Chief Seattle The Earth does not belong to man; Man belongs to the Earth

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Sastra

Story

Latest Release

by Wisnu Pamungkas

Kupeluk esok, agar hari ini tak pergi
surut ke belakang sebelum engkau lenyap
dalam gerimis yang membawa semua kenangan,
pada sore yang sendu-lindap
(tapi begitulah rindu yang kini menjadi piatu dalam rinai hujan dan sepotong sajak)


Makasar, 25 Maret 2017
Copyright © Alexander Mering

By Wisnu Pamungkas

Ayah merasa terlalu lelah hari ini, 
walau sekadar mengingat sepotong tali untuk mati

Karena itu dia mencari sebotol minyak wangi, 
lalu bergegas ke sebuah club malam, 
Ayah dan mikrofon bersumpah akan sehidup semati, 
menyanyikan lagu dangdut sampai nyawa mereka terpisah

Persis di bawah panggung kayu,
 tak jauh dari ayah berdiri, 
seorang pemabuk terseok lalu roboh, 
nyawanya merengang seketika
setelah mendapat khabar paling bahagia dari Ibu di rumah


Sudut Jakarta, 12 Maret 2017
Copyright © Alexander Mering

Sebelum hujan,
Akan aku katakan cinta kepada kembang,
sebelum kepompong menjelma kunang-kunang,
kota yang menyimpan benci pada pelangi, sebelum alun-alun putih oleh busa dendam,
disinilah mereka beragama karena nafsu senggama,
berulang-ulang melafaskan nama Tuhan
dan klimaks oleh hasrat membunuh

Sebelum hujan,
Akan aku katakan cinta kepada Jakarta, kota belatung dan para garong
yang mendidik para gundik menjadi manik-manik,
memamah iklan dusta buah dada,
:luka-luka jiwa terus menerus mengalirkan nanah

Sebelum hujan,
Cinta akan menjelma beton,
menjadi uang dan lakon wayang,
mitos tentang surga yang tiketnya dikelola seseorang,
dijaga dengan mantra dan pasukan,
kurawa lapar yang liurnya menetes sampai ke tanah

Setelah hujan,  
biar kukecup keningmu yang lebam,
dan aku harus pergi meninggalkanmu
yang tengah berpesta dan ritus jalang

Setelah hujan,
kutulis sajak sendu, rindu yang telah padam

Setelah hujan, 19 Pebruari 2017
Copyright © Alexander Mering
JAKARTA, 18 February 2017 – Jakarta has a new award on courage in journalism in honor of the West Papuan editor, Oktovianus Pogau, who passed away last year. It was awarded for the first time to reporter Febriana Firdaus, who had extensively covered human rights abuses in Indonesia, the Pantau Foundation said.

“We want to honor our colleague, Oktovianus Pogau, a smart and courageous journalist, who edited Suara Papua news and highlighted human rights reporting. He passed away at a very young age, just 23 years old. We want to honor his legacy by establishing this Oktovianus Pogau award,” said Imam Shofwan, the chairman of the Pantau Foundation, in a speech to a small gathering at his office on February 13.  

The Pantau Foundation selected Febriana Firdaus, a Jakarta journalist, to receive the inaugural award. Firdaus covered Indonesia’s efforts to deal with the 1965-1966 massacres, disappearances and arbitrary detentions. She also covered discrimination, intimidations, and violence against the LGBT community in Indonesia.

“LGBT is a very sensitive subject in Indonesia where many religious communities, including Muslim organizations, still consider homosexuality a psychological disorder. Febriana Firdaus is courageous to stand up for LGBT, to affirm that LGBT is nature, and to expose their side of the story,” said Shofwan.

Firdaus was born in 1983 in Kalisat, a small town in eastern Java, and graduated from Airlangga University in Surabaya in 2007. She worked for Jawa Pos daily, Tempo magazine and Rappler online. She is currently a freelance journalist.

Atmakusumah Astraatmadja, a former chairman of Indonesia’s Press Council and himself an award-winning journalist, presented the award to Firdaus that evening, welcoming the launch of the award and congratulating Firdaus.

Allan Nairn, another award-winning journalist based in New York, gave a speech, talking about courage in journalism in the Trump’s “proto fascism era.” Nairn spoke about the challenges the press faced in covering a president like Donald Trump, who lies constantly but is also hugely entertaining.

Nairn noted that the United States provides a warning to Indonesia because the same proto-fascists that rose to power in the United States are also trying to achieve power in Indonesia, though it isn’t clear yet whether or not they will suceed.

In her blog, Firdaus wrote, “… this award is not about me or other future winners. This is a gentle reminder of the name Okto Pogau but it’s also more than about his name. His name represents the unsolved human rights abuses in Papua.”


Oktovianus Pogau was born in Sugapa in the Central Highlands on August 5, 1992 and died on January 31, 2016 in Jayapura.

He won an Indonesian writing competition when he was 14 years old, letting him to travel away from his native West Papua and to take part in a writing course in Yogyakarta, Java Island. He learned WordPress and created his own blog when he was 16 years old. He moved to Jakarta in 2010, studying international relations and becoming a freelance journalist.

In October 2011, he covered a peaceful gathering of thousands of Papuan men and women in Jayapura, discussing their political aspiration to be independent from Indonesia. Indonesian police used excessive force to disperse them. They fired warning shots, beating and kicking those ethnic Papuans. Three men died of gunshot wounds, around 600 were detained and five of their leaders were tried and sentenced to three years imprisonment.

Pogau was upset when seeing that most Indonesian media did not proportionally cover the abuses. He decided to set up Suara Papua (Papuan Voice) on December 10, 2011, exactly on the international human rights day, to cover rights abuses in West Papua. He made Suara Papua to be a platform for young Papuant to report and to write their stories.

Pogau also engaged his audience with his sharp political analysis. He used his knowledge and network to advocate for civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights for ethnic Papuans. He was also sympathetic to the National Committee of West Papua, a large Papuan youth organization, which is campaigning for a referendum in West Papua.

In October 2012, when he was covering one of their rallies in Manokwari, he was beaten on a street corner. Several police officers stopped him from taking photos. He suffered bruises and complained. The West Papua police later apologized but his union, Indonesia’s Alliance of Independent Journalists, refused to help him, arguing that Pogau was also an activist and declaring him of crossing the line between journalism and activism.

Pogau wrote extensively about the restriction for foreign journalists to visit West Papua. He protested against the discriminations against ethnic Papuan journalists and the intensive use of journalists, both Indonesian and Papuans, to be military and police informers.

He indirectly made President Joko Widodo in May 2015 to declare the Indonesian bureaucracy to stop restrictions on foreign journalists covering the West Papua. Unfortunately, Jokowi command has not been fulfilled completely. He travelled to the United States in December 2015, writing about African Americans dealing with violence and contemplating about the similar among dark-skin curly-hair Papuans.

The jurors of the award include Alexander Mering (Kampong Journalism Movement in Pontianak, Kalimantan), Andreas Harsono (researcher at Human Rights Watch in Jakarta, Java), Coen Husain Pontoh (chief editor at Indo Progress news portal in New York), Made Ali (environmentalist at Jikalahari in Pekanbaru, Sumatra), Yuliana Lantipo (editor at Jubi daily in Jayapura, West Papua).

The mandate of this award is to exclude financial gift nor a generous ceremony, hoping that it will be sustainable and making the jurors to concentrate only in selecting a winner. It is to be announced every year on January 31. 

When presenting the award, Imam Shofwan talked about his personal experience with Pogau, "Once he called me on my mobile and I heard gunshots on the backgrounds. I told him to run but he keep on talking, asking me to tweet. He continuously tried to bring out rights abuses in Papua. He died young but his courage should inspire other journalists."


Bagaimana harus kukayuh perahu,
jika sungai-sungaimu tak lagi berkelok ke hulu,
dan ikan-ikan telah memisahkan diri dari lubuk
karena mimpi buruk yang menyisakan ngilu

Bagaimana harus kukayuh perahu,
jika pohon-pohon sudah rebah ke tanah
basah oleh  air mata ibu, saat anak-anak tersesat mencari para ayah
yang punah ditangkap para perompak dari seberang laut biru

Bagaimana harus kukayuh perahu,
jika tahun-tahun  penantianmu telah kau jadikan manik-manik,
bajou-nya yang ditaburkan ke udara bekerdap sepanjang malam
pertanda sikerei telah pergi meninggalkan Uma
membiarkan anak-anak kesurupan di rumah papan
pemberian seorang menteri negara

Bagaimana harus kukayuh perahu,
jika sagu-sagu telah menggantikan nasi,
yang digiring ke dalam piring
oleh Orde Baru dan derap sepatu serdadu

Nah, terbanglah kau kailaba,
carilah makan di restoran,
dan belajarlah di Lemhanas untuk menjadi garuda,
pakai juga batik Jogja atau Pekalongan,
agar kau tak mengalami nasib Sultan Hamid
dari tanah sakit bumi Kalimantan

Bagaimana harus kukayuh perahu,
setelah cinta menjadi petaka, antara anak, ayah dan ibu,
di republik yang masih menyimpan syahwat khianat
para amtenar, mandor-mandor dan teror

O, bagaimana harus kukayuh lagi ini perahu,
melaju tanpa arah dan alamat, sudah lama simagere-ku tersesat
di antara heboh iklan pariwisata dan rapat senat

Kukayuh juga ini perahu,
walau pompong telah menjelma menjadi kereta,
dan sayap kunang-kunang menjadi kapal terbang
yang mengirim roh-roh nenek moyang
pulang ke tanah perburuan kekal tersunyi didunia

Mentawai, 25 Juni 2016

*Turuk (bahasa Mentawai) = tarian yang dilakukan saat upacara pemanggilan roh oleh sikerei

Copyright © Alexander Mering
Order Novel disini
JERNANG, buah itu kami namakan. Ada pula yang menamakannya sebagai darah naga. Buah hutan bernilai tinggi yang konon kabarnya mampu mengatasi banyak penyakit. Termasyhurnya[1] buah ini membuat keberadaannya dicari tidak hanya oleh kami, tetapi juga mereka yang ada di luar hutan sana. Buah yang membuat kami bisa berdagang dan bertemu muka-muka baru.  
"Berharga emas Mak, duo sampai tigo juta rupiah perkilonyo tapi di tingkat pencari tentu saja hanya berharga tujuh sampai lapan ratus ribu rupiah!" ujar Usman, waktu kutanya harga jernang ini di luar sana. Awal mendengarnya membuatku terhenyak, apakah ini berkah ataukah kutukan. Terus terang aku khawatir dengan mahalnya Jernang akan membuat orang-orang di luar sana mencari Jernang dan kami pun akan menyingkir makin dalam ke belantara hutan. 

Aku mendengar banyak cerita dimana ditemukannya emas, maka disitulah orang akan berbondong-bondong datang untuk mencarinya. Aku juga mendengar mengenai rusaknya hutan dimana terdapat daerah-daerah tambang. Orang-orang menjadi beringas dan tak lagi melihat bahwa semua itu hanyalah bagian kecil dari yang alam berikan kepada kita dan kita tidak boleh serakah dalam memanfaatkannya. Sejak saat itu, aku mulai khawatir kilaunya harga jernang akan membawa orang-orang dengan sifat buruk seperti itu kemari. Dan yang paling kutakutkan adalah dampaknya bagi anak-anakku. Tapi selama nafasku masih dapat menarik dan menghembus, aku pasti akan membimbing mereka sampai suatu ketika mereka siap untuk memiliki rombongan sendiri. Dan semua berawal ketika kelima orang yang sehari sebelumnya dikabarkan datang hendak menemuiku berjalan mendekat untuk meminta berteduh.

Hari mulai gelap, hujan menderas disertai angin nan menderu merupakan awal dari cerita pedih bagi keluargaku. Tapang mulai menghidupkan pelita yang menerangi tenda kami malam itu. Meski kelebatan hujan hendak menutupi decak langkah, tapi telinga tuaku ini tak bisa dibohongi ketika serombongan orang berjalan mendekat.

"Inka coba kamu lihat siapa yang datang?"



Demikian sepenggal narasi, petikan dari BAB pertama dari Novel karya Paul Tao Widodo yang berjudul Perempuan di Ujung Tembawang.

Sebuah novel lingkungan yang reflektif tentang pergulatan hidup seorang ibu, Suku Anak Dalam (SAD)  yang terjepit di sisa hutan antara hamparan perkebunan kapa sawit di Kabupaten Damasraya, Sumatera Barat.

Buku ini menarik, selain karena penulisnya sendiri belum pernah menginjakan kaki ke tanah Sumatera, juga karena ditulis dari berbagai sudut pandang. Baik dari tokoh  utama cerita, yaitu SAD atau yang kerab juga disebut Orang Rimba, sudut pandang aktivis NGO, koorperasi perkebunan sawit, bahkan juga sudut pandang orang Dayak di Kalimantan Barat sana--yang nasibnya tak jauh berbeda.

Paul Tao Widodo sendiri, adalah penulis novel sejarah Republik Lanfang yang tinggal di Kalimantan Barat.

Saya bangga bisa terlibat dalam proses penulisan, menyediakan data, mengedit hingga mempromosikan novel ini sebagai sebuah gerakan untuk membantu pedidikan anak-anak SAD dampingan  SSS Pundi Sumatera di 3 kabupaten di Sumatera saat ini.

Apalagi niat awal dari penulis buku ini, yang kemudian direstui penerbitnya yaitu TOP Indonesia, bahwa sebagian dari penjualan buku setebal 500 hlm ini kelak akan didonasikan untuk itu.

Bagi yang ingin ikut mendonasi dan memesan novel silahkan pesan di link berikut ini.

Copyright © Alexander Mering
Bang Doy
By Alexander Mering

One rainy morning, a third grader rushed towards a wooden motorboat that was about to leave upstream along Kepuluk River. Before anyone could stop him, Doy, the skinny child had jumped into the motorboat and sat comfortably alongside the loggers and logistic officers who worked for the timber companies along the river.

He could not wait to go fishing, to join his father and grandfather who had been staying overnight the past week at a hut by the rivers edge, in the middle of a 28 thousand hectares of peat swamp forest - to fish.

***

He sat right in front of me in the rainy weather at a small cafe in the suburbs of Ketapang for an interview. Although he was not a child anymore, people still call him ‘Doy’. In his identification card his full name is Abdurahman Al Qadrie; a civil servant who is also a teacher.

“At the time, it was the school holidays…it was in 1983,” he said, running his hands across his hair. It was December; the winds were strong and the seas were violent. To come to this cafe, Doy had to ride in the heavy rain and strong winds.

We were in Ketapang, a city located at the top of the delta between the South China Sea and the Pawan River. Of the 14 districts in the province of West Kalimantan, this the largest district with an area of 31, 240.74 km² .

Famous for its birds’ nest, mining and timber, this regency which is also known as Kayong land is infamous for being the fastest regency to destroy its tropical forests over the past 20 years. The damage was carried out by loggers, miners and huge oil palm plantations. The 90,000 hectares of forest at the Mount Palung National Park is located within the Ketapang Regency. It also connects the forests to Sukadana Regency, the last refuge for more than 3000 orangutans.

According to Project Manager for International  Animal Rescue (IAR) Foundation Indonesia, Karmele Liano sanchez, between 500 to 800 orangutans are trapped in the peat swamp forest of Permatang Gadung. The forest, that serves as a corridor connecting Permatang Gadung and other forests in the National Park has been destroyed by humans.

Based on data from Wahana Lingkungan Hidup (Walhi) West Kalimantan, this regency has been issuing the highest number of permits to open oil palm plantations. As of July 2013, there were 76 oil palm companies operating in Ketapang with an estimated area of ​​838, 855, 99 hectares.

Data from the Mining Department Ketapang highlighted 78 companies that were given exploration permits with a total area of ​​990, 060 hectares. Mining license holders operated 56 companies covering an area of 196,592.8 hectares. Whilst, the total ​mining area in Ketapang has reached 1,186,661.8 hectares.

***

Doy stared straight through the rain while awaiting for his coffee. Pondering silently, he recollects the past seemingly hidden behind the torrid rain. I ordered a cup of cappuccino, and the cafe owner, Marlin swiftly makes the hot brew.

For Marlin, Doy was not only his regular customer at the cafe but well-known among the regulars as a storyteller.

There was no music today, only the heavy sounds of the pouring rain. The electricity had gone out several times since the afternoon, and in the dimly lit cafe Doy’s shadow reminded me of George Duke, the legendary jazz keyboardist who passed away recently. But Doy was not Duke, although both had a thin wisp of a moustache and curly hair.  Doy was not even a Jazz fan!

Doy was lost in his thoughts. He lighted a cigarette and inhaled deeply without flinching at the slightest noise. He started talking again.

"My father is of Arab descent, a heritage tracing back to the Pontianak Kadriah Sultanate. He was a great teacher, who set up a school in Permatang Gadung. The school was later converted to a national school by the government and my father became a farmer later on. He spent his time fishing in the rivers and was always in the forests here at Permatang Gadung. With us, his children, he would go hunting, fishing and travel around frequently. He advised us to take care of the forest that gave us ‘life’,” said Doy, half muttering.

His father also kept three dogs as pets, although they are Muslim families. The dogs always accompanied the family trips to the farm, river, and especially when they hunted for deer in the forest.

Doy and the Permatang Gadung forest were not easily separated. He worked briefly at a construction company after finishing his education at the Government Technical Secondary School 1 Pontianak.

Doy did not stay long in the city and returned to his hometown in the village. The chirp of birds, hum of insects,, cries of the orang utan (Pongo pygmaeus pygmaeus), Proboscis monkey, (Nasalis larvatus), Triton (Presbytis rubycunda), Kelempiau (Hylobates muelleri), Langur (Presbytis cristata), and long-tailed macaques (Pacicularis macacca) that he often heard while lying in the hut with his father at the village was more melodious than the loud sounds of dangdut music that echoed in the dimly lit cafes in Pontianak city.

He remembered the glow from the fireflies, lighting the edge of the forests - a sight more magical than fireworks lighting up the night on a New Year’s eve celebration in the city. The unseen memories whispered silently, urging him to come home.

Doy was willing to be a part-time teacher in the village with a meagre salary of Rp 450,000 a month, as long as he could spend time in the forest of Permatang Gadung during the weekends. He would spend the time taking pictures, sniffing the smell of the peat swamp while enjoying the musical cacophony of the irreplaceable sounds of the forest - a luxury that could not be bought by Doy from a supermarket anywhere in the world.

There were not only abundant fish in the small streams in Permatang Gadung, but also various types of rare and unique flora and fauna. Their numbers are also at a critical level.

A study by the Ketapang Biodiversity Keeping and Kawan Burung Ketapang (KBK), found many species of amphibians from frogs to lizards, and reptiles such as alligators and also different species of insects, endangered primates  to rare birds. This included one of the most sought after flora in the world, the Black Orchid (Coelogyne pandurata).

For generations, the villagers in the area including Doy and his family have been keeping a close watch over the sacred forest.

***

A gust of wind blew the shutters nearby. The electricity had come on again. Doy was drinking his cold coffee. I called Marlin for another two cups of hot coffee. The cold was starting to creep over us.

“Bro, have you ever heard of the Storm Stork a bird of the family Ciconiidae?”

I shook my head, as I was not a bird lover; although we shared the same love of the forest and birds.

“The birds live there in Permatang Gadung. I used to keep one,” said Doy, his voice drowned by the rumble of thunder.

Later, I looked up the bird on the internet and found that the Storm Stork (Ciconia Stormi) was nearly extinct. The bird, distinctive with an orange - yellowish bare facial skin, with black and white plumage with red bill is thought to be only 250 to 500 left in the wild. Their habitats are limited to the areas of Sumatera, Kalimantan and Brunei.  

In 2011, a young civil servant, Erik Sulidra, accidentally captured the bird on his camera. The incident spurred Erik to join Doy and his friends on a photographic journey, capturing wildlife. Erik is now one of the best wildlife photographers in Ketapang.

At one time, in order to save a Storm's Stork chick at the hands of a hunter, Doy used some of the money he had from his meagre salary as a teacher. The chick was starving and had not yet grown its feathers. Doy brought the chick to his home in the village of Tuan-tuan in Ketapang. Mira, his eldest daughter named the bird, Edi. Two years later, Edi became healthier and more independent. Doy trained the bird near a swamp behind his house. In 2012, Edi was released into Permatang Gadung and in 2013 the bird appeared briefly near a pond at the home.

“It was only a brief moment, and then it flew again,” said Doy, whose daughter Mira had spied the bird.

In another incident, Doy asked a Chinese taukeh at the Ketapang wet market to release a grey crowned eagle that had been caught in a fishing line. As he had lost interest in keeping the bird, a voracious eater, he was happy to part with it. Doy was estatic and with Kawan Burung Ketapang and Ketapang Biodiversity Keeping members went to the Permatang Gadung forest to release the bird into the wild. 

Where is Permatang Gadung forest located? Doy was always full of praise for the area. He even dubbed it the ‘Heart of Ketapang’.

Administratively, the area is a jurisdiction under the Permatang Gadung village of the South Matan Hilir sub-district. It is located only about 30 kilometers from the city of Ketapang. It is almost entirely peat swamp forest, which is also  a secondary forest.  According to data recorded by the KBK, the total area is 28 thousand hectares. But now it is estimated that the size has been reduced to 14,000 hectares. The rest of the area is heath forest and deserted gold mines that operated without permits, covering more than 7,000 hectares as well a settlement area with a population of 2,839 inhabitants.

Doy grew up here. Born just four days before Christmas in 1975 to Yahya Abdulah and Syamsiah. They are a family of farmers, seasonal fishermen and hunters and had to feed 10 children. Doy was the seventh son.

I can feel Doy’s anxiousness. I tried to comfort him, although it seemed pointless. Only last month, I witnesses the Kepuluk River flooded turn into sludge, contaminated from illegal gold mines upriver. Never mind the crocodiles, even the seluang (devario regina) fish was almost difficult to find.

"I only saw a glimpse (of the destruction), could you tell me more, Bang Doy?”

He did not answer the question immediately. His hand reached for another cigarette. This was the umpteenth stick that he had puffed on, since we sat talking. I glanced at the ashtray, almost full with cigarette butts.

"Now the forest area continues to shrink. When I was young it was a haven for birds, a shelter, and home to the various species of monkeys and small mammals such as the orang utans," he said, like a scientist.
 
Or wasn’t he a scientist? It's just that he did not hold a degree from a university. Doy and his colleagues had identified various types of flora and fauna there. They documented the findings, and attached to it the local and scientific latin names.

Doy could identify the endemic animals or bird migrants that stopped by. He believes the Permatang Gadung forest was a miniature world reflecting the co-existing habitat in Ketapang Regency. This is because about 95 per cent of birds and mammals in Ketapang Regency can be found in the forest.

Before the government gave permission to the oil palm plantations, before the gold miners ravaged the land, the Permatang Gadung forest was a beautiful oasis, sustainer of life for the villagers. They fished, took the plants, and hunted the animals selectively. This is now different to the ways of the people who live greedily.

The threat of deforestation since the 1990s, mining, massive fire and oil palm plantations continue to narrow the area where plants once thrived. This has threatened not only the wildlife, but also the survival of the local community. The forest is not only a collection of flora and fauna but in essence is an important universe viable economically, socially and culturally for all living things.

***

His efforts at conservation started when he taught in the village. He constantly reminded the families living there to not be swayed by the riches offered by mining firms and oil palms who eyed their lands greedily.

To equip himself, Doy attended conservation awareness seminars at the local and national levels. He was subsequently chosen as a head village in 2007 and had free reign to plan his movements.

He lashed out openly against corporate entities eyeing their land. He invited his friends to formed the Bird Kawan Ketapang (KBK) community, which was also later known as Ketapang Biodiversity Keeping (KBK).

They photograph the wildlife and can be often found roaming in and out of the woods to capture images of animals and the nature around them. His salary of only Rp700,000 a month was often used to further the cause.

“Because of that, once, a high-ranking security officer in Ketapang threatened to shoot me in the head, "he said, while flicking away his cigarette ash.

The person had accused Doy of helping a national TV station to uncover a story on the impact of gold mining without permits in the area. This has resulted in pollution to Kepuluk river, and threatened the remaining forested areas in Permatang Gadung. Even so, with or without anyone’s aid, Doy still strives to protect the area.

Due to his efforts, in 2012, the United States Agency for International Development-Indonesia Forest and Climate Support Project (USAID-IFACS) listed Permatang Gadung forest as part of their landscape project in Kalimantan, under the Ketapang Regional office. To learn more on USAID-IFACS, click here http://www.ifacs.or.id/id.

Moreover, some of the well-establihed NGOs such as Fauna & Flora International (FFI), and the International Animal Rescue (IAR) Foundation Indonesian had yet to carry out a detailed research and survey of the activities in the area.

***
The rain did not wane. The night wore on. Our coffee had long gone cold. Maybe as cold as the faith Doy had in the Indonesian government that had ‘supported’ the villagers of Permatang Gadung. The Forestry Minister of Indonesia is said to have decreed an area of 14,000 hectares of forest for the villages in the vicinity. However, to date he had yet to seen the purported decree sheet. Hence, Permatang Gadung was still not safe from the radar of speculators and financiers.

Today, Doy was sitting here, in front of me, on a rainy night until the city had become deserted. He continued to ramble though the interview although it had long finished. He talks about the mystery of the forest that were as complex as the human future - of a sketch and legends tales that humans would be able to live long or die quickly.

Doy pulled out another cigarette, but did not light it. We became increasingly bored at waiting for the rain to stop,as if there was no tomorrow. Night was becoming pitch black. We eventually forced ourselves to brace the rain. Doy gave me a ride to the inn where I stayed.

The next day I read the news online at http://www.indosiar.com. There were reports of seven districts in West Kalimantan that had been flooded. Tens of thousands of homes, rice fields, cattle and a number of lives were lost - it reminded me of Bang Doy who has chosen to live as a conservationist, devoting most of his life to look after a patch of forest.*)
  

Copyright © Alexander Mering
Ilustrasi saja
By Wisnu Pamungkas

 Pukul tiga dinihari ayah terjaga. Tiba-tiba dia menemukan dirinya sudah tak lagi memiliki negara. Tapi bukan ayah namanya kalau dia menyerah begitu saja. Ayah bergegas menghidupkan computer, mengambil segenggam kunang-kunang dan menaburkannya ke udara.

“Aku ingin berkebun cahaya,” tulis ayah singkat di akun twitter-nya.

Jakarta, 19 Juni 2016


*Sajak dipetik dari buku: Seringai Kunang-kunang
Copyright © Alexander Mering


Di salah satu bukit gersang di Desa Meurumba, Sumba Timur  tetap bisa tumbuh pohon yang hijau. Photo by Mering


By Wisnu Pamungkas

Kalau saja aku terlahir kembali ke dunia,
aku akan memilih lahir di Sumba,
di padang hijau paling rumput,
biru paling langit  yang memelihara kuda-kuda

Kalau saja aku terlahir kembali ke dunia,
aku akan memilih menjadi kunang-kunang saja,
menggelantang bersama bintang-bintang,
merapal hamayang untuk mengembalakan cahaya
bulan dari savanna ke savana

Kalau saja aku terlahir kembali ke dunia,
biarlah aku menjadi penjaga gunung,
batu-batu keranda dan gua-gua,
yang menggembalakan kerbau jantan dari senja ke senja

Kalau saja aku terlahir kembali ke dunia,
aku akan memilih lahir di Sumba

Meurumba, 23 April 2016
Copyright © Alexander Mering