Sallombengan Seko

2 months ago
SaveSeko 14 pemimpin Masyarakat Adat Seko di kriminalisasi dengan dijatuhi hukuman 7 bulan penjara. Mereka menentang dan menolak pembangunan ...

English subtitle

When the company came in,
the indigenous Ambalong community,
including me, did not know anything about it.
They brought in some equipment
and inspected the river.
Some of us, the customary leaders,
visited their base camp and learned
that they had a principle permit for doing a survey.
To be honest, as a customary leader,
I had never been invited to talk with them,
neither had they told us they would firmly reject the company’s plans
and what benefit we would get from it.
Tension grew until 2013.
The local community said they would firmly reject the company’s plans
as it would impact the local area in particular, the culture and customs.
The area is part of our lives, sir.
We have our farm plots, rice paddies there, it’s our lives.
Even sacred sites will be gone
if the company claims the area.
Agree or not?
We will fight against greedy investors
coming to our area, ok?
We went together to the area –
men, women, children, totaling no less than 500.
To the site, Rateh, where the company
was carrying out the drilling.
From there, we continued to their main base camp
in Puyahaang.
We took all the drilled samples
and dumped them into the river.
We were then accused of vandalism
while in fact we only collected their property
and covered them under a tarpaulin.
Friends, do not let them fight alone!
Do not let them die on their own land!
This is a form of solidarity for Seko farmers.
Some of them have even been jailed for opposing the hydroelectric power plan.
Should the plan be realized, our rice paddies will be submerged.
The local community said they were opposing the plan in defense of their rights and land,
and they were intimidated or criminalized.
I don’t care how long I serve time. More importantly: our opposition was a success.
If the judges listened to their hearts,
the charge against us was weak.
The Amisandi case is a political arrest as if he was not arrested, the opposition would remain strong.
There was actually no violation committed
during the rally.
The only charge was that the community took and threw the [soil] samples away.
It’s our land, our soil. We did not destroy
or vandalize any of the equipment.
What’s wrong? They did not even ask for our consent when digging out our soil.
We did not know what they were doing.
We managed to prevent the survey.
We won’t be accused of destroying property.
So, we are protecting it.
For two months the women have been here,
day and night, not being afraid of heat or rain.
And when the police came, we gathered here,
as we were keeping watch on the site.
I asked them right away,
“What’s wrong, sir? We, the women, are here to prevent the company from continuing its survey.
We are here to send a stronger message that we won’t allow the company to operate here, sir.”
Then, the police came down to us
(the site is located on a slope),
saying, “So you’re ready. You [women] all agree?”
One of the policemen said they were ready and suddenly they shot tear gas at us,
at all the women gathering there.
(shout in panic) Oh God… protect us all.
Some of the women grabbed some plastic to cover their faces.
I used my jacket to cover my face.
We were fleeing in panic,
as we were forcibly driven there, sir, with sticks.
One of the women passed out
but no one gave her proper treatment.
Our land is very fertile,
that’s why we are defending our land.
We get the crops we need here,
from our farm plots.
It is natural we are defending our ancestral land,
it is proven that we cannot just abandon it.
Andri Karyo is in jail in Masamba.
We have deep sympathy for him.
To support him we are helping harvest his cocoa.
The cocoa is already too ripe;
it has already developed roots.
The outsiders say we live a miserable life
here in the village
but we feel that we are living a decent life.
The indigenous Ambalong are mostly farmers.
To all the Ambalong, the area is their rice barn.
That’s why the land is our life; we won’t let it be submerged for a hydroelectric power plant project.
If the project continues,
it clearly is the government which brings us hard times and impoverish us.
One, to decide that defendant Amisandi
has been proven guilty
of forcibly preventing others from doing something.
Two, to sentence the defendant
to seven months in prison.
Declared in Masamba on 22 May 2017.
I feel nothing special about it [the verdict].
All that we have gone through,
it is the risk we have to face
by defending our rights and ancestral heritage
– the Seko land.
Again, the government of Indonesia imposed punishment
on one of the customary champions defending their community and land,
who should otherwise be the pride of the country.
Indigenous peoples, who should enjoy sovereignty over their customary land,
are being sent to jail.
We are still fighting together with the Seko.
The struggle does not end here
but keeps burning on.
Although they are in jail, we continue the struggle, at all costs.
We are innocent ordinary people,
who are defending our own land.
Why should we be forcibly arrested?
Why put us on the wanted list?
My hope is that my father Pieter,
who is the oldest prisoner,
will soon be released and join us again
to defend our land together.
Our voice remains the same – we resist.