This I Believe

Notowidigdo, Moekarto

  • Moekarto Notowidigdo, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Indonesia, describes being in jail during the Indonesian push for independence, and witnessing the comraderie of prisoners from all socioeconomic statuses, which led them to sing the Indonesian National Anthem during an execution.
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And now, This I Believe, the living philosophies of thoughtful men and women, presented in the hope they may strengthen your beliefs so that your life may be richer, fuller, happier. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Mr. Moekarto is the foreign minister of the Republic of Indonesia. He has been active in nationalist organizations since his school days in his native East Java. Now at 41, he is one of the leaders of this new nation. He first visited the United States in 1950 as a deputy chief delegate to the United Nations, and again for the 1952 general assembly, this time as the foreign minister. If his creed sounds more political than personal, perhaps it's because he has lived history so personally. Here is Mr. Moekarto.
As the representative of a nation which had for 300 years been under foreign domination, perhaps the most important thing in which I believe is respect for the dignity of man. As you probably know, many of the leaders of the newly independent nations in Asia had to spend some time in jail. It was almost a necessary adjunct for their work for independence. Such people as Pandit Nehru of India, President Sukarno of Indonesia, and many others, found themselves in prison during the early 1920s and 1930s for their part in the fight for freedom.
I was honored to find myself among these fighters for freedom myself. In jail, I met representatives of many classes of the
population. They were the political prisoners, the poor, the innocent, the guilty. And though we were of many classes, there were moments when we found ourselves joined together as one, brothers, blood brothers. These moments came when one of the Indonesian fighters was sentenced to death. On the morning they were to go to the firing squad, a tremendous wave of sympathetic emotion flowed through us all. As the victim to be was being led to the firing squad, our voices rose as one in the Indonesian National Anthem. And even as the guns sounded, our voices rose over the staccato noise. No one led us. No one told us to sing. We felt the same emotion at the same moment, and in the silence that followed the killing, we were able to meditate and frame our thoughts.
Perhaps that is why class differences do not enter into Indonesian thinking, why our relationships with one another are based on a sense of mutual dignity. We express this dignity in Indonesia through the five principles that guide our nation. We call these five principles the Pancasila, and they are written into the preamble of our constitution. First, believe in God; second, humanitarianism or internationalism; third, nationalism; fourth, sovereignty of the people, a democracy; fifth, social justice. We are only a young nation, but we are trying to make these five principles a reality, for like myself, a lot of Indonesians were in prison during its 300
years of colonial status. And in becoming free and realizing the fruits of this freedom, we are developing within our own nation a high degree of respect for the dignity of man.
These are the principles that guide us in our international relations, in our work at the United Nations, and in our judgments of matters that affect world peace. Whatever helps develop the dignity of man is good. Whatever prevents the growth of man’s dignity should be changed. But even in making changes, the effort itself must be consistent with the dignity of man. Thus nothing should be done that would in any way lessen the ability of each man to hold himself and his neighbors in anything short of the highest respect.
That was Mr. Moekarto, the foreign minister of the Republic of Indonesia.