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Forest Burning and the Identity of the Iban tribe Pembakaran Hutan dan Identitas suku Iban Percakapan dengan Stephanus Mulyadi

Jimmy Hendrickx

CONVERSATION WITH STEPHANUS MULYADI

The Dayak community and their lifestyle in symbiosis with nature is threatened by a global agricultural plan and monocultures. Jimmy Hendrickx recorded the words of Stephanus Mulyadi, a witness of the changes in his society, about the need and difficulty to hold on to their ancestral wisdom, and on the importance of traditional tattoo. Komunitas Dayak dan gaya hidup mereka dalam simbiosis dengan alam terancam oleh rencana pertanian global dan monokultur. Jimmy Hendrickx mencatat kata-kata Stephanus Mulyadi sebagai saksi perubahan dalam masyarakatnya, tentang kebutuhan dan kesulitan untuk kearifan Lokal mereka, dan pentingnya tato tradisional.

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Stevanus Mulyadi, Professional Consultant for Rural Social Services and Development West Kalimantan Januari 2016/ West Kalimantan—Putusibau photos ©Jimmy Hendrickx

“The Green Revolution brought an extraordinary agricultural development to Indonesia between the 50’s and 80’s. Its aim was to boost the agricultural production. Economically, it had a positive impact for local farmers. Actually I mean for big and rich farmers who could then invest in new farming equipment. But ecologically, the green revolution had a negative impact for the environment. Because of what? For local and poor farmers, this Green Revolution has mostly negative impacts because the agricultural industry can not reach the small communities of the interior of the island. On top of that, the urge to produce and the intensification of agriculture requires the use of chemical fertilizers and chemical herbicides which severely damage local agriculture. Revolusi hijau di Indonesia itu terjadi di tahun 1950 sampai sekitar 1980an di bawah era membawa perkembangan luar biasa di dalam kultur pertanian di Indonesia.

With the intensification of agriculture, farmers use imported seeds that grow very fast, so they can be used up to three times a year. But the use of these seeds threatens the existence of local seeds which have a longer growth. As a consequence, the local farmers such as the communities in the outback of Kalimantan are seeing their local seeds disappear, these local seeds that had built up a resistance to diseases for centuries. And chemical fertilizers reduce the fertility of their fields. Tentu saja ini membawa keuntungan bagi petani- petani lokal, eh petani- petani besar, petani- petani kaya yang bisa memanfaatkan hasilnya karena meraka memiliki peralatan pertanian yang besar. Tetapi secara ekologi revolusi hijau ini membawa dampak yang negative bagi lingkungan. Karena apa?

The green revolution cleared the way for immigrants farmers with capital, who are able to buy the land that small local farmers can’t keep and are forced to sell. Ecologically, it is obvious that the Green Revolution negatively affects agriculture, especially local farms.
At the same time, many of the farmers in West Kalimantan, especially the Dayaks, are maintaining their traditional farming systems in order to protect and preserve the environment. The Dayak people—the native people of Kalimantan—traditionally own a field just big enough to feed their family or community. They would plant different varieties of seeds, including rice, because this polyculture technique respects the ecology. Communities here like the Dayak community or the Tipan community have managed to maintain their local tradition up to this day. The wisdom of local people is to not only preserve their agricultural traditions, but through this also maintain the integrity of their environment.
Namun bagi petani- petani lokal dan petani miskin revolusi hijau ini membawa banyak dampak negative karena industry pertanian tidak bisa menjangkau masyarakat kecil yang ada di pedalaman contohnya. Di sisi lain dorongan untuk menghasilkan, intensifikasi pertanian memerlukan kimia, seperti pupuk kimia dan hebrisida kimia, yang sangat merusak pertanian local.

Yearly, before planting their seeds, they burn off their land. If the land is not burned it is impossible to plant the seeds, of rice or other seeds, because there are so many shrubs that it makes it impossible. Dengan intensifikasi pertanian, benih- benih yang dipakai adalah benih yang usianya sangat pendek sehingga setahun bisa tiga kali pakai. Pada saat yang sama benih- benih ini mengancam eksistensi benih- benih lokal yang usianya lebih lama. Sehingga petani- petani lokal seperti di pedalaman Kalimantan misalnya, kehilangan benih- benih lokal yang sebenarnya tahan terhadap penyakit dan juga pupuk- pupuk kimia merusak lahan yang dimiliki petani.

The positive aspect of this tradition is that it keeps the growth of the grass and bushes under control, so the harvest on the field can be maximized. Additionally, the burning of the fields is bound to certain beliefs, of that it will enhance the fertility of the land.

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The Green Revolution brought an extraordinary agricultural development to Indonesia between the 50’s and 80’s. Its aim was to boost the agricultural production. Economically, it had a positive impact for local farmers. Actually I mean for big and rich farmers who could then invest in new farming equipment. But ecologically, the green revolution had a negative impact for the environment. Because of what? For local and poor farmers, this Green Revolution has mostly negative impacts because the agricultural industry can not reach the small communities of the interior of the island. On top of that, the urge to produce and the intensification of agriculture requires the use of chemical fertilizers and chemical herbicides which severely damage local agriculture. With the intensification of agriculture, farmers use imported seeds that grow very fast, so they can be used up to three times a year. But the use of these seeds threatens the existence of local seeds which have a longer growth. As a consequence, the local farmers such as the communities in the outback of Kalimantan are seeing their local seeds disappear, these local seeds that had built up a resistance to diseases for centuries. And chemical fertilizers reduce the fertility of their fields. The green revolution cleared the way for immigrants farmers with capital, who are able to buy the land that small local farmers can’t keep and are forced to sell. Ecologically, it is obvious that the Green Revolution negatively affects agriculture, especially local farms. At the same time, many of the farmers in West Kalimantan, especially the Dayaks, are maintaining their traditional farming systems in order to protect and preserve the environment. The Dayak people—the native people of Kalimantan—traditionally own a field just big enough to feed their family or community. They would plant different varieties of seeds, including rice, because this polyculture technique respects the ecology. Communities here like the Dayak community or the Tipan community have managed to maintain their local tradition up to this day. The wisdom of local people is to not only preserve their agricultural traditions, but through this also maintain the integrity of their environment. Yearly, before planting their seeds, they burn off their land. If the land is not burned it is impossible to plant the seeds, of rice or other seeds, because there are so many shrubs that it makes it impossible. The positive aspect of this tradition is that it keeps the growth of the grass and bushes under control, so the harvest on the field can be maximized. Additionally, the burning of the fields is bound to certain beliefs, of that it will enhance the fertility of the land. IMG O2_JH But in 2017, the government instructed that burning the forest is an illegal activity. Last year, there has been enormous forest burnings in Indonesia, especially in Kalimantan and Sumatra. While we all know that palm oil companies played a key role as the doer of these burnings, the local farmers got regulated. Ironically the palm oil companies never got blamed for it and were found not guilty. Dampak negative yang lain adalah revolusi hijau menguntungkan pemilik modal karena mereka bisa membeli lahan, sedangkan petani-petani kecil mereka akan kehilangan lahan karena mereka terpaksa menjual lahan. Secara ekologi, dapat dilihat bahwa revolusi hijau berdampak sangat negative terhadap pertanian, terutama pertanian local. Di saat yang sama, petani-petani lokal di Kalimantan yang dengan system pertanian yang tradisional khususnya berladang, banyak dari warga masyakat di Kalimantan Barat terutama masyarakat Dayak yang hidup dari pertanian local, mereka mempertahankan tradisi-tradisi lokal dengan tradisi pertanian itu mereka memelihara lingkungan hidup.
Mereka membuka lahan yang tidak terlalu besar dimana hasilnya cukup untuk dimakan dan mereka masih menanam tanaman selain padi sehingga di ladang mereka terjadi beragam-ragam tanaman dan ini merupakan hal yang positif bagi ekologi.
Di masyarakat di sini misalnya masyarakat Dayak seperti halnya juga masyarakat Tipan di sungai ote, mereka tetap mempertahankan tradisi secara local itu sampai saat ini. Ini beberapa hal yang dibuat masyarakat local, tidak hanya tradisi pertanian, tetapi juga mempertahankan keutuhan ciptaan atau mempertahankan keutuhan ekologi.
Jika lahan tidak dibakar tidak mungkin ditanami benih-benih padi atau benih lainnya, karena ada banyak semak banyak daun sehingga tidak mungkin melakukan itu. Factor lain adalah jika tidak dibakar akan terdapat banyak hama rumput akan banyak tumbuh sehingga panen tidak akan berhasil jadi pembakaran lahan ini tidak hanya untuk membakar sampai tetapi juga kearifan local untuk menimbulkan kesuburan pada tanah di ladang.

Because of the smoke haze, burning the field is now forbidden for everyone, including the local farmers. The problem is that if palm oil companies are forbidden to burn their fields, they still have heavy equipment to clear up the land, but the farmers don’t. The ban on burning forests means for them to stop all agricultural activities. It puts their lives at stake, because if they can not farm, they can not eat. This effect impacts very strongly the farmers in outback, like in Kapuas Hulu, in West Kalimantan. If they do not have the land to burn, they have nothing to live on. Tetapi tahun ini pemerintah memberikan instruksi tidak boleh membakar lahan apapun alasannya.
Yak, instruksi larangan pembakaran lahan tahun ini juga memiliki sejarahnya bahwa tahun lalu terjadi kebakaran hutan yang hebat di Indonesia terutama di Kalimantan dan di sumatera. Kebakaran itu bukan disebabkan oleh petani local atau peladang, tetapi disebabkan oleh perusahaan-perusahaan sawit yang berskla besar jutaan hektar. Tetapi ironi bahwa perusahaan- perusahaan yang dianggap membakar tahun lalu dianggap tidak bersalah sehingga mereka tidak dihukum.
Nah, sekarang akibat dari pembakaran itu akibat dari kabut asap semua orang dilarang membakar hutan dan itu terkena kepada petani local atau peladang. Persoalannya adalah jika perusahaan sawit dilarang membakar ladang, mereka masih mempunyai alat-alat berat untuk membersihkannya, tetapi bagaimana petani, larangan membakar hutan berarti menyetop semua kultur pertanian dan menyetop harapan hidup mereka karena kalau mereka tidak bertani kalau mereka tidak berladang pertanyaan dari mana mereka mendapatkan makanan. Ini berdampak sangat fatal bagi petani-petani yang berada di pedalaman seperti di sini misalnya di Kapuas Hulu di Kalimantan Barat. Jika mereka tidak memiliki lahan untuk dibakar, mereka tidak mendapatkan apa-apa untuk hidup.

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Unfortunately, the government is offering no alternative solution to this agricultural issue. Restrictions set up this year are not easy change. This causes a great turmoil in the outback of Kalimantan, especially within the farmers communities. Sementara pemerintah juga tidak member solusi apapun untuk mengganti kultur pertanian ini dengan system yang lain. Larangan yang diberikan tahun ini tentu saja tidak mudah untuk diganti yang lain. Ini yang menimbulkan keresahan yang sangat hebat di pedalaman seperti di sini di Kalimantan ini, khususnya bagi peladang.
Fakta ini sudah terjadi sebagai pendamping professional desa dan sebagai ecologist saya sudah berkeliling di wilayah-wilaya khususnya di kabupaten Kapuas hulu ini. Di banyak daerah sekarang sudah menjadi daerah perkebunan sawit, masyarakat kehilangan lahan mereka, mereka tidak bisa berladang, tidak bisa berkebun tidak bisa melakukan apapun untuk mereka hidup.

Because of my job as a professional village companion and an ecologist I have travelled around this area, especially in Kapuas Hulu. Most of the area has become palm oil plantations, people lost their land, they can not farm anymore, they can not do anything for their survival. Satu-satunya tempat mereka hidup mereka bergantung pada pekerjaan yang ada di perkebunan sawit, nah disitu terjadi proses, seperti proses cuci otak dimana diberi penyadaran disitu bahwa beruntunglah sekarang mereka bekerja di perkebunan kelapa sawit karena dengan demikian mereka mendapatkan sesuatu untuk hidup. Di situ ditanamkan dalam otak mereka jika tidak ada perkebunan sawit mereka tidak memiliki apa-apa, tidak memiliki mata pencaharian, tidak memiliki penghasilan untuk menghidupi keluarga mereka.

Now their lives depend on the palm oil plantation, and the local authorities are doing some efficient brain-wash. The farmers are told that they are lucky they can work in the palm oil plantation where they can earn money to live. They create the illusion that if there was no palm oil plantation, they would have nothing; they would not have the money to fulfill their family’s needs. This is altering the social and psychological mindset of the local politics. One can witness changes in the society’s perceptions. Now, they accept the palm oil plantation as something positive, that improve their lives and allow them to earn money. Nah, ini adalah perubahan secara sosial, secara psikologis juga mengubah pola pikir masyarakat sehingga masyarakat menerima sawit itu sebagai sesuatu yang sangat positif atau memberikan penghidupan kepada mereka.

From the Dayak ecological perspective, the water flowing in the rivers is like blood, just as in our body, when we are injured we bleed. Well, this is Mother Earth’s blood. If the earth is damaged, it will have a tremendous impact on the lives of all beings on this planet. If we lose our relationship with the earth, it will have global consequences. Dalam pandangan ekologi Dayak Iban k air yang mengalir di sungai itu seperti darah, Sama seperti di tubuh kita ini ketika terluka mengeluarkan darah. Dan itu adalah darah ibu bumi. Nah, jika semuanya itu rusak, jika bumi ini rusak akan membawa dampak yang sangat besar untuk seluruh makhluk di planet ini. Ini dampak global ketika kita kehilangan relasi kita dengan bumi.

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We can take the lifestyle of Dayak Iban tribe as an example, we can learn from them how to live in freedom and in peace. The earth already provides everything. No need to go to to supermarket. Fish can be caught in the river, vegetables can be found in the forest. Such a simple lifestyle is durable and should be passed on from this generation to the next. Jadi, di Dayak Iban contohnya, gaya hidup Dayak Iban, merekalah yang terbaik, gaya hidup yang sangat baik, yang bisa mengajarkan kita bagaimana hidup dalam kebebasan di kedamaian. Bumi memberikan kita segalanya. Kita tidak perlu pergi ke supermarket untuk membeli sesuatu. Kita menangkap ikan di sungai, kita mengambil sayuran di hutan. Kehidupan yang sederhana, inilah gaya hidup yang memang gaya hidup untuk generasi sekarang hingga selanjutnya.

Our tattoo culture is not only about body adornment, or aesthetics. Tattoos have a deeper meaning for the Dayak Iban society, these tattoos are the symbols of life, they represent the teachings of our local wisdom. For instance the eggplant flower, this flower will turn into fruit and offer new life. All fruit derives from flowers. In short, flowers offers life. Tattoo tidak hanya satu hiasan bagi tubuh atau gaya misalnya, tetapi tato memiliki arti yang sangat dalam bagi masyarakat Dayak karena pada tato lah kita bisa menemukan symbol- simbol kehidupan, symbol-simbol pengajaran tentang kearifan local juga, contoh bunga trong pada masyarakat Dayak Iban, itu memiliki filosofi yang sangat dalam. Tentang bunga memberikan ke buah memberikan kehidupan semua buah berasal dari bunga. Artinya bunga memberikan kehidupan.

The Iban society should feel blessed because there are still plenty of old people who preserve these tattoos. There has been some people who have erased their tattoos, out of fear to be killed. However, for the Dayak Iban society, the preservation of their tattoo culture contributes to the preservation and the visibility of their philosophy. Ecological teachings are embedded in their tattoos. Kita bersyukur pada masyarakat Dayak tertentu contohnya masyarakat Iban, masih banyak orang tua yang memelihara bertahan menggunakan tato. Ada juga yang menghilangkan tato takut tadi di bunuh. Tetapi dalam masyarakat Dayak Iban tadi masih memelihara budaya tato karena mereka mau mengajarkan mau menyampaikan kepada kita pengajaran filosofi masyarakat Dayak, misalnya pandangan tentang ekologi terekam dalam budaya tato.

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They want to uphold their tattoo culture, and we are grateful for a young generation who actively maintain it. This tradition is a legacy and a cultural heritage that continuously teaches us about the value of life.” Mereka masih mau meneruskan budaya tato itu sampai sekarang dan kita bersyukur masih ada anak-anak muda yang terus memelihara budaya tato ini. Ini merupakan warisan tradisi atau warisan budaya yang terus menerus mengajarkan kita tentang kehidupan.