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The Story of Sorrow and Power

Memories of land are about sorrow and power. No more imagination of a space where everyone can live happily above it. On it people are killing each other and people kills for it.

Years ago, I made film on a community which is self sufficient from their reclaimed land. I was taping one of the community, a women. She was 40 years old. “Once, in the middle of the night,” she said. “Around hundred motor cycled thugs came to our house. After hiding our son, my husband and I went outside. We brought long knife with us. They shouted and forced us to leave. I managed to hit a wood trunk to call for other peasants, when they saw we were outnumber, they fled.” Then she smiled. “Now I can till the land. I can eat three times a day and be able to give alms.”

Suddenly, from my camera I saw a long paused. Her eyes started to water, in shattered voice she carried on, “Before having this land, my son and I could only eat once a day. Sometimes we didn’t at all. One time, he was starving for days. None of neighbors were willing to help.” She burst into tears. “We were so hungry. Luckily my husband came from city. He had 25 kilograms of rice with him. Thank God, we could eat.” She continued, “I am happy now, although the government is not yet recognizing our right over the land. I will keep fighting for it.”


JaniceW's picture


At once, I was heartened and then saddened over how the community responded to these two situations. Coming together to protect their land and defeat the thugs, yet turning their backs on their neighbours in need. It seems that both coexist where food is precious and land is the means by which to obtain food. I hope you will continue to tell us the stories you hear from the communities that surround you, and share with us the challenges and concerns of the people of Indonesia. Welcome to PulseWire.

jadefrank's picture

Hi Tina, It is a joy to again

Hi Tina,

It is a joy to again see your face and read your words here in the PulseWire community. I am so glad that you've answered the call for submissions on this powerful topic. Land rights seem to be a continuous thread in the face of discrimination. In a world that is over populated, we must find a way to share this planet amongst us so that every man, woman and child can eat from its bounty and find peace. Thank you for illustrating that point here today. I hope to one day watch your films. And I hope that you will continue to share your work and experiences with us here.

Warm regards,

nina somera's picture


Hi Tina, how are you? Great to read a piece from you, as always :-) I hope to see you again.

Nina Somera
Manila, Philippines

Sharese's picture


This piece is powerful! This story needs to be heard. We often forget how easy it is to take for granted the land on which we live. For some land is truely about fighting for one's life.

Thank you for sharing this story.

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