With efforts continuing to find a “win-win” solution allowing June 3rd concert to go ahead, fans are campaigning to save the show via social media
Lady Gaga’s planned concert in Jakarta could boost the Indonesian economy and enhance its international reputation, a government spokesman told Khabar Southeast Asia this week.
According to I Gusti Ngurah Putra, spokesman for the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, hosting an artist of Lady Gaga’s stature would be a positive development for the country.
“Having an international artist performing in Indonesia can help the tourism sector, which can then tell the world that Indonesia is a safe country to visit,” he said.
However, he noted, the tourism ministry does not issue concert permits for international artists and “cannot criticise or interfere with any other government institution’s decision”.
“We hope that the promoter has considered the performance style and theme so that they align with Indonesian culture and values and not create any controversy,” he said.
As of Friday (May 25th), prospects for the concert remained uncertain, as the singer’s promoters and management appeared to differ over whether she would tone down her show. Meanwhile, the National Police – which earlier in the month said it would not issue a permit — signaled it has not yet made a firm decision on whether to allow it to go ahead.
In a statement, the police said they were “evaluating inputs from all sides”.
If you don’t like it, don’t buy a ticket
On Sunday, the government said it had urged the chief of the National Police, General Timur Pradopo, to resolve the dispute by looking for a “win-win solution,” The Jakarta Post reported.
“The Police could put an end to the heated situation by mediating between the concert promoter and the protesters so that the show can go on under certain terms and conditions,” The Post quoted Djoko Suyanto, the co-ordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, as saying.
He also warned hardline Islamist groups opposed to the show, such as the Islamic Defenders’ Front (FPI), not to use violence and intimidation to further their views.
“There must not be any threats in a democratic country. If you don’t like [a performer] then don’t watch [the concert],” The Jakarta Globe quoted him as saying.
Fans take to social media
With their hopes in jeopardy, Lady Gaga fansin Indonesia have been fighting to save the concert via Twitter and other social media sites. @LadyGagaINDO is a Twitter account for “Little Monsters,” as the fans have been nicknamed. It was created by Anggiat Sihombing, an 18-year-old university student at the Sampoerna School of Business. His Twitter account currently has 24,874 followers.
Tevina Tahitu, 17, a member of the creative team at the Twitter site, said the campaign has had a global response.
“We are so glad that #IndonesiaSavesGaga became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter on 15 May 2012 for few hours. It means that we have gotten a lot of support from Twitter users,” she told Khabar.
“We hope [the trending] could give moral support to promoters to bring Lady Gaga here and could influence police to issue the concert permit, because it represents the voice of Indonesian society,” she added.
According to Anggiat, meanwhile, the number of @LadyGagaINDO followers has increased by approximately 500 per day since the Lady Gaga controversy began.
Many ardent fans have used their Twitter feeds to defend the star from accusations by FPI members that she is a devil-worshipping blasphemer.
On the contrary, tweeted @thewillysun, her message is positive and her lyrics inspiring.
“The only one that needs to get banned is FPI itself. They’re embarrassing this country on a daily basis,” tweeted another fan, Yan Teio Madridistra, via his account @Yanteio.
According to Anggiat, the “Little Monsters” are staging peaceful actions, including a flash mob at Central Park Mall, West Jakarta on Sunday, in order to uphold freedom of expression.
“Despite the rumour that said Lady Gaga is a satanic icon, we want to show many people that she does not negatively influence her fans,” he said. “In a fact, we are rational people who prefer to do a positive protest by dancing and singing together.”
FPI vowing to “burn the stage”
Speaking to Khabar, an FPI leader denied that members of the group have bought tickets to the show or that they plan to create problems during the concert if police allow it to go ahead.
“We did not instruct any FPI member to purchase tickets to the Lady Gaga concert,” the group’s deputy secretary general, Awid Mashuri, told Khabar.
“I heard that it is a bunch of Bekasi young people who claimed to be FPI members. But I want to say that if they are indeed FPI members, it is their right to purchase and watch the concert. Do not blame us if members attend the concert.”
Earlier this week, however, FPI Bekasi chapter head Murhali Barda posted a photo and announcement on his Facebook account indicating that members have purchased 150 tickets to the show. He said they had bought the tickets not for the sake of enjoying the concert but in order to do “other things”.
On Friday, FPI members staged raucous protests at sites across Jakarta, including outside police headquarters. Demonstrators sporting devils’ fangs and horns told the pop star to “go to hell”.
A statement handed out at the protests called for members to “crush liberals” and “fight gays and lesbians”, while also warning that FPI members would burn the stage if the star performs, the AFP reported.