Nowadays, mass media in Indonesia are overwhelmed by flood report in Jakarta. As has been predicted, the five-year flood cycle happened on Thursday, January 17th 2013. Many people got isolated and several non-profit organizations are currently distributing logistics to help the refugees located across the city.
The flood is not then uniquely heap nationally. ABC news, located in Australia, also reported the disaster once it happened. But, the more important thing happened in regard with social media that has produced a great impact worldwide when people in this country began to spread their local news either by text or photos. This then produced a great sympathy toward this country labeled with a hash-tag: #prayforindonesia and #prayforjakarta. This is the thing that I would like to comment upon.
Actually, such hash-tags are not merely symbolic in this country. When the flood was happening, many people in social media began to persuade other to pray for the city in order to ask mercy from the Almighty God so God could easily resist anger and then drain the flood. People in Jakarta asked as if they are the God themselves so they felt that they had a legitimacy to ask God to solve the flood problem in just one day and the usual activities could again exist. But, the question is: why can God become so important in such nasty circumstance?
A suspicion may be arise here: people may regard God as if God is the one who is responsible for the good thing considered from the humans’ point of view. In this condition, it is not God that actually creates human beings. The opposite does actually exist since the request sent to God just to satisfy the needs of humans. But, does this hypothesis can be verified? It can be actually justified, in the easiest way.
If God drained the flood instantaneously, what would be happened in the future in this city? It would be the same. People will be doing their daily activities without even have little attention with their circumstances. They will then throw away their trashes into the rivers in Jakarta. They will also build the many semi-permanent buildings alongside the rivers. They will even have no responsibility when seeing how dirty the rivers are. They will get very busy with their business activities, using plastic bags and throw them away anywhere, pump out the ground water as many as possible in order to avoid paying commercial water, do not have any intention to build green areas to catch the rainfall and many more. The conclusion: there would be no difference even though God had placed his hand upon the Jakarta to lift up the flood. The next question is: can be this prediction verified?
It can be easily answered by looking at the actual activities of the people in this city. Flood is indeed not a rare disaster faced by people living in the capital. As mentioned above, every five years, this city has to prepare itself to face the big flood. But, has it changed the habitual of the people living within?
People in this city have no worry in regard of their trashes. They throw them away as if the street sweepers have the responsibility to take the trashes and put them in their proper place. Even though people know perfectly that to build more buildings in this city and pump out more waters from the ground will naturally downgrade the quality of the land, developers still do it in the same way. For them: the most important point is doing business and the rest is nothing. Now, could it be imagined if God has decided to intervene in this case? It can be clearly seen then: there will be no difference either God will intervene or not. People will stay the same because experiences have showed the tendency of the reluctance of the people to change their habit. People in this city do seem very easy to forget the pass disaster without have any intention to make a simple reflection. And when the disaster happens again, they will rely on God, hoping God will solve everything.
If I were the God, I would like to hear the cry from the people in this city but I would like to add the debit of the flood in order to make them realize how bad their activities really are. And if the big flood did not make them realized, I would like to make this city like happened in the Noah age.
It should be made clear then: it is not good to ask God for help in this circumstance. If Indonesians, especially those who live in the capital, do believe that they are indeed God’s unique creation, why do not they use the ability endowed unto them, namely reason? Human beings differ from animals in this regard and this condition that contributes to make human beings more superior to animals, making them have the ability to subdue nature. But, should it be done arbitrarily? Should reason be used just to satisfy the needs of the present human beings without have any notice about the future generations?
People should then rethink about the possibility to change their greed and bad behavior in regard of the flood issue before asking God for help. Asking God will change nothing except contributing in shaping the humans to become the last men in the city: they will build more buildings and throw away their trashes and when the flood comes, they believe God will provide the way because it has been proven before. But, I do believe that God will never answer the request of the people in such a way. If God really loves his creation, God will not let people to become the last men who will just ask anything for help and never endure any difficulties because the difficulties that actually will shape the personality of people. Thus, the important thing in this disaster is not about praying for this city or the country as a whole: it is more about changing the attitude of the people within the city.
This flood, at the very least, has shown how solidarity –that actually acts as the social glue- can be built when the disaster happened. Hopefully, many things will be learned in the days to come after the flood ended. And what I would like to see is the change of the attitude rather than people who can only raise their hand to heaven, hoping God will solve every problem.