of the pictures you sent, the underwater garden
absorbed my restless nights into its cleafts.
I could remember mothers dropped their tears
into the sea, wound by wound, salted its water
with silenced loss and rage. They had searched
for our brothers throughout the land, forced
themselves to be contented with whatever remains
they could found. They planted the bones
at the edge of horizon, it grew as corals
I could remember mothers chanted their whispers
to the ocean, pray by pray, herded the ripples
to dance with their sons, the undying souls beating
tifa drum. It was the voice from colorful layers
beneath the surface, “You made us swim with the fish
but you cannot stop the ancestor songs we sing.”
Waving the deep, the spirits shake the land.
Metro, 03-5/06/2010© Era Fiyantiningrum
Sort of explanation:
In late 70’s Arnold Ap, curator of Cendrawasih University Museum, also anthropologist and prominent indigenous leader, found Mambesak, a group he initiated with his colleague Eddy Mofu to collect the song and music from as many tribes as they could reach in West Papua, then documented and broadcasted them using his radio show. It quickly gained popularity, as well as evoking the national identity and cultural resistance of the Papuans. Following the allegation of his involvement with Free Papua Movement, he was arrested, jailed without trial in Jakarta, and then killed by the Koppasus (Elite Commando of RI Army) on Enam Coastal, 1984, people found his body day(s) after. (Later, Eddy was killed too. Other members of Mambesak fleed the country, or died, or alive with no obvious hold to the spirit of Mambesak)
It was prominent gross violation against human rights showed in West Papua, but not the last that the killed victims left abandoned on the deep forest or ocean. For instance, during the riots in December 2000, following Morning Star flag incident after the province re-christened as Papua again, there were youth died in their futile escape to the sea, under heavy bullet rain, and their body never be found.