Artist Ratna Sarumpaet is calling for a monument dedicated to Marsinah to be built outside the Indonesian House of Representatives in Jakarta. Marsinah was a labor activist murdered in 1993 after leading a strike in Sidoarjo, East Java.
Ratna Sarumpaet previously published the poem “Marsinah Menggugat” (“Marsinah Accuses”) which was translated into English and published in Inside Indonesia. The poem also appears in the recently published The Indonesian Reader. Below is an excerpt:
I see so many blood-stained hands …
I see how greed can be perpetuated,
How capitalists can keep raking in profits,
Managers and those in power continue to laugh
- and chat over every drop of my sweat.
- But if a lowly worker like me dares
- open her mouth to demand a pay rise?
She’ll be killed.
And now, see how they’re using my death for humanity’s sake;
For upholding justice;
For improving the lot of workers.