I want to talk all about my country now, Indonesia. People might know Bali more, but fyi, Bali is one of the province in Indonesia. So, if you know Bali, just keep in mind that it is part of Indonesia.
Actually, there are many many tourism spot that as beautiful as Bali. Although I must admit that maybe Bali becomes really famous not only because the beauty, but also because their people are very welcoming to any visitors all around the world with all varied cultures.
I don’t wanna discuss that now. I want to talk about literature. There are many various Indonesian literature from many different eras, and it’s safe to say that I don’t really know them all.
One thing for sure, literature here becomes really important since there are times when journalism is controlled by tirant and literature replaces the function of the journalism, to spread news and thoughts.
For many years, writers were being pressured and being imprisoned without any court and justice. For example, Pramoedya Ananta Toer, famous for his Quartet Buru, was being imprisoned for 14 years just because his books were considered dangerous. He did have rather radical thoughts. Moreover, all of their works; books, journals, any writings, were destroyed and banned. Many of their works are missing until now, and few of their writings become rare goods.
Why do people not reproduct the books remain a mystery. Two possible reasons are for personal benefit, because the more books become rare, the more expensive they are.
I found one of Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s books, titled “Di Tepi Kali Bekasi” (I think it’s not being translated in other languages). One of online shop sell it with the Rp3,000,000,00 which is a lot to the ordinary people like me (if we convert it to USD it will become USD222 or so). And even though I have those money, it will be just gone with one click and dissappear again from the market. That’s how rare the certain books are.
Second, I hope it’s not true because it only makes me still belong to the feudal era, someone still tries to put their thoughts hidden, so they don’t influence many people. Maybe people who will be injured with a critical thoughts of the citizens.
However, indie publishing books publish them, but it creates other dilemmas for us because they don’t exactly get a legal agreement for it. So, whenever we buy it, we promote the piracy. In the other hand, if we don’t read them, we lost much more; the history, the different thoughts and paradigms, the social situation back then. It will be a great loss, since history is the lesson we all need to learn.
So, what happen? Why did a major publisher not publish them? Can’t they ask for legal permission from the families or the copyright holder of those rare books?
What I found is the rare books mostly the books considered as the left-wing politics books, or socialism or communism. Some people thought that Pramoedya’s books contain the communism ideology, I, myself never see it in his works. I only saw that Pram was really concerned about injustice and repression among Indonesian people in the middle of chaotic social-politic condition here.
The problem is Pram told us the other side of history, which of course will cause a rupture among the creator of historical textbook nowadays. It means a very huge change that I am certain that half of people might not be ready for it yet. But, learning from the wrong history certainly will produce the wrong result. It’s not about ready or not, it’s all about not repeating our mistakes from long time ago.
I think it doesn’t matter who is true or who is false, only the truth will helps us to avoid the same mistakes.