By Muhammad Pizaro *)
REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, The presence of the King Salman has attracted the attention of many parties. It can be liberated by the role of Saudi in the Indonesia society in education, economic, and culture. Indonesia–Saudi Arabia relations are particularly notable because Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam, and Indonesia is home to the world's largest Muslim population.
However there is one thing missing from the media about the arrival of King Salman, namely the role of humanitarian diplomacy Arabia. When we study the Syrian issues, the contribution of Saudi is very interesting. At the end of 2016, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman had launched a humanitarian aid campaign to collect 100 million Saudi riyals ($27 million) to help those suffering in Syria in December 2016.
“Given what is happening to our brothers in Syria and those who are suffering, especially those displaced from Aleppo and other areas because of the difficult circumstances and painful events in which they live, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has ordered the implementation of a humanitarian aid campaign that will encompass all regions of the Kingdom from tomorrow,” the statement carried on Saudi Press Agency announced.
The agency said King Salman also donated 20 million riyals of his own money to the campaign, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef had donated 10 million riyals, and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had contributed 8 million riyals.
The campaign, which is active on Twitter, announced that donations can be made via SMS from Saudi Arabia. 10, 20, or 30 Saudi riyals can be sent through a message.
In January 2017, The King Salman Centre for Relief and Humanitarian Aid had begun to deliver aid to displaced people in Syria, and 25 trucks coming from the Turkish city of Al-Rayhaniyyah crossed the Turkish-Syrian border. The trucks were carrying aid provided by the organization for people who have been displaced from Aleppo.
Saudi Ambassador to the Republic of Indonesia Osama bin Mohammed Al-Shuaibi said his country would discuss regarding Syria crises with President Jokowi. Osama claimed that his country endures to seek the best solution to resolve the humanitarian conflict there.
House of Representatives Deputy Fadli Zon said the King’s visit will corroberate the role of Saudi diplomacy either political diplomacy, economic diplomacy, cultural diplomacy or the humanitarian diplomacy in islamic world. Fadli assessed, Indonesia needs to take benefit from the change of geopolitical relations between Saudi and United States.
According to the author, the humanitarian diplomacy of Saudi is very important for Indonesia. King of Salman’s contribution to Syrian refugee can make Indonesia aware of the plight of Syrian. The Saudi’s contribution to humanity should spread to Indonesia. We know the Indonesia's contribution in the humanitarian field is still very weak. Indonesia has been silent in supporting to the Syrian refugees. Indonesia had abstained in the UN meeting toward the situation of human rights in Syria.
On the contrary, when the authors conducted a journalistic reporting in Syria, the attitude shown by Syrians are very friendly. They hoped that Indonesia, as the largest Muslim country in the world, could be a "friend" in the midst of "solitude" Syrian nation because of the silence of the world community. Moreover, the aspiration voiced by human rights activists are often closed because of the news of ISIS.
One thing that makes the author more emotional is their concern toward Indonesian people. They said, "Although we do not know where your country and never set foot on your country, you know in every prayer, we never forget to pray for the people of Indonesia. Because we do not want our sufferings also occur in your land, " he said.
For that, they say, the best thing for the people of Indonesia in responding to the humanitarian crisis in Syria is not to go to war to Syria, but by working in humanitarian issues.
This message was conveyed to Indonesian Deputy Foreign Minister, A.M Fachir, some time ago by humanitarian activists. Hearing reports of volunteers, Fachir said that it’s very important for the government to build synergies with humanitarian agencies.
Synergies and cooperation in humanitarian assistance, he said, needs to be done to erase the negative stigma the humanitarian tragedy in Syria associated ISIS.
"There are about four million Syrian refugees spread in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq. They need help. But what we do for them is still not enough," said the diplomat alumni of Pesantren Darussalam Gontor.
Therefore, the moment and the euphoria of the King Salman’s visit should encourage Indonesia to take part in the humanitarian field, as did King Salman. As stated in the opening of to the 1945 constitution: Whereas independence is a genuine right of all nations and any form of alien occupation should thus be erased from the earth as not in conformity with humanity and justice.
*) the author is a humanitarian journalist.