|The dial seems frozen on despair. The picture above, by the Indonesian artist Ivana Kurniawati, is of Wiji Thukul, born in 1963 in Java (Indonesia) and disappeared since 1998. He was the founder of Sanggar Suka Banjir (Frequent Flooding Studio) – an arts project – and a militant of the Partai Rakyat Demokratik (People’s Democratic Party). We are grateful to Eliza Virtri Handayani for giving us a glimpse of Wiji Thukul’s poems. Here is one of them:
My poems aren’t poetry.
They’re dark words.
They sweat, they push one another to get out.
You can’t kill them, although you strike my eye.
You can’t kill them, although you tear me from home.
Although you stab me with loneliness, you just can’t kill them.
I’ve paid the price.
With my time, my strength, my wounds.
Wiji Thukul is known best for one line – only one word remains: fight!
He would recognize people such as Isabel Crook (born in 1915), whom I met last month in Beijing. Here is a small report on meeting that legendary socialist.
I imagine Wiji Thukul helping us write the Phrasebook of Imperialism with his wit and feeling.
And Isabel Crook encouraging us with her resilience and her fortitude.
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