Bonek Against the President

Letter to President Jokowi from Bonek 1927

On the Eve of the 70th Anniversary of Indonesia’s Independence

“We Demand a Mental Revolution for Clean Football”

Presiden Jokowi, whom we venerate, We pray that you – Father President – are always given health so that you are able to carry out the obligations of the national constitution and are able to implement the people of Indonesia’s mandate.

Father President Jokowi, we hope that you haven’t forgotten the city of Surabaya. The only city in the world that is known as the City of Heroes. The city that became famous throughout the world for the Battle of the 10th November. The city that is the home to the grave of Wage Rudolp Soepratman – the composer of Indonesia’s national anthem, Great Indonesia. The city that is the birthplace of Soekarno – yes, Engineer Soekarno – The Father of the Proclamation of Indonesia’s Independence. Soekarno, whom you Father President Jokowi revere and whose principle of Tri Sakti you have appropriated in the name of Nawa Cita – that you use as your guiding principles for work.

And, the Mental Revolution is the Spirit that you have inscribed to be the foundation of Indonesia’s development. A Mental Revolution to fight against the practices of corruption, collusion, nepotism that have become so deeply rooted in every aspect of this nation’s life. Including that of Indonesian football.

Father President Jokowi, we hope that you haven’t forgotten the history of football in Indonesia. We hope that you haven’t forgotten that Indonesian football has regressed due to Corruption, Collusion, Nepotism. Elephant football (i.e. throwing matches) has become an embarrassing and common trend. The PSSI (Indonesian Football Federation) has been frozen by the Minister for Sport and Youth, with your permission, in order for it to be re-structured. But, we hope that Father doesn’t forget, that the effort to undo the damage done to the football mentality in Indonesia was initiated, pioneered and implemented by the courage of the Arek-Arek Bonek (i.e. the supporters of Persebaya). The courage of the Arek-Arek Bonek was derived from their care for the injustice that was meted out against the club that is the pride of Surabaya, that is, PERSEBAYA.

Under the dirty administration of the PSSI, the legendary Indonesian club PERSEBAYA has been deliberately removed. PERSEBAYA, born in 1927, is evidence of the birth of football nationalism in Indonesia. The birth of PERSEBAYA in 1927 is a historical event that can’t be forgotten let alone deliberately wiped-out. Many talented footballers came from the club that is the pride of Bonek, that is, PERSEBAYA.


Photo: Coretan Arek Persebaya 12

Father President Jokowi, whom we respect, we don’t want to be arrogant, but, there is lots of evidence of our love for the club PERSEBAYA that has recorded many significant historical moments and the love of Bonek for clean football has proven that the Arek-Arek Bonek Movement, has played a significant role in the movement towards clean football. The Arek-Arek Bonek Movement has been proven to be the impetus for the MENTAL REVOLUTION of Clean Football, through the freezing of the PSSI.

But unfortunately Father President Jokowi, we, all of us throughout the world who are Arek-Arek Bonek, are disappointed with the policy of Mahaka Sports to permit the Fake Persebaya to participate in the Presidential Trophy Tournament. This tournament which should recognise the history of the birth of football in Indonesia, has in fact been tainted by the betrayal of the participation of the fake Persebaya club; a club that is deeply problematic both in legal and ideological terms.

Respected Father Jokowi, the entire football public of Indonesia, knows that in Surabaya, there is a conflict over the dualism of the football club. The public knows that the club PERSEBAYA, that was born on 18th June 1927, which has a great history and has made a great contribution to football in Indonesia and that which is loved by the majority of Bonek in Indonesia, has been silenced by the PSSI. The birth of the fake PERSEBAYA is also known by the football public, is understood by the BOPI and comprehended by the Minister of Youth Sport, and thus there has been a policy implemented that prevents the fake PERSEBAYA from being verified to participate in the ISL 2015-16 season. And moreover, the legal process regarding the dualism of PERSEBAYA is still ongoing in the city court of Surabaya.

Father President Jokowi, what is the meaning of all of this? Are we wrong if we question that the Mental Revolution that we expected to take place in Indonesian football is actually something false? Will the hope for a Mental Revolution and the principle of Nawa Cita – which values respect for history – turn out to be nothing but false promises? Father President Jokowi who we respect, hopefully you don’t forget that the winds of change of the Mental Revolution that you promised guided you to the Presidency with the support of Millions of Surabayans.
On this Independence Day, We The Bonek Supporters of Surabaya urge and demand Father President Jokowi the following:
1. Return the rights of Surabaya that were stolen by the PSSI
2. Arrest and put to trial the football mafia of Indonesia
3. Create a new Indonesian Football Federation that is clean, Honest and respectable
4. Reject the Presidential Trophy tournament if there is club that participates in it in the name of Persebaya.

Justice is the mother of all struggles and our resistance. We will continue to fight with all of our ability and inability. We will continue to fight in the best and most respectful manner.

That is all, Father President Jokowi whom we venerate.


Photo: Coretan Arek Persebaya 12: Come on, guys! Fight for our rights!

Reading Sideways