The government of Indonesia’s are apologizing for en masse to Thailand following an ugly cross-border display of homophobia toward their regional neighbors.
Awal minggu ini, a high-profile legal campaigner in Thailand said Indonesians would not be welcome in his country after an unfortunately large number of netizens harassed and made death threats toward a newlywed same-sex Thai couple on Facebook.
With news of the harassment traveling fast throughout Indonesia, many in the country say they are ashamed of the appalling behavior of certain homophobic groups and are today showing solidarity toward their Thai friends.
The hashtag #IndonesiaSaySorryForThailand [sic], which contains messages of apology towards Thai and LGBTQ+ people, has become the top trending topic on Indonesian Twitter today
The hashtag is also populating the Thai couple’s Facebook post, which had for days become the site of a flame war between Indonesians and Thais, as well as a cesspool of homophobia and Islamophobia toward Indonesia’s Muslims.
A high-profile legal campaigner has said Indonesians would not be welcome in Thailand who left obscene and degrading comments on the page of a newlywed, same-sex Thai couple.
Ronnarong Kaewpetch, an attorney whose Network of Campaigning for Justice takes on matters of public interest, had come to the couple’s defense after they were inundated with insults as well as death threats on social media.
“Indonesian people, don’t think you guys are there, and I can’t do anything. Any day you enter Thailand, I’ll have the police waiting with arrest warrants against you,” Ronnarong wrote.
After pictures of the couple’s marriage were posted last week by one of the grooms, Suriya Koedsang, the comments started pouring in, leading to a Thai-Indonesian flame war.
The majority of the latter attacked their marriage as “forbidden by God” and “cause of the world’s doom,” along a stream of insults.
Suriya said he has been harassed by Indonesian netizens non-stop for three days and nights despite never replying to any of them. What made him seek legal advice from Ronnarong were the death threats he said were directed at him, his husband, parents, relatives, and even their wedding photographer.
“I have tons of questions in my head ‘Why?’” Suriya wrote online in English.
“We married in my warm house and family, my own place, my own [motherland] and what is wrong with Indonesia and Indonesians?? Why need to be that dramatic? … Why are you guys so harsh on us? Do I need to hide when I did nothing wrong?”
He went on to say he respects all religions, citing years he spent studying in Pattani, the southernmost province of Thailand where Islam is the primary religion.
“I have no problem at all, not even a difficult time, back there. Selain, my Muslim family always supported me the way I am. Religion never teaches you to hate others, to look down on people. Sebaliknya, religion leverages the human heart to be a good human,” Suriya wrote.
While same-sex marriage is not recognized by the law in Thailand – a civil partnerships bill has been stalled for years – gay couples have long thrown wedding parties.