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Indonesia: One Struggle One Change
One Struggle, One Change is a comprehensive 30-minute documentary shot in Indonesia and East Timor in 1997. The documentary captures the current political climate through the voices of those long silenced. Pro-democracy advocates, East Timorese, labor organizers, students, and workers speak out about life under the boot of the Suharto regime.
The documentary moves from an elderly farmer's scornful appraisal of the Suharto regime to the trials of activists from the outlawed People's Democratic Party, many of whom are currently serving harsh prison sentences on trumped-up charges of subversion. Like jailed independent trade unionist Muchtar Pakpahan, their real crimes were calling for living wages, the right to free association, democracy in politics and economic justice.
The video features interviews with Co-Recipient of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize and Special Representative of the East Timorese resistance umbrella group, the CNRT, Jose Ramos-Horta; jailed labor leaders Muchtar Pakpahan and Dita Sari; Professor of Indonesian Literature Sylvia Tiwon; and award-winning Indonesian journalist Andreas Harsono.
Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country, is at a tenuous point in its fractured, violent history. President Suharto came to power more than 30 years ago in a military coup that resulted in up to a million dead and thousands jailed. His regime's development model has opened the archipelago to international investment while increasing the gap between rich and poor. Since 1975 it has brutally occupied East Timor, killing more than 200,000 people and engaging in systemic campaigns of rape, murder and torture.
With the ruling government party receiving more than 70% of vote, last year's stage-managed election--cynically called a "festival of democracy" by the regime -- was illegally boycotted by many Indonesians. Independent Indonesian journalist Andreas Harsono observes that "the government is not being supported by the people anymore. The government is now only supported by the military and the bureaucracy."
This much needed critique of the nightmarish underside of the Indonesian "economic miracle" is a powerful call to action. By painting a living, breathing picture of those who fight for democracy and justice in their homeland, Indonesia: One Struggle, One Change challenges the entire international community to stand in solidarity with these courageous people.
Indonesia: One Struggle, One Change
Written and Produced by Medea
Benjamin and Maria Luisa Mendonca
Filmed and Directed by Maria Luisa Mendonca
Edited by Vicente Franco and Gail Daugin
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Indonesia: One Struggle, One Change was produced by Global Exchange, a non-profit human rights, education and action center dedicated to promoting people-to-people ties between the global North and South. By educating the public about global issues, we hope to encourage governments and institutions to move toward policies that promote democratic societies, economic justice and sustainable development.