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[Duurzaamlijst] Wie is bezig met Kalimantan?
Kan iemand mij vertellen welke personen en organisaties
zoal in Nederland bezig zouden kunnen zijn met de situatie
van de Dayaks en de weggejaagde Maduresen in Indonesie?
Zij lijken beiden slachtoffer te zijn van de indonesische
bevolkingspolitiek en het ecocidale wanbeleid op Kalimantan.
Een derde van het oorspronkelijke areaal van 146,700 km2
regenwoud is thans kaalgeslagen.
De huidige voorstelling van zaken dat Dayaks alleen maar
koppensnellers zijn en de Madurezen alleen maar arrogante
lomperikken is veel te simplistisch en biedt geen aanknopings
punten voor een oplossing. Oplossingen kunnen alleen gevonden
worden door aan te knopen aan hun cultuur en binnen die cultuur
de-escalerend te werken en aanwezige wraakgevoelens in
rituele en constructieve banen te leiden.
Ook de rol van de indonesische overheid en de multinationals
moet aan de orde wordt gesteld. Een oplossing kan in mijn
ogen slechts dan gevonden worden wanneer er een multilaterale
arbitrage plaats vind onder internationaal toezicht.
Het zal volgens mij ook erg helpen wanneer er internationaal
effectieve sancties worden afgesproken op ecocidaal gedrag
van wie dan ook. Persoonlijke aansprakelijkheid van alle
direkteuren van welk bedrijf dan ook zou wel eens heel
goed kunnen werken.
Uit een oogpunt van CO2-vastlegging zijn de veenwouden van
Kalimantan ongelooflijk belangrijk - nergens wordt zo veel koolstof
vastgelegd als juist in een tropisch veenwoud. Die veenwouden zijn
ook onbrandbaar, tenzij je het water draineert en naar de zee laat
lopen, en dat is precies wat de indonesische regering gedaan
Herstel van Kalimantans Veenwouden is in het belang van
de hele wereld - hoe eerder deze dus weer in hun oorspronkelijke
glorie hersteld worden, des te beter dat is.
Vraag is dus, welke nederlandse organisaties hier aktief
mee bezig zijn.
Hieronder twee berichten die door Dayakkers gepubliceerd zijn,
het eerste verscheen in de Jakarta Post van 20 april 1999, hetgeen
betekent dat iedereen met een beetje gevoel de huidige escalatie
reeds toen had kunnen zien aankomen.
Het tweede is op 9 maart 2001 gepubliceerd in The Globe and Mail
Subject: Fascinating article on the riots background
This article seeks to provide the background to the Sambas riot,
explore its root cause and offer a solution to the problem at hand.
As for the motives of the conflict, there are, at least, five possible
reasons for the outbreak of riots on 1999 March 16.
First, the riot in Sambas was an accumulation of problems relating
to theintegration of the indigenous ethnic group and Madurese migrants.
Prior to the recent riots, conflicts between the two groups occurred
several times; the last outbreak in 1996.
Efforts to bring about reconciliation were made repeatedly.
Second, it is only a coincidence that the two conflicting ethnic
groups profess different religions. Some people consider the
conflict as resulting from antagonism between the two religions.
In fact, religions are in no way connected with these inter-ethnic
conflicts, as religion and ethnicity are two separate things.
Third, the conflict may have been provoked by a third party who,
knowing the potential for conflict in the area has long been
present in Sambas, fishing in troubled waters.
Fourth, it is always likely that remnants of the Security Disturbance
Movement -- a rebel organization crushed by the Armed Forces
together with local people from 1960 to 1970 -- remain in existence.
Fifth, this conflict is indeed brought about by development
excesses. The government concentrated its development
undertakings in Java and has, in a way, neglected the regions.
Unfortunately, the people in West Kalimantan are well aware
that while their province is Indonesia's fifth largest foreign-exchange
earner, it is the third poorest province in the country.
The first and third causes may be correct, while the fourth,
which sounds reasonable, is no longer relevant.
It is the fifth cause which is most likely (and almost always
the case) to trigger conflicts. Integration between migrants
and indigenous people has not been running smoothly and
is also a contributing factor.
It is widely known that West Kalimantan is rich in natural
resources, which have lured businessmen to operate mining,
agriculture and forestry ventures.
Unfortunately, almost one third of the province's total area
of 146,700 km2, has become barren land as a result of
irresponsible tree felling.
Indigenous people understand that land tilling -- practiced for
generations -- cannot be the reason for the damage to the
province's forestry areas. Unfortunately, the indigenous
people have often been accused of harming the land.
In fact, with their centuries-old traditional farming methods,
the indigenous people know how to take care of the forests.
They are aware they cannot open up farming land in the same
area for 15 years, because by then the trees will have grown
and the fertile soil layer will have become thick enough to
In short, indigenous people are well aware that nature is part
of their lives and must therefore be conserved. They understand
it is of utmost significance to keep a balance between human
beings and nature. To indigenous people, damaging nature
is tantamount to damaging human beings.
Therefore, nature-damaging acts are customarily punished.
Unfortunately, forest concessionaires do not understand that
indigenous people are close to nature. By damaging nature
and felling trees, be they big or small, forest concessionaires
have dashed to pieces indigenous people's future.
Recently, the situation has deteriorated because the control
of tree felling in West Kalimantan has weakened. It is natural
that forest concessionaires vie for control over land, so that
in many cases it is locals who are victimized. When forest
concessionaires are busy using their chain saws to fell trees,
indigenous locals, who have felled only one tree to meet their
household needs, are accused of stealing.
This is indeed a portrait of injustice.
West Kalimantan is also endowed with abundant gold deposits.
Since the 17th century, Chinese immigrants have mined gold in
Sambas. They first camethere at the request of the Sultan of
Sambas, Aboebakar Tadjoedin I. Once, a dispute among gold
miners in the area triggered a civil war.
West Kalimantan's coastal area, from Singkawang to Pemangkat,
Tebas and Sambas, is famous for its fertile soil.
Tagged "a rice granary", the area also produces the famous
Sambas is also known as a copra and pepper producer, two
commodities which, when sold to Malaysia after they are
processed, bring in lucrative proceeds.
It is interesting to find out who owns these mining, forestry,
agricultural and estate companies. Unsurprisingly, the enterprises
are controlled by former president Soeharto's family members
and their associates. Tommy Soeharto, for example,
once monopolized the sale of Pontianak oranges and Soeharto
associates control gold mines in Monterado and Budok.
Indigenous locals have lived in an oppressive atmosphere
brought about by years of exploitation and injustice.
During the New Order era, protests against encroachment upon
one's property and efforts to maintain private ownership were
considered acts against the government.
No one dared to stand up against this unjust allegation.
During the New Order era, the government always discovered
means to suppress the anger of indigenous locals in Sambas.
The suppressed anger was a sort of time bomb; once the anger
could be no longer suppressed, it found its own target and
not necessarily rational ones.
Anything could be targeted as long as the anger could be channeled.
Unfortunately, those targeted are Madurese migrants.
In fact, they have done nothing wrong. What is wrong is the
stereotypical image and opinion built about them.
To indigenous locals, Madurese migrants are often viewed
as people sent by the government to usurp West Kalimantan's
agricultural and mining assets. They are regarded as symbols of
a new colonialism which must be opposed.
The question is: "Who constructed and inflated this image
of Madurese migrants? Provocateurs?"
If yes, who are they and what are their interests? Even if
provocateurs were in Sambas and fanned the riots, the
authorities should have been able to localize the situation in
order to prevent the trouble from escalating. Local leaders
are well aware that riot-related matters must be approached
culturally through customary laws. A security approach,
introduced by the government on several occasions,
will never solve the problem.
However, such a cultural approach was not adopted when
a group of Madurese migrants took revenge upon a group of
Malays, killing a Dayak. To the Dayaks, intentional bloodshed
and deaths are taboo. In such cases, they apply the traditional
law of "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth".
But this traditional law can always be exercised in a different
manner according to the local custom. For example, a head,
can be replaced by another object as long as a special rite is
performed for this purpose.
Unfortunately, security apparatuses were too slow taking
action and were unresponsive to this matter.
Failure to settle this issue on the basis of customary law
made the criesof war unavoidable. The chief of the Dayaks
issued "a red bowl", indicating a declaration of war, which had
to be passed on to the war commander of each tribe.
As soon as the red bowl was received, all Dayaks joined
forces to fight against the attackers.
This kind of war will never be stopped unless a rite is held
to recall the spirit of war. In the case of the recent riot in
Sambas, this rite should have been held immediately to
prevent the riot from escalating and spreading to other places.
In the short term, a rite to recall the spirit of war must be
immediately performed. Then, as is customary, ethnic groups
embroiled in the dispute should draw up, agree to and pledge
to comply with a peace pact.
In the long term, the central government should not repeat
past mistakes.For example, local leaders (governors and
district heads), should be selected among the best candidates
in the region, not from candidates appointed by the government.
Last but not least, the government should not try to once again
avoid responsibility for its actions. The government must punish
those exploiting the natural wealth of West Kalimantan. It should not
scapegoat migrants of a certain ethnic group; these migrants are innocent.
The writer, born in Sambas, is a Dayak ethnology researcher.
Window: To indigenous locals, Madurese migrants are often
viewed as people sent by the government to usurp West
Kalimantan's agricultural and mining assets. They are regarded as
symbols of a new colonialism which must be opposed.
Printed in The Jakarta Post
Tuesday, April 20, 1999
All contents copyright © of The Jakarta Post.
The Globe and Mail, Friday, March 9, 2001
Leave us in peace
The Dayaks of Borneo have been called savage -- but we
are only protecting our land, says author RISKA ORPA SARI
By Riska Orpa Sari
Hundreds of people have been killed on the island of Borneo
in the past few weeks. News reports tell the world that the Dayak
people of Kalimantan, in the Indonesian part of Borneo, have been
attacking non-Dayaks, mainly settlers from the island of Madura,
with spears and machetes -- sometimes beheading them.
The stories recall those from West Borneo in 1997 when more
than 5,000 Madurese settlers were killed and thousands more lost
their homes and possessions. But this time, the war is in Sampit,
only four hours drive from where my family lives.
As a Dayak woman born and raised in a Dayak community in
Central Kalimantan, I understand what our people feel.
For centuries, our needs and rights have been denied by the
government. Their policy has brought only suffering to our people,
especially as they send millions of transmigrants from the most
crowded islands of Java and Madura to our island.
The government's intention is to give a better life to those
transmigrants. They encourage them to open the forest,
cultivate the land and introduce a modern way of life to the Dayak,
because we are considered by many outsiders as primitive
and uneducated tribal people.
A flow of human beings has been sent like cattle to Kalimantan.
Thousands of hectares of lush rain forest have been clear-cut
to fill the need for land for the newcomers. Since the program
started, the region has suffered enormous destruction.
Any voice from indigenous people has been repressed to
silence. The soil of Borneo is heavy with the weight of so many
people, who bring destruction to the rain forest on which we
indigenous people depend for life.
For the Dayak, the natural world is important to our culture,
our belief and our way of life. Borneo, third-largest island in
the world after Greenland and New Guinea, is home to many
rare species, such as orangutans, clouded leopards and the
Dayak holy bird, the great hornbill.
For thousands of years, we made peace with nature.
Our every basic need is still supplied by the rain forest -- food,
meat, essential material and medicine.
Even our ancient beliefs: We are born of the forest, live by the
forest, die and are buried in the forest. Our highest God lives
on the mountain of Sabayan, which rises out of the trees.
As to our belief, we are obliged to take care of nature and
guard our God's home from destruction.
Meanwhile, the source of life for the Dayak and many rare
species of wildlife is intensively cut and timbered.
The earth is intensively mined for gold and diamonds,
leaving the island bald, dry and exhausted. The Dayak
people realize that their Gods are now homeless and poor.
They voice their objections, but no one bothers to pay
It's obvious that our rights and welfare are not an important
issue to the government. They think we should be thankful to
have the leftover scrub.When the Dayak realized that every
aspect of their way of life, the beauty of nature that they
worship and even the sacred places of their Gods had
been hreatened, tension began to mount.
The wealth of the island had been ruthlessly taken away,
leaving nothing for them to live on. The greatest rain forest
in the world was now dry and poor. There were no animals
left on the cleared land. Hunger forced the Dayak to migrate
to towns for a handful of rice, but these forest people could
not compete with the newcomers in their land.
So, betrayed and exploited, the anger exploded. Being
used, neglected and ignored left our people bitter.
The need to defend our land has come to the surface,
the need to take our land and natural world back.
Being trampled over for many years brought pain
and disappointment, but it also brought the Dayak
We think the Madurese people are hard-willed and
aggressive. Madura is known as the driest, poorest,
most overpopulated island in Indonesia. For many
years, its people have sought every possible means
of making a living--cutting the forest, mining the ground,
even stealing from others when necessary.
But once the forest is cut, the soil is too thin to grow
anything but oil-palm trees.
In Kalimantan, this has made the disappointed newcomers
grow angry and reckless. This place they had come to
was supposed to be rich with opportunity.
Its natural wealth was supposed to be abundant!
Suddenly, indigenous people felt afraid.
For years, others have accused the Dayaks of envy.
But if we envied people for living a better life, we
would envy the Chinese, Malaysians, Javanese or
Balinese who also live among us.
We do not live in peace with the Madurese.
While most of the world is misled to think of the
Dayak as uncivilized and barbaric, I know that the
Dayak people want to live in peace with nature.
We are the people of the forest. We do not make
peace with people who destroy our home.
It is a sad fact that our welfare does not matter to
the government. They deny our welfare as they
have denied the welfare of the East Timorese.
Kalimantan makes the largest contribution of
timber in Indonesia. For the government, it is a
cash crop. Dealing with poor, uneducated indigenous
people is an advantage, whereas bringing
education and development to the Dayak will
only cause the government problems.
We who fought for the independence of our nation
from the Dutch have been forgotten. Our rice
paddies and longhouses are in the path of the
bulldozers. Our land is given to the Madurese,
along with any available jobs. Is there a better future
for us and our children? Is there justice for my people?
It is the government that destroys the rain forest and
endorses the activities of greedy timber tycoons.
It is the government that must save what remains.
For a century we lived very peacefully until the day of
transmigration. Then the government destroyed
everything we value in our lives. I know in my heart
that the fighting will continue unless the government
stops sending transmigrants to Kalimantan.
Riska Orpa Sari is the author of
Riska: Memories of a Dayak Girlhood
(Knopf Canada), which was shortlisted for the
Kiriyama Pacific Rim Prize.
Copyright 2000 | The Globe and Mail
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