EngageMedia recently partnered with Sitas Desa and Paguyuban Petani Kelud Makmur (Farmers Union) of Blitar, Indonesia, to screen our Crossroads migrant video collection in the remote village of Kruwuk. The event itself coincided with a meeting of the union there, and over 200 people attended our screening.
For decades, the Blitar regency has seen the sending of its residents to work in other countries, and has one of the highest rates in Java for exporting labour. Most of these migrant workers come from the farming families who no longer have any land to sustain themselves.
Kruwuk village is surrounded by hundreds of kilometers of land used for plantations which have been managed by several parties, especially after the former Dutch colonialists left the area. Much of this land was taken from the original owners, the farmers, and made them extremely poor during the span of several hundreds years of colonization. This battle for land has continued since independence up until today.
We were thankful to have this opportunity to screen the Crossroads films with farmers from Blitar, films that were produced by individuals who could very well be their own children in Malaysia. It was amazing that some of the farmers immediately related their cause with that of the migrant workers.
The audience started a conversation about the much wider impact of their own struggle, finding strength in its relation and new meanings of solidarity.
It was an inspiring occasion for us too, as we seek to learn more from events such as this and hope for more films to be distributed as catalysts to strengthen the marginal segments of Indonesian society.