YOUNGER GENERATION batak let their home land people being bullying by corrupted javanese ruler from jakarta


Many ordinary Indonesians, unsurprisingly, experience the integration of local land and forests into the world pulp and paper economy as a disintegration of local livelihoods and relationships, and their government’s gifts of low-cost forest land and riverine waste sinks to the industry as something more closely akin to theft. In Northern Sumatra, for example, Indorayon’s clearcuts, roads and plantations have displaced thousands of native Batak people in the Lake Toba area through usurping their traditional lands and degrading the environment which sustains them. Logging-related droughts have depressed rice harvests over wide areas, and Indorayon has also provoked local resentment by blocking access to common pastures essential for buffalo-raising and woodlands which villagers rely on for rattan or wood for carving; by planting eucalyptus on an ancestral graveyard; and by demeaning Batak villagers by forcibly overriding traditions of hereditary land transfers important to clan identity. Farmers from one village who agreed to grow eucalyptus for Indorayon now regret becoming involved since they are no longer allowed to pasture their animals on their land and fear Indorayon will set low prices for the wood they produce. The Indorayon pulp plant’s pollution of the Asahan river, meanwhile, has resulted in degradation of fisheries and loss of village water supplies.

Protests have been met with a classic blend of threats, beatings, cooptation and delaying tactics. In April 1989, when two plantation employees tried to rape a young girl in the village of Sugapa, village women chased the men away and ripped up eucalyptus seedlings that Indorayon had planted. At a February 1990 trial at which the ten women involved were sentenced to six months’ imprisonment (later reduced on appeal to probation), they vehemently defended their rights to the property: “The land is the only source of income that the people have. If it is planted with eucalyptus, how are we going to eat? How are we going to feed and herd our cattle?”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: