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Artists hold symbolic action to ward off the anti-porno law ‘disaster’

Detik.com - September 22, 2008

Muchus Budi R., Solo – Scores of artists in the Central Java city of Solo went to the Surakarta Regional House of Representatives building today to hold a symbolic action using palm leaf ribs imbedded with spices. They intended the action as a rejection against the enactment of the Draft Anti-Pornography Law (UU AP) that the House of Representatives plans to ratify tomorrow.

In traditional Javanese society, palm leaf ribs whose tips have been imbedded with various kinds of spices are believed to be able to ward of disasters or catastrophes that comes from supernatural creatures. The palm leaf ribs are then stuck in corners around the house with the intention of protecting it from disaster.

This old fashioned tradition was ‘reopened’ by Solo artists to address the planned enactment of the anti-pornography law. They believe that if the draft law is applied as legislation a massive disaster will occur in the country because a number of articles in the law are considered prone to creating disintegration and a threat to national diversity.

The demonstrators began gathering on the grounds of the Solo DPRD complex on Jl. Adi Sucipto at 10am. They then imbedded the palm leaves that had been brought by individual protesters in banana tree branches that had been placed on the DPRD building flag pole roundabout.

It was not just artist that joined in with the symbolic protest against the draft law, but a number of Solo DPRD members also planted the palm leaf ribs including the head of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle faction YF Sukasno and Peace and Prosperity Party faction member Ana Budiarti.

Following this, the artists went to the DPRD building to meet with house speaker Hariadi Saptono. Saptono received the protesters openly and promised to immediately convey their demands and a statement by Solo artist to the central government. After accepting the statement, Saptono also planted palm leaf ribs that had been given to him by the artists.

A number of well known Solo artists also joined the action including Suprapto Suryodarmo, Slamet Gundono, Cak Diqin, Eko Supriyanto and Joko Bibit. (mbr/djo)

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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