Hidup Biasa, October 3: Tukijo finally walked free from Yogyakarta prison this morning, to be welcomed by his family, farmers from Kulon Progo and supporters of their struggle. There was no holding back the emotion as his friends hugged him in turn – a pointless and vindictive ordeal was over at last.
Tukijo is one of the thousands of farmers along the Kulon Progo coast who are defending their land from an Australian mining company in partnership with the local feudal leader. He was snatched from his fields by police in May 2011 and sentenced to three years in prison for doing nothing more than telling a company worker to get off the land.
After nearly two and a half years in prison, Tukijo will now be able to return to his farm to plant chillis and watermelons once again, as the land has not yet been taken over by Indomines for its iron sand mine. Whether due to it’s tumbling share price, a fall in demand for iron from China or the farmers’ determined resistance, the mining company’s plans have been put back again and again. Continue reading “Indonesia: Kulon Progo Farmer Tukijo Freed From Prison”
Hidup Biasa, translated from Selamatkan Bumi
Not many people, neither left-wing activists nor intellectual defenders of agrarian justice, will have ever heard his name, let alone met him. Mukhlis, a young peasant farmer from Rengas village, Ogan Ilir, South Sumatra, was one of twelve victims shot by police mobile brigade (Brimob) in December 2009. On that bloody Friday, he and hundreds of other villagers were defending the reoccupation of their land which had previously been seized by state-owned plantation company PTPN VII. Hot metal pierced his finger. A rubber bullet struck his forehead. The ring finger on his right hand is now shorter than it should be.
Mukhlis remembers, “On that day I was leaving to wash in preparation for Friday prayers. My mother told me “There’s no need to go and join in (defending the land occupation), you’re still young, you’ll just get shot.” Mukhlis was 23 at the time. “But it wasn’t at anyone’s invitation that I decided to join the struggle. Something inside of me was calling,” he continued, as he raised the palm of his hand towards his breast.
Continue reading “Indonesia: Agrarian Struggle takes a Deep Breath. Notes from the Second Congress of the Forum for Communication between Agrarian Communities (FKMA)”
Hidup Biasa: Faced with the threat of their land being taken from them and turned into a vast iron mine, 20 kilometres long, the farmers of Kulon Progo on Java’s South Coast have resisted with cries of “Bertani atau Mati!” “We farm or we die!”. Farm or die is a compilation of articles and interviews reflecting their struggle.
If you want to read or download Farm or Die as a pdf you can do that here (to read online) or here (to print). Otherwise, you can read a selection of the articles here:
- Interview with Widodo: A chilli farmer gives his views on the will farm, the struggle, solidarity and autonomy.
- Chronology of Struggle: Some key moments in the struggle from 2007 to 2011
- Interview with Suratinem: In 2011 Suratinem’s husband Tukijo was abducted from his field by police, and sentenced to three years in prison. Suratinem tells her story.
- SG and PAG: At the root of the land dispute is the local sultanate, who claim the Kulon Progo land despite the farmers clearly having land title. Feudalism may exist informally in other parts of Indonesia, but only here is it protected by law.
For a general background on the Kulon Progo struggle, see A Tale of Sand, which we published in 2009. Continue reading “Indonesia: Kulon Progo – Farm or Die”