How to Understand Cosmopolitanism Among the Acehnese

 The term cosmopolitan is not so well understood in Aceh. Because this term rarely appears in societies or countries that are still developing. However, the term cosmopolitan itself is to penetrate national borders. So, what is important here is that this world has no boundaries (country, race, culture, and religion). 

To simplify this concept, Wimar Witoelar said: 

“A cosmopolitan person is a person who feels comfortable anywhere in the world. These are not only diplomats and business figures but can be sailors, migrant workers, or football players.”

This is a symptom in developed countries where they can adapt wherever they go.

However, the cosmopolitan phenomenon is no longer the monopoly of the West. Nevertheless, also developing countries. A manager, for example, is still in Banda Aceh today, in the afternoon in Medan, in the evening in Singapore, then in the evening in Jakarta. 

Alternatively, someone who is used to what is happening in this world does not consider it an event that must be read within a ‘to some extent.’ For example, they no longer think that identity is a pride that is always highlighted. 

They prefer to say that they are citizens of the world, not citizens of a particular country. So that this symptom infects, for example, people who have felt how ‘good’ it is to be citizens of the world rather than citizens of certain countries.

A person who is used to all the conveniences and ICT suddenly wants to enjoy how life is in the middle of the forest. Alternatively, someone completely served by machines or robots suddenly comes to a developing country to marry a village woman.

 In essence, cosmopolitanism is a symptom that society is no longer seen from the nation’s perspective. We presuppose globalization with the index finger revolution. We imagine, for example, a person who wakes up in the morning, then uses his index finger to turn off the alarm in his room. 

Then when he got to the bathroom, he just had to press a specific button. Until then, warm water came out of the faucet. After taking a shower, he opened the TV broadcast while pressing the remote with his index finger. After that, he also pushed the microwave buttons to make breakfast. While enjoying breakfast, he also started fiddling with his diary while looking at the agenda for the day. 

After that, he got out while pressing the remote control button for his car keys. On the way, he still uses his index finger to turn on the radio or tape in his car. While heading to the place of duty, he also did not forget to stop at the ATM to take enough money. Then drove to the office. He was already using his index finger to press the code to enter his office. 

Then turns on the computer while using the index finger and using the mouse as a ‘tool’ for his work. All work patterns only use the index finger, from typing and pressing the mouse to chat in cyberspace, a symptom of globalization triggered by the rise of ICT (Information, Communication, and Technology). Some of these symptoms have been found in Aceh today.

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Products or people who enjoy globalization can be a cosmopolitan phenomenon because they have succeeded in enjoying the fruits of globalization. With the rise of chatting in cyberspace, not a few young people have spent their time in front of the android. 

They can communicate seamlessly across borders. They can have friends anywhere, regardless of religion, race, and country. They are also not constrained by local values. Not even a few chats even bring together several individuals to continue a family ark. 

This small example is a form of new culture in the cosmopolitan era in Aceh. It is rare to study how the virtual world influences the current generation of young people in Aceh.

To better provide our understanding of cosmopolitanism in Aceh. So, several things will be presented here to bring the reader closer to the discourse of cosmopolitanism. First, the cosmopolitan issue is closely related to individualism as the highest form of humanity. 

As explained above, cosmopolitan presupposes that a person is a world citizen. So, a person is seen from their own identity and strengths and weaknesses. So, the impact of individualism is that a person is no longer seen as a unit of lineage, ethnicity, ethnicity, culture, religious community, nation, and state.

So, here people have been judged by their individual. To further simplify our understanding of this discourse, if, in Aceh, someone wants to become a worker or civil servant, then what is done is how to increase centrism attitudes, such as having connections, coming from certain villages, certain tribes, cronyism, etc. 

However, in the cosmopolitan era, the individual is judged. Therefore, there is a global standard where a person is successful not because of how much he pays or bribes but how capable he is in a job. In Aceh, this paradigm has not yet emerged because it is rather difficult to find individual qualities in certain positions if this happens.

 In this discourse, the large number of foreign workers from outside the province of Aceh indicates that the cosmopolitan phenomenon has not been so prevalent in Aceh. 

However, once non-Acehnese have controlled certain positions, lawsuits will arise against the system. This study argues that the people of Aceh must be familiarized with the discourse of cosmopolitanism.

The second is the universality that all humans are the same and that there are no racist attitudes. In this case, cosmopolitanism is a view that assumes that there are no differences and distinctions between humans on this earth. So man is seen as a civilized being in the same position worldwide. 

An Acehnese is the same as a person in Mexico. The Gayo people are in the same position as the Wonosari people. Papuans are also of the same rank as Hawaiians. So there is no single barrier that distinguishes humans on this earth. Therefore, a cosmo can live because he can respect other people, wherever he is.

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In Aceh, this pattern of understanding is complicated to obtain. Among the Acehnese themselves, a feeling of superiority always arises. If the head of the office is from a particular village, all employees, down to the driver, must be from their family’s area. 

Openness to other community groups is indeed taking place in Aceh. After the Tsunami, the national and international communities settled in Aceh, which had a significant influence on the people of Aceh in viewing other individuals who were not Acehnese. 

The perception of superiority is challenging to eliminate because this situation affects the people of Aceh and other communities around the world.

 In other words, cosmopolitanism only appears in societies already established in the world of education and the economy. They are no longer dependent on a system. They can compete internationally.

 Therefore, the local people must utilize the international community’s presence in Aceh in material terms and cosmopolitan values ​​. As emphasized above, cultural dialogue is one way to introduce Acehnese culture to other cultures and vice versa.

Meanwhile, the third element is generality. The purpose of this concept is that humans as citizens of the world must appreciate the essence of universalism that exists in this world. 

When the Tsunami came, not a few people from around the world came to help Aceh. Of course, they come from various backgrounds, but the goal is to help the Acehnese who are stricken by the disaster. From an identity perspective, it is not easy, for example, for us to receive help from people who are not Muslim.

 We also never know where the money will come from to help us. However, because of the universality of helping, we accept all of this help with grace. 

In this case, cosmopolitans view that we must pay attention to each other because we are human beings, not because of ethnicity, religion, country, and race.

A cosmopolis, he will have the feeling not to discriminate between humans. In Aceh, the cosmopolitan attitude is not so down to earth. We still see a person according to his identity and judge a person by what he has. 

So what emerges are attitudes of exclusivity, either directly or indirectly. Some views say the Acehnese are the best compared to other tribes. This phenomenon occurs not only among Acehnese against outsiders but also among themselves. 

The emergence of several stereotypes among the Acehnese themselves, for example, Aceh A is better than Aceh B, Aceh C is more respectable than Aceh D. This phenomenon is already so ingrained among the people of Aceh, without any effort to open their ‘eyes’ to accept or see human as human. 

Cosmopolitanism is almost the same as the concept of slavery in Islam, where all humans are equal. The difference is their piety. Then, humans are commanded to respect each other and open the ropes of friendship between them. However, this attitude turned out to be very difficult to find in Aceh.

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Respectful behavior is costly to find in Aceh. Therefore, cosmopolitanism, which includes respect for the individual, universality, and generality, is something that does not violate aspects of Islam at all. 

However, at first glance, this concept emerged from the West with the face and paradigm of the Western social sciences that value the individual’s existence more. 

Therefore, when we talk about cosmopolitanism, we think about free life, which puts the world’s pleasures forward. However, the substance of the cosmopolitan concept is the rise of the individual as a force to appreciate humanity jointly.

 When the United States invaded Iraq, millions of people worldwide, from the West to the East, took to the streets to protest. They do not care about Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction. 

They only protested against hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who died in this war. They do that as human beings, regardless of whether Iraqis are Muslim or not. It shows how cosmopolitan goes beyond orbit across religious, national, and cultural boundaries.

One of the interesting issues discussed in the cosmopolitan concept is compliance. To whom should this human obey? Is it to the country? The religion? The norms? These questions are being debated if a man is a world resident. He no longer needs to be forced to obey anyone. 

There are several arguments in this case: humans can continue to obey their religion because religion seems to be the answer for those who are spiritually thirsty. In this case, it can be said that a cosmopolis will maintain the spiritual attitudes they have. 

Therefore, it is not surprising that a concept known as the new age emerged later in the West, which is active in spiritual intelligence. Humans who are used to everything then look for enlightenment in their hearts. 

After that, they seem to become cosmopolitan people, lower self-esteem, and accept what is in this life. In the concept of sociology, this attitude is often referred to as ascetic, namely living as it is, an idea found in Islam, namely zuhud.

The discussion about cosmopolitanism has led us to a concept to resolve the uncertainty that plagues the people of Aceh today. The delay in question is the absence of a clear compass in carrying out their lives, even though they are very Islamic due to the challenges that repeatedly come within themselves. 

In a more assertive language, during the conflict period, the people of Aceh had problems living safely, but now the problem is more complex, namely how to live in peace inner and outer. We will try to answer this question in the next section on marrying culture, religion, and cosmopolitanism in one breath.

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