinya karakteristik dan perwujudan dari gagasan bentuk dan ekspresi arsitekturalnya, jelas telah merombak pola-pola lama dalam perwujudan bentuk dan ekspresi masjid-masjid di Indonesia yang telah ada sebelumnya.

Gagasan-gag
asan totalitas dalam pembebasan tradisi tersebut, termasuk dalam pengambilan pilihan material, teknik dan teknologi membangun masjid pada saat itu, tampaknya menjadi `sangat konstekstual` jika dilihat dari keberadaannya sebagai masjid kampus yang sudah sewajarnya penuh dinamika dan sumber pembaharuan. Jelaslah, ia telah hadir secara tepat dalam konteks ruang dan waktunya.

Bahkan nama Salman itu sendiri - yang diberikan oleh Soekarno sebagai salah seorang sarjana lulusan Teknik Sipil ITB dan merupakan presiden RI pada waktu itu - cocok dengan bangunan masjid dan bagi lingkungan kampusnya, Institut Teknologi Bandung. Nama Salman merujuk pada seorang teknokrat brilian sahabat Nabi asal Persia Salman Al-Farisi yang mengusulkan gagasan menggali tanah pada perang khandaq (parit) sehingga menjadi salah satu kunci keberhasilan dalam menahan serangan musuh pada waktu itu.

***

Faktor penting dalam gagasan pembaruan tradisi berarsitektur, bisa saja lahir dari suatu pemikiran atau pandangan baru yang mendasar dan diyakini secara mendalam pada diri perancang kemudian diterapkan dengan kaidah-kaid
ah baru sesuai keyakinannya. Pada konteks ini, tentu yang dimaksud adalah gagasan baru yang berkaitan dengan arsitektur Islam pada umumnya dan arsitektur masjid khususnya. Jika ditelaah lebih jauh, maka pemikiran modern memang sangat terlihat dalam beberapa tulisan maupun pernyataan arsiteknya.

Satu hal dari pemikiran sang arsitek yang paling mendasari perwujudan bangunan itu adalah penentangannya terhadap sikap `taqlid` (imitasi) yakni menerima tanpa dimengerti dalam segala persoalan. Terlebih imitasi dalam dunia desain/arsitektur, tentu sesuatu yang sangat tidak dibenarkan, sehingga pintu ijtihad untuk menghasilkan gagasan-gagasan baru harus selalu dibuka lebar-lebar. Arsitek harus selalu berijtihad dengan ilmu pengetahuan untuk menghasilkan karya-karya yang `excellent`, kreatif dan inovatif sehingga menjadi karya budaya yang bermanfaat bagi diri sendiri dan umat.

Menurutnya, tidak ada yang disebut sebagai arsitektur Islam sepanjang suatu ide atau karya tidak mengikuti secara ketat disiplin ilmu arsitektur. Sebab tidak ada satu aturan pun di dalam Al-Qur`an maupun hadits Nabi yang mengharuskan bentuk dan ekspresi bangunan harus mengikuti sesuatu. Terlebih jika mengikuti tuntunan hadits yang diriwayatkan Imam Bukhari: “Dan apabila suatu itu merupakan urusan duniamu, maka engkaulah yang lebih mengetahuinya (berhak menentukannya)”, maka muncullah keyakinan bahwa para desainer-lah yang paling berhak menentukan dan menterjemahkannya ke dalam perancangan tanpa harus terikat pada pemikiran-pemikiran tradisi dan budaya sebelumnya.

Pandangan t
erhadap ungkapan-ungkapan arsitektural dari landasan-landasan kelaziman maupun tradisi, jelas telah bergeser kepada interpretasi individual yang bebas. Ini yang menyebabkan gagasan bentuk dan ekspresi masjid tersebut jauh meninggalkan tradisi perwujudan masjid-masjid sebelumnya di Indonesia. Dari sinilah latar kehadiran sebuah karya arsitektur masjid Salman dapat dimengerti.

Yang paling
monumental pada masjid ini sehingga kehadirannya begitu mencolok yang membedakan dengan yang lainnya adalah pada penampilan bentuk atap masjidnya. Pada saat sebagian besar atap masjid-masjid di Indonesia lainnya berbentuk atap tumpang, kubah, atau kombinasi dari keduanya, maka masjid ini didesain dengan menggunakan atap datar yang setiap ujung atapnya berbentuk melengkung hingga menyerupai sebuah mangkok terbuka.



Eksterior – Ungkapan bentuk dan ekspresi bangunannya (terutama atap), jelas tidak mudah untuk dipahami oleh masyarakat umum sebagai bangunan masjid (Foto: Bambang Setia Budi)




Gagasan bentuk dan ekspresi atap seperti itulah yang paling memperlihatkan orisinalitasnya karena ketiadaan contoh dan rujukan sejarah pada atap bangunan masjid di Indonesia. Ia juga telah mampu menegaskan kembali orientasi yang benar (kiblat), sehingga tidak lagi terjadi dualisme dengan arah vertikal sebagaimana ekspresi atap masjid-masjid di Nusantara sebelumnya.

Menurut sang arsitek, bentuk atap beton yang menggunakan balok beton prestressed dalam grid dua arah yang membentang 25 meter tersebut diinspirasikan dari bentuk negatif atap bangunan Aula Timur – yang menjadi ciri khas atap-atap bangunan k
ampus ITB – di seberang jalan. Lengkungan atap sebenarnya bukan sekadar mengejar ekspresi bentuk semata, tetapi juga berfungsi sebagai talang besar bagi aliran air dari atap datarnya.

Dengan menggunakan balok beton prestressed untuk solusi struktur bentang lebar ini, maka dip
erolehlah ruang shalat yang luas namun bebas kolom yang selalu menjadi salah satu ciri penting masjid rancangan Achmad Noe`man. Masjid inilah yang telah menjadi masjid pertama dalam penggunaan teknik dan teknologi seperti itu di Indonesia. Hal tersebut bisa terjadi tentu karena kemajuan teknologi yang memungkinkannya.

Namun, bentuk dan ekspresi seperti itu tampaknya telah menimbulkan keragaman berbagai interpretasi bagi banyak pengamat seperti sebagai abstraksi bentuk telapak tangan yang sedang `berdoa` yang menengadah ke atas atau sebuah `mangkok` bagi ilmu, berkah dan rizki. Dan jika dihubungkan dengan menaranya, bentuk ini bisa juga diinterpretasikan sebagai bentuk huru
f `ba` yang mengawali kata `bait` artinya rumah, sedangkan menara `menhir`-nya sebagai huruf alif yang mengawali kata `Allah`, sehingga secara keseluruhan berarti `bait Allah` atau rumah Allah.

Yang jelas bahasa atap ini tidak serta merta mudah dipahami oleh sebagian besar masyarakat di Indonesia sebagai bangunan masjid jika dilihat dari eksteriornya. Maka adanya menara di sebelah ujung bagian timur ruang terbuka masjid telah membantu masyarakat mengenalinya sebagai masjid. Elemen menara yang berbentuk menhir dan didesain serasi dengan bentuk masjidnya tersebut memang akhirnya menjadi satu-satunya penanda fisik dari sisi luar bahwa bangunan tersebut adalah masjid. Menara itu juga berfungsi untuk memperluas jangkauan suara adzan dan menjadi landmark kawasan Masjid Salman.











Mihrab
– Ruangan mihrab yang dibentuk oleh dinding lengkung dengan tekstur dinding kasar (beton brut). Di atasnya digantung kotak hitam sebagai miniatur ka`bah sebagai aksentuasi (Foto: Indra Yudha).



***

Meski atapnya datar, rancangan masjid ini tetap dianggap cukup berhasil dan tanggap terh
adap iklim tropis, terutama ditunjukkan dengan detail-detail talang air hujan, penggunaan ventilasi silang yang sangat baik dan adanya koridor yang lebar baik di samping kanan, kiri, maupun sebelah timur ruang utama shalat. Koridor-koridor tersebut telah berfungsi menjadi pengganti `overstek` dan sebagai ruang transisi dari ruang luar ke ruang dalam masjid.

Yang menarik dari transisi ini adalah timbulnya kejutan ruang yang dinamis akibat adanya ruang koridor timur yang didesain dengan ketinggian rendah - karena adanya mezanin sebagai tempat shalat wanita – dengan skala monumental yang dirasakan ketika mulai memasuki ruang shalat utama.

Selain kejutan ruang itu, suasana di dalam ruang shalat utama yang berbentuk persegi itu me
mang sangat berbeda jika dibandingkan dengan di luar bangunan. Di saat bangunan luar berkesan berat dan dingin karena dari beton, suasana di dalam ruang shalat terasa sangat hangat, akrab dan nyaman karena didominasi pemakaian material kayu jati ekspos baik pada lantai, dinding, dan plafon serta efek lampu temaram yang secara dramatis keluar dari balik persembunyiannya.


Lampu Tersembunyi – Efek cahaya lampu yang dramatis keluar dari celah-celah pertemuan kayu menambah hangat suasana ruangan masjid (Foto: Indra Yudha).




Karakteristik lainnya yang tak kalah penting dari rancangan masjid kontemporer ini adalah kuatnya pengaruh modernisme atau langgam `The International Style` pada berbagai perwujudan fisiknya. Hal ini bisa dilihat pada penggunaan bentuk-bentuk kubikal/volumetrik, simplisitas/minimalis, fungsionalisme, prinsip kejujuran material dan struktur, penekanan pada detail-detail dan tanpa ornamen.

Pemisahan antara elemen kolom dengan dinding, permainan solid-void, dan detail-detail peralihan bahan sangat jelas memperlihatkan prinsip-prinsip kejujuran material maupun strukturnya. Sedangkan gagasan volumetrik, bentuk-bentuk lengkung, `sculptural effect` dan bahkan penggunaan beton brut pada mihrab, telah secara khusus mengingatkan pada idiom-idiom `Corbuesque` sebagaimana yang tercermin pada bangunan Chapel Notre-Dome-du Haut di Ronchamp, Perancis karya monumental sang maestro Arsitektur Modern Le Corbusier.

****

Published @Kompas, 5 Januari 2003
Catatan: artikel ini mendapatkan penghargaan
dari KIMPRASWIL di Jakarta sebagai artikel favorit yang telah terpublikasi tentang bangunan tahun 2003.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

The World is Flat


Too Frustrated

One of the unintended consequences of the flat world is that it puts different societies and cultures in much greater direct contact with one another. It connects people to people much faster than people and cultures can often prepare themselves. Some cultures thrive on the sudden opportunities for collaboration that this global intimacy makes possible. Others are threatened, frustrated, and even humiliated by this close contact, which, among other things, makes it very easy for people to see where they stand in the world vis-a-vis everyone else. All of this helps to explain the emergence of one of the most dangerous unflattening forces today-the suicide bombers of al-Qaeda and the other Islamist terror organizations, who are coming out of the Muslim world and Muslim communities in Europe.

The Arab-Muslim world is a vast, diverse civilization, encompassing over one billion people and stretching from Morocco to Indonesia and from Nigeria all the way to the suburbs of London. It is very dangerous to generalize about such a complex religious community, made up of so many different ethnicities and nationalities. But one need only look at the headlines in any day's newspaper to appreciate that a lot of anger and frustration seems to be bubbling over from the Muslim world in general and from the Arab-Muslim world in particular, where many young people seem to be agitated by a combination of issues. One of the most obvious is the festering Arab-Israeli conflict, and the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and East Jerusalem—a grievance which has a powerful emotional hold on the Arab-Muslim imagination and has long soured relations with America and the West.

But this is not the only reason for the brewing anger in these communities. This anger also has to do with the frustration of Arabs and Muslims at having to live, in many, many cases, under authoritarian governments, which not only deprive their people of a voice in their own future, but have deprived tens of millions of young people in particular of opportunities to achieve their full potential through good jobs and modern schools. The fact that the flat world enables people to so easily compare their circumstances with others only sharpens their frustrations.

Some of these Arab-Muslim young men and women have chosen to emigrate in order to find opportunities in the West; others have chosen to suffer in silence at home, hoping for some kind of change. The most powerful journalistic experiences I have had since 9/11 have been my encounters in the Arab world with some of these young people. Because my column with my picture runs in Arabic in the leading pan-Arab newspaper, the London-based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, and because I often appear on Arab satellite-television news programs, many people in that part of the world know what I look like. I have been amazed by the number of young Arabs and Muslims-men and women-who have come up to me on the streets of Cairo or in the Arabian Gulf since 9/11, and said to me what one young man in Al-Azhar mosque did one Friday, after noon prayer: "You're Friedman, aren't you?"

I nodded yes.

"Keep writing what you're writing," he said. And what he meant was writing about the importance of bringing more freedom of thought, expression, and opportunity to the Arab-Muslim world, so its young people can realize their potential.

Unfortunately, though, these progressive young people are not the ones defining the relationship betweeen the Arab-Muslim community and the world at large today. Increasingly, that relationship is being dominated by, and defined by, religious militants and extremists, who give vent to the frustrations in that part of the world by simply lashing out. The question that I want to explore in this section is: What produced this violent Islamist fringe, and why has it found so much passive support in the Arab-Muslim world today-even though, I am convinced, the vast majority there do not share the violent agenda of these groups or their apocalyptic visions?

The question is relevant to a book about the flat world for a very simple reason: Should there be another attack on the United States of the magnitude of 9/11, or worse, walls would go up everywhere and the flattening of the world would be set back for a long, long time.

That, of course, is precisely what the Islamists want.

When Muslim radicals and fundamentalists look at the West, they see only the openness that makes us, in their eyes, decadent and promiscuous . They see only the openness that has produced Britney Spears and Janet Jackson. They do not see, and do not want to see, the openness- the freedom of thought and inquiry-that has made us powerful, the openness that has produced Bill Gates and Sally Ride. They deliberately define it all as decadence. Because if openness, women's empowerment, and freedom of thought and inquiry are the real sources of the West's economic strength, then the Arab-Muslim world would have to change. And the fundamentalists and extremists do not want to change.

To beat back the threat of openness, the Muslim extremists have, quite deliberately, chosen to attack the very thing that keeps open societies open, innovating, and flattening, and that is trust. When terrorists take instruments from our daily lives-the car, the airplane, the tennis shoe, the cell phone-and turn them into weapons of indiscriminate violence, they reduce trust. We trust when we park our car downtown in the morning that the car next to it is not going to blow up; we trust when we go to Disney World that the man in the Mickey Mouse outfit is not wearing a bomb-laden vest underneath; we trust when we get on the shuttle flight from Boston to New York that the foreign student seated next to us isn't going to blow up his tennis shoes. Without trust, there is no open society, because there are not enough police to patrol every opening in an open society. Without trust, there can also be no flat world, because it is trust that allows us to take down walls, remove barriers, and eliminate friction at borders. Trust is essential for a flat world, where you have supply chains involving ten, a hundred, or a thousand people, most of whom have never met face-to-face. The more open societies are exposed to indiscriminate terrorism, the more trust is removed, and the more open societies will erect walls and dig moats instead.

The founders of al-Qaeda are not religious fundamentalists per se. That is, they are not focused simply on the relationship between themselves and God, and on the values and cultural norms of the religious community. They are a political phenomenon more than a religious one. I like to call them Islamo-Leninists. I use the term "Leninists" to convey the utopian-totalitarian vision of al-Qaeda as well its self-image. As al-Qaeda's chief ideologist, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has put it, al-Qaeda is the ideological vanguard, whose attacks on the United States and other Western targets are designed to mobilize and energize the Muslim masses to rise up against their own corrupt rulers, who are propped up by America. Like all good Leninists, the Islamo-Leninists are certain that the Muslim masses are deeply dissatisfied with their lot and that one or two spectacular acts of jihad against the "pillars of tyranny" in the West will spark them to overthrow the secularizing, immoral, and unjust Arab-Muslim regimes that have defiled Islam. In their place, the Islamo-Leninists, however, do not want to establish a workers' paradise but rather a religious paradise. They vow to establish an Islamic state across the same territory that Islam ruled over at its height, led by a caliph, a supreme religious-political leader, who would unite all the Muslim peoples into a single community.

Islamo-Leninism, in many ways, emerged from the same historical context as the radical European ideologies of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Fascism and Marxist-Leninism grew out of the rapid industrialization and modernization of Germany and Central Europe, where communities living in tightly bonded villages and extended families suddenly got shattered and the sons and fathers went off to the urban areas to work for big industrial companies. In this age of transitions, young men in particular lost a sense of identity, rootedness, and personal dignity that had been provided by traditional social structures. In that vacuum, along came Hitler, Lenin, and Mussolini, who told these young men that they had an answer for their feelings of dislocation and humiliation: You may not be in the village or small town anymore, but you are still proud, dignified members of a larger community-the working class, or the Aryan nation.

Bin Laden offered the same sort of ideological response for young Arabs and Muslims. The first person to recognize the Islamo-Leninist character of these 9/11 hijackers-that they were not fundamentalists but adherents of an extreme, violent political cult-was Adrian Karatnycky, the president of Freedom House. In a November 5, 2001, article in the National Review, titled "Under Our Very Noses," Karatnycky makes the following argument: "The key hijackers... were well-educated children of privilege. None of them suffered first-hand economic privation or political oppression." And none of them seem to have been raised in a particularly fundamentalist household. Indeed, the top 9/11 operatives and pilots, like Mohammed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi, who shared an apartment in Hamburg, where they both attended the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg, all seem to have been recruited to al-Qaeda through cells and prayer groups-after they moved to Europe.

None of these plotters was recruited in the Middle East and then planted in Europe years in advance by bin Laden, notes Karatnycky. To the contrary, virtually all of them seem to have lived in Europe on their own, grown alienated from the European society around them, gravitated to a local prayer group or mosque to find warmth and solidarity, undergone a "born-again" conversion, gotten radicalized by Islamist elements, gone off for training in Afghanistan, and presto, a terrorist was born. Their discovery of religion was not just part of a personal search for meaning. It went far beyond fundamentalism. They converted Islam into a political ideology, a religious totalitarianism. Had the 9/11 hijackers been students at Berkeley in the early 1970's, they would have been Trotskyite radicals. "To understand the September 11 terrorists, we should have in mind the profile of the classic revolutionary: deracinated, middle class, shaped in part by exile. In other words, the image of Lenin in Zurich; or of Pol Pot or Ho Chi Minh in Paris... For them Islamism is the new universal revolutionary creed, and bin Laden is Sheikh Guevara," writes Karatnycky. "Like the leaders of America's Weather Underground, Germany's Baader-Meinhof Gang, Italy's Red Brigades, and Japan's Red Army Faction, the Islamic terrorists were university-educated converts to an all-encompassing neo-totalitarian ideology."

My friend Abdallah Schleifer, a journalism professor in Cairo, actually knew Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden's number two and chief ideologue, when al-Zawahiri was a young doctor on his way to becoming a young neo-Leninist Muslim revolutionary. "Ayman was attracted from the time he was a teenager into a Utopian vision of an Islamic state," Schleifer told me on a visit to Cairo. But instead of being drawn to the traditional concern of religion-the relationship between oneself and God-al-Zawahiri became drawn to religion as a political ideology. Like a good Marxist or Leninist, al-Zawahiri was interested in "building the Kingdom of God on earth," said Schleifer, and Islamism became his Marxism-his "utopian ideology." And where Mohammed Atta meets al-Zawahiri is the intersection where rage and humiliation meet the ideology that is going to make it all right. "Ayman is saying to someone like Mohammed Atta, 'You see injustice? We have a system-a system, mind you, a system-that will give you [justice], not a religion, because religion gives you inner peace.' It doesn't necessarily solve any social problem. But [al-Zawahiri] is saying we have a system that will give you justice. You feel frustration? We have a system that will enable you to flower. The system is what we call Islamism-an ideological, highly politicized Islam, in which the spiritual content-the personal relationship [with God]—is taken out of Islam and instead it is transformed into a religious ideology like fascism or communism." But unlike the Leninists, who wanted to install the reign of the perfect class, the working class, and unlike Nazis, who wanted to install the reign of the perfect race, the Aryan race, bin Laden and al-Zawahiri wanted to install the reign of the perfect religion.

Unfortunately, bin Laden and his colleagues have found it all too easy to enlist recruits in the Arab-Muslim world. I think this has to do, in part, with the state of half-flatness that many Arab-Muslim young people are living in, particularly those in Europe. They have been raised to believe that Islam is the most perfect and complete expression of God's monotheistic message and that the Prophet Muhammed is God's last and most perfect messenger. This is not a criticism. This is Islam's self-identity. Yet, in a flat world, these youth, particularly those living in Europe, can and do look around and see that the Arab-Muslim world, in too many cases, has fallen behind the rest of the planet. It is not living as prosperously or democratically as other civilizations. How can that be? these young Arabs and Muslims must ask themselves. If we have the superior faith, and if our faith is all encompassing of religion, politics, and economics, why are others living so much better?

This is a source of real cognitive dissonance for many Arab-Muslim youth-the sort of dissonance, and loss of self-esteem, that sparks rage, and leads some of them to join violent groups and lash out at the world. It is also the sort of dissonance that leads many others, average folks, to give radical groups like al-Qaeda passive support. Again, the flattening of the world only sharpens that dissonance by making the backwardness of the Arab-Muslim region, compared to others, impossible to ignore. It has become so impossible to ignore that some Arab-Muslim intellectuals have started to point out this backwardness with brutal honesty and to demand solutions. They do this in defiance of their authoritarian governments, who prefer to use their media not to encourage honest debate, but rather to blame all their problems on others-on America, on Israel, or on a legacy of Western colonialism-on anything and anyone but the dead hand of these authoritarian regimes.

According to the second Arab Human Development Report, which was written in 2003 for the United Nations Development Program by a group of courageous Arab social scientists, between 1980 and 1999, Arab countries produced 171 international patents. South Korea alone during that same period registered 16,328 patents. Hewlett-Packard registers, on average, 11 new patents a day. The average number of scientists and engineers working in research and development in the Arab countries is 371 per million people, while the world average, including countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, is 979, the report said. This helps to explain why although massive amounts of foreign technology are imported to the Arab regions, very little of it is internalized or supplanted by Arab innovations. Between 1995 and 1996, as many as 25 percent of the university graduates produced in the Arab world immigrated to some Western country. There are just 18 computers per 1,000 people in the Arab region today, compared with the global average of 78.3 per 1,000, and only 1.6 percent of the Arab population has Internet access. While Arabs represent almost 5 percent of the world population, the report said, they produce only 1 percent of the books published, and an unusually high percentage of those are religious books-over triple the world average. Of the 88 million unemployed males between fifteen and twenty-four worldwide, almost 26 percent are in the Middle East and North Africa, according to an International Labor Organization study (Associated Press, December 26, 2004).

The same study said the total population of Arab countries quadrupled in the past fifty years, to almost 300 million, with 37.5 percent under fifteen, and 3 million coming onto the job market every year. But the good jobs are not being produced at home, because the environment of openness required to attract international investment and stimulate local innovation is all too rare in the Arab-Muslim world today. That virtuous cycle of universities spinning off people and ideas, and then those people and ideas getting funded and creating new jobs, simply does not exist there. Theodore Dalrymple is a physician and psychiatrist who practices in England and writes a column for the London Spectator. He wrote an essay in City journal, the urban policy magazine (Spring 2004), about what he learned from his contacts with Muslim youth in British prisons. Dalrymple noted that most schools of Islam today treat the Qu'ran as a divinely inspired text that is not open to any literary criticism or creative reinterpretation. It is a sacred book to be memorized, not adapted to the demands and opportunities of modern life. But without a culture that encourages, and creates space for, such creative reinterpretation, critical thought and original thinking tend to whither. This may explain why so few world-class scientific papers cited by other scholars come out of the Arab-Muslim universities.

If the West had made Shakespeare "the sole object of our study and the sole guide of our lives," said Dalrymple, "we would soon enough fall into backwardness and stagnation. And the problem is that so many Muslims want both stagnation and power: they want a return to the perfection of the seventh century and to dominate the twenty-first, as they believe is the birthright of their doctrine, the last testament of God to man. If they were content to exist in a seventh-century backwater, secure in a quietist philosophy, there would be no problem for them or us; their problem, and ours, is that they want the power that free inquiry confers, without either the free inquiry or the philosophy and institutions that guarantee that free inquiry. They are faced with a dilemma: either they abandon their cherished religion, or they remain forever in the rear of human technical advance. Neither alternative is very appealing, and the tension between their desire for power and success in the modern world on the one hand, and their desire not to abandon their religion on the other, is resolvable for some only by exploding themselves as bombs. People grow angry when faced with an intractable dilemma; they lash out."

Indeed, talk to young Arabs and Muslims anywhere, and this cognitive dissonance and the word "humiliation" always come up very quickly in conversation. It was revealing that when Mahathir Mohammed made his October 16, 2003, farewell speech as prime minister of Malaysia at an Islamic summit he was hosting in his own country, he built his remarks to his fellow Muslim leaders around the question of why their civilization had become so humiliated-a term he used five times. "I will not enumerate the instances of our humiliation," said Mahathir. "Our only reaction is to become more and more angry. Angry people cannot think properly. There is a feeling of hopelessness among the Muslim countries and their people. They feel they can do nothing right..."

This humiliation is the key. It has always been my view that terrorism is not spawned by the poverty of money. It is spawned by the poverty of dignity. Humiliation is the most underestimated force in international relations and in human relations. It is when people or nations are humiliated that they really lash out and engage in extreme violence. When you take the economic and political backwardness of much of the Arab-Muslim world today, add its past grandeur and self-image of religious superiority, and combine it with the discrimination and alienation these Arab-Muslim males face when they leave home and move to Europe, or when they grow up in Europe, you have one powerful cocktail of rage. As my friend the Egyptian playwright Ali Salem said of the 9/11 hijackers, they "are walking the streets of life, searching for tall buildings-for towers to bring down, because they are not able to be tall like them."

I fear that this sense of frustration that feeds recruits to bin Laden may get worse before it gets better. In the old days, leaders could count on walls and mountains and valleys to obstruct their people's view and keep them ignorant and passive about where they stood in comparison to others. You could see only to the next village. But as the world gets flatter, people can see for miles and miles.

In the flat world you get your humiliation dished up to you fiber-optically. I stumbled across a fascinating example of this involving bin Laden himself. On January 4, 2004, bin Laden issued one of his taped messages through al-Jazeera, the satellite television network based in Qatar. On March 7, the Web site of the Islamic Studies and Research Center published the entire text. One paragraph jumped out at me. It is in the middle of a section in which bin Laden is discussing the various evils of Arab rulers, particularly the Saudi ruling family.

"Thus, the situation of all Arab countries suffers from great deterioration in all walks of life, in religious and worldly matters," says bin Laden.

"It is enough to know that the economy of all Arab countries is weaker than the economy of one country that had once been part of our [Islamic] world when we used to truly adhere to Islam. That country is the lost Andalusia. Spain is an infidel country, but its economy is stronger than our economy because the ruler there is accountable. In our countries, there is no accountability or punishment, but there is only obedience to the rulers and prayers of long life for them."

The hair on my arms stood up when I read that. Why? Because what bin Laden was referring to was the first Arab Human Development Report, which came out in July 2002, well after he had been evicted from Afghanistan and was probably hiding out in a cave somewhere. The Arab authors of the report wanted to grab the attention of the Arab world as to how far behind it had fallen. So they looked for a country that had a GDP slightly more than that of all twenty-two Arab states combined. When they ran down the tables, the country that fit that bill perfectly was Spain. It could have been Norway or Italy, but Spain happened to have a GDP just slightly larger than all the Arab states together. Somehow, bin Laden heard or read about this first Arab Human Development Report from his cave. For all I know, he may have read my own column about it, which was the first to highlight the report and stressed the comparison with Spain. Or maybe he got it off the Internet. The report was downloaded from the Internet some 1 million times. So even though he was off in a cave somewhere, he could still get this report, and its humiliating conclusion, shoved right in his face-negatively comparing the Arab states to Spain, no less! And when he heard that comparison, wherever he was hiding, bin Laden took it as an insult, as a humiliation-the notion that Christian Spain, a country that was once controlled by Muslims, had a greater GDP today than all the Arab states combined. The authors of this report were themselves Arabs and Muslims; they were not trying to humiliate anyone-but that was how bin Laden interpreted it. And I am certain he got this dose of humiliation over a modem at 56K. They may even have broadband now in Tora Bora.

And having gotten his dose of humiliation this way, bin Laden and his emulators have learned to give it right back in the same coin. Want to understand why the Islamo-Leninists behead Americans in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and then distribute pictures on the Internet with the bloody head of the body resting on the headless corpse? It is because there is no more humiliating form of execution than chopping off someone's head. It is a way of showing utter contempt for that person and his or her physical being. It is no accident that the groups in Iraq who beheaded Americans dressed them first in the same orange jumpsuits that al-Qaeda prisoners in Guantanamo Bay are forced to wear. They had to learn about those jumpsuits either over the Internet or satellite TV. But it amazes me that in the middle of the Iraq war they were able to have the exact same jumpsuits made in Iraq to dress their prisoners in. You humiliate me, I humiliate you. And what do you suppose terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi said in his audiotape released on September 11, 2004, the third anniversary of 9/11? He said, "The holy warriors made the international coalition taste humiliation... lessons from which they are still burning." The tape was titled "Where Is the Honor?"

As I said, however, this frustration and humiliation is not confined to the Islamist fringes. The reason why the Islamo-Leninists have become the most energized and pronounced opponents of globalization/ Americanization and the biggest threat to the flattening of the world today is not simply their extraordinary violence, but also because they enjoy some passive support around the Arab-Muslim world.

In part, this is because most governments in the Arab-Muslim world have refused to take on these radicals in a war of ideas. While Arab regimes have been very active in jailing their Islamo-Leninists when they can find and arrest them, they have been very passive in countering them with a modern, progressive interpretation of Islam. This is because almost all of these Arab-Muslim leaders are illegitimate themselves. Having come to power by force, they have no credibility as carriers of a moderate, progressive Islam, and they always feel vulnerable to hard-line Muslim preachers, who denounce them for not being good Muslims. So instead of taking on the Muslim radicals, the Arab regimes either throw them in jail or try to buy them off. This leaves a terrible spiritual and political void.

But the other reason for the passive support that the Islamo-Leninists enjoy-and the fact that they are able to raise so much money through charities and mosques in the Arab-Muslim world-is that too many good decent people there feel the same frustration and tinge of humiliation that many of their most enraged youth do. And there is a certain respect for the way these violent youth have been ready to stand up to the world and to their own leaders and defend the honor of their civilization. When I visited Qatar a few months after 9/11, a friend of mine there-a sweet, thoughtful, liberal person who works for the Qatari government- confided to me something in a whisper that was deeply troubling to him: "My eleven-year-old son thinks bin Laden is a good man."

Most middle-class Arabs and Muslims, I am convinced, were not celebrating the death of three thousand innocent Americans on 9/11. I know my Arab and Muslim friends were not. But many Arabs and Muslims were celebrating the idea of putting a fist in America's face- and they were quietly applauding the men who did it. They were happy to see someone humiliating the people and the country that they felt was humiliating them and supporting what they saw as injustice in their world-whether it is America's backing of Arab kings and dictators who export oil to it or America's backing of Israel whether it does the right things or the wrong things.

Most American blacks, I am sure, had little doubt that O. J. Simpson murdered his ex-wife, but they applauded his acquittal as a stick in the eye of the Los Angeles Police Department and a justice system that they saw as consistently humiliating and unfair to them. Humiliation does that to people. Bin Laden is to the Arab masses what O.J. was to many American blacks-the stick they poke in the eye of an "unfair" America and their own leaders. I once interviewed Dyab Abou Jahjah, often called the Malcolm X of Belgium's alienated Moroccan youth. I asked him what he and his friends thought when they saw the World Trade Center being smashed. He said, "I think if we are honest with ourselves, most of the Muslims all over the world felt that... America got hit in the face and that cannot be bad. I don't want to make an intellectual answer for that. I'll give it very simply. America was kicking our butts for fifty years. And really badly. Supporting the bullies in the region, whether it is Israel or our own regimes, [America] is giving us not only a bleeding nose, but breaking a lot of our necks."

Just as America's economic depression in the 1920s and 1930s made many normal, intelligent, thinking Americans passive or active supporters of communism, so the humiliating economic, military, and emotional depression of the Arab-Muslim world has made too many normal, intelligent, and thinking Arabs and Muslims passive supporters of bin Ladenism.

Former Kuwaiti minister of information Dr. Sa'd Bin Tefla, a journalist, wrote an essay in the London Arabic daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat on the third anniversary of September 11 titled "We Are All Bin Laden," which went right to this point. He asked why it is that Muslim scholars and clerics eagerly supported fatwas condemning Salman Rushdie to death for writing an allegedly blasphemous novel, The Satanic Verses, that wove in themes about the Prophet Muhammad, but to this day no Muslim cleric has issued a fatwa condemning Osama bin Laden for murdering three thousand innocent civilians. After the fatwa was declared against Salman Rushdie, Muslims staged protests against the book at British embassies all over the Islamic world and burned Salman Rushdie dolls along with copies of his book. Nine people were killed in an anti-Rushdie protest in Pakistan.

"Religious legal rulings were disseminated one after another banning Salman Rushdie's book and calling for him to be killed," Bin Tefla wrote. "Iran earmarked a reward of $ 1 million for whoever would implement Imam Khomeini's fatwa and kill Salman Rushdie." And bin Laden? Nothing-no condemnation. "Despite the fact that bin Laden murdered thousands of innocents in the name of our religion and despite the damage that he has caused to Muslims everywhere, and especially to innocent Muslims in the West, whose life is much better than the life of Muslims in Islamic lands, to this date not a single fatwa has been issued calling for the killing of bin Laden, on the pretext that bin Laden still proclaims 'there is no God other than Allah,'" Tefla wrote. Worse, he added, Arab and Muslim satellite television channels have "competed amongst themselves in broadcasting [bin Laden's] sermons and fatwas, instead of preventing their dissemination as they did in the case of Rushdie's book... With our equivocal stance on bin Laden, we from the very start left the world with the impression that we are all bin Laden."

Germany was humiliated after World War I, but it had the modern economic foundations to produce a state response to that humiliation—in the form of the Third Reich. The Arab world, by contrast, could not produce a state response to its humiliation. Instead, it has rattled the world stage in the last fifty years with two larger-than-life figures, rather than states, noted political theorist Yaron Ezrahi: One was the Saudi oil minister Ahmed Zaki Yamani, and the other was Osama bin Laden. Each achieved global notoriety, each briefly held the world in his palm-one by using oil as a weapon and the other by using the most unconventional suicide violence imaginable. Each gave a temporary "high" to the Arab-Muslim world, a feeling that it was exercising power on the world stage. But bin Laden and Yamani were only the illusions of power, noted Ezrahi: The Saudi oil weapon is economic power without productivity, and bin Laden's terrorism weapon is military force without a real army, state, economy, and engine of innovation to support it.

What makes Yamanism and bin Ladenism so unfortunate as strategies for Arab influence in the world is that they ignore the examples within Arab culture and civilization-when it was at its height-of discipline, hard work, knowledge, achievement, scientific inquiry, and pluralism. As Nayan Chanda, the editor of YaleGlobal Online, pointed out to me, it was the Arab-Muslim world that gave birth to algebra and algorithms, terms both derived from Arabic words. In other words, noted Chanda, "The entire modern information revolution, which is built to a large degree on algorithms, can trace its roots all the way back to Arab-Muslim civilization and the great learning centers of Baghdad and Alexandria," which first introduced these concepts, then transferred them to Europe through Muslim Spain. The Arab-Muslim peoples have an incredibly rich cultural tradition and civilization, with long periods of success and innovation to draw on for inspiration and example for their young people. They have all the resources necessary for modernization in their own cultural terms, if they want to summon them.

Unfortunately, there is huge resistance to such modernization from the authoritarian and religiously obscurantist forces within the Arab-Muslim world. That is why this part of the world will be liberated, and feel truly empowered, only if it goes through its own war of ideas—and the moderates there win . We had a civil war in America some 150 years ago over ideas-the ideas of tolerance, pluralism, human dignity, and equality. The best thing outsiders can do for the Arab-Muslim world today is try to collaborate with its progressive forces in every way possible- from trying to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict, to stabilizing Iraq, to signing free-trade agreements with as many Arab countries as possible-so as to foster a similar war of ideas within their civilization. There is no other way. Otherwise this part of the world has the potential to be a huge un-flattening force. We have to wish the good people there well. But the battle will be one for them to fight and to win. No one can do it for them.

No one has expressed what is needed better than Abdel Rahman al-Rashed, the general manager of the London-based al-Arabiya news channel. One of the best-known and most respected Arab journalists working today, he wrote the following, in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (September 6, 2004), after a series of violent incidents involving Muslim extremist groups from Chechnya to Saudi Arabia to Iraq: "Self-cure starts with self-realization and confession. We should then run after our terrorist sons, in the full knowledge that they are the sour grapes of a deformed culture ... The mosque used to be a haven, and the voice of religion used to be that of peace and reconciliation. Religious sermons were warm behests for a moral order and an ethical life. Then came the neo-Muslims. An innocent and benevolent religion, whose verses prohibit the felling of trees in the absence of urgent necessity, that calls murder the most heinous of crimes, that says explicitly that if you kill one person you have killed humanity as a whole, has been turned into a global message of hate and a universal war cry... We cannot clear our names unless we own up to the shameful fact that terrorism has become an Islamic enterprise; an almost exclusive monopoly, implemented by Muslim men and women. We cannot redeem our extremist youth, who commit all these heinous crimes, without confronting the Sheikhs who thought it ennobling to reinvent themselves as revolutionary ideologues, sending other people's sons and daughters to certain death, while sending their own children to European and American schools and colleges."

iNitiaL-7 said...

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buat tugas nihh...thx...

bgus...tp kepanjangenn....

rizaldp said...

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