As much as irrelevant celebrity gossip and sinetron-esque political drama gets covered in the Indonesian media, the Indonesian public still appreciate it very much when their sons and daughters shine on the global stage. The latest to do so is diplomat Nara Masista Rakhmatia, who wowed the public when she spoke on behalf of Indonesia during the 2016 United Nations (UN) General Assembly.
On Monday, delegations from the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, the Marshall Islands, Tuvatu and Tonga all expressed concern over Indonesia’s alleged human rights violation in Papua, which they argued was Indonesia’s response to the province’s push for independence.
“Many reports on human rights violations in West Papua emphasise the inherent corroboration between the right to self-determination that results in direct violation of human rights by Indonesia and its attempts to smother any form of opposition,” said Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare during the assembly, as quoted by Australia’s ABC News.
Nara then responded by accusing the aforementioned countries of interfering with Indonesia’s sovereignty. This is the video of her full speech, which has recently been widely shared across social media platforms in Indonesia:
Our favorite part has to be the very end, when Nara said, “We have a saying in our Asia-Pacific region: when one points the index finger to others, the thumb automatically points to one’s own face.”
She’d probably drop the mic then if it weren’t attached to the table.
Nara’s show of defiance earned her plaudits back home, with many Indonesians expressing how proud they are to have someone like her represent the country on the international stage.
Sadly, the Indonesian media in general seem to be more impressed by her beauty than her achievements. These are the headlines Indonesia’s biggest online news portals chose to run with their stories about Nara:
Merdeka: “Diplomat cantik Indonesia berani kecam para pemimpin Negara Pasifik” (Indonesia’s pretty diplomat dared to condemn leaders of Pacific nations)
Tribun News: “Nara Masista Rakhmatia – Ini 4 Fakta Diplomat Muda Cantik yang Jadi ‘Singa Podium’ di PBB” (Nara Masista Rakhmatia: These are 4 facts about Indonesia’s young pretty diplomat who became a ‘lion at the podium’ at the UN)
Viva News: “Nara, diplomat cantik RI curi perhatian di sidang PBB” (Nara, a pretty Indonesian diplomat who stole the show at the UN assembly)
Okezone: “Nara Rakhmatia, diplomat cantik Indonesia ini “tampar” 6 pemimpin negara” (Nara Rakhmatia, the pretty Indonesian diplomat who “slapped” 6 national leaders)
It’s definitely a shame that the Indonesian media is still perpetuating the idea that beauty takes precedence over a woman’s skills and intelligence. But we can at least hope that the emergence of such positive female role models like Nara can eventually go towards erasing the idea that it’s appropriate to objectify women in Indonesia.