President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has said Indonesia’s diversity, which includes different ethnic groups, religions, cultures, customs and traditions and local languages, should not become a source of dissension but of the country’s power.
“Indeed, we see a diversity here, in which there are a lot of differences in society. However, this is not the cause of dissension but the source of our strength as a nation,” he said in a speech during the national Christmas celebration in Medan on Saturday evening.
Jokowi said that during the Christmas celebrations, all elements of society must rejoice over the gifts that God has given to the Indonesian people. He said God the Almighty had given a high sense of brotherhood and loving affection as the strongest assets of the nation.
“The strongest assets of the nation are unity, harmony and brotherhood,” the President said.
Jokowi said Indonesia was blessed by an extraordinary diversity, in which the country’s population was 260 million people who live on 17,000 islands in 34 provinces and 514 regencies and cities. Hence, all parts of society must maintain the unity of the nation so it will not be easily defeated by any parties, said the President who later conveyed his Christmas and new year greetings to the participants of the event and all Christians in the country.
Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna H. Laoly, who chaired the 2018 National Christmas Celebration’s organizing committee, said he appreciated the support provided by all elements of society, including the security authorities, to ensure the safe and smooth implementation of the event.
Eighty musicians from four provinces, namely Jakarta, North Sumatra, West Java and Yogyakarta, performed a musical collaboration in this year’s celebration. Thousands of Christians attending the event were also entertained by a spectacular performance by a giant choir, which comprised 1,000 singers who represented various churches and ethnic groups from across North Sumatra.
A 100-member children's choir from Pematang Siantar-Simalungun also performed in the celebration. All choir members wore traditional outfits from across Indonesia.
“Maybe this is the biggest choir we have ever seen throughout the history of Christmas celebrations in Indonesia. This also symbolizes the unity of our nation,” said Yasonna.