“But, America will help, right?” I stood looking at Sonya, wondering what to say. We were talking about the recent presidential elections. The man who has most likely won (all of the votes have not been counted) is a Muslim, just like the current president. There were rumors that if elected, he would enforce Muslim laws.
In my fifth grade class, we were discussing proper nouns when the election came up. Most of the students in the class are Christians, at least in name. I asked them what they would do if Susilo wanted everyone to become Muslim. “I would go to Singapore.” “I would leave.” “I would move to America.”
These comments were racing through my mind as I talked to Sonya, who hasn’t the means to leave if she wanted to. I asked her what would happen if Susilo enforced the Muslim laws. She told me that this province, which is mostly Christian, would become an independent nation. She said that America and Australia would help them because they (this province) are Christians. “America will come and kill the Muslims before the Muslims kill us. We are bigger than Iraq, and they help them.”
I wanted to say, “Iraq has oil. Most Americans don’t know where North Sulawesi is. There are many places in the world where horrible things are happening and America is doing very little to stop it. A couple of years ago when the Muslims and Christians were fighting in the Mouluccu’s there was no American intervention.”
Instead, I looked unsure and searched for an answer. That prompted, “America will help right? We are Christian, they will help us, right?”
I looked at the woman who had just told me about her son getting beat up at school. I wanted desperately to give her hope. Her life here is hard. She looks up to our great nation as a source of hope. If things get too bad here then America will step in and help. Right? How do you answer this?