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Documentary Gives Stage to =?windows-1252?Q?Miners=92_Struggle?=
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 Tapol
 Feb 28, 2012 08:17 PST 

From Joyo


The Jakarta Post
Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Documentary Gives Stage to Miners’ Struggle in Papua

Ika Krismantari, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The voices of local workers in the world’s largest gold and copper
mine controlled by the US-based mining giant Freeport McMoRan in Papua
can be heard loud and clear in a new documentary that chronicles the
biggest strike in the company’s history.

Alkinemokiye is the latest feature documentary from filmmaker Dandhy
Dwi Laksono. It captures the fight of 8,000 workers for increased
wages in what is believed to be the longest and most widely joined
strike since the mining company began operations in Indonesia in 1967.

It is estimated that more than a third of Freeport’s 22,000 local
workers joined the strike, which last from September to December last
year.

The historic work action was widely covered by local and international
media, which focused primarily on the strike’s affect on Freeport’s
business. Live reports from the ground, including details of dramatic
shooting sprees by unknown gunmen near the mining area, frequently led
the news.

Visually, the contents of Dhandhy’s feature are not too different, as
he uses footage broadcast on television.

Yet, the documentary is still an eye-opening thriller as it includes a
comprehensive history and background on the company’s operations in
Indonesia as well as insider footage, shot inside the highly-guarded
mining site.

“We wanted to add a perspective to the film, something that the
mainstream media has missed,” Dandhy told The Jakarta Post.

Watching the 60-minute film, it is clear that the director has
deliberately focused on the perspective of the striking workers.

The documentary begins with an amateur video shot by a worker who
tries to explain conditions at his workplace to his beloved children.
The secluded Grasberg mining site is depicted with wobbly and
low-resolution images shot by a man who is trying to connect with
faraway relatives.

This is followed by interviews with striking workers. The interviews
dominate the film, as the
director not only talks to workers but also retirees who claimed to
have been cheated by the company.

When it comes to providing background on the strike, the director has
done a good job. The interviews and supporting data on the company’s
rising revenue and on skyrocketing gold prices make the workers’
demands for more than 100 percent salary increases sound reasonable.

Dandhy said the data was added into the film later on after receiving
input from the audiences after a limited screening in December last
year.

The documentary, which took more than a month to make, was released
earlier this month on YouTube.

“I want all the people to have access to it,” said Dandhy, adding he
received no sponsorship or funding for the film.

“The budget is almost zero rupiah because we made it as a side project
during our other commercial works,” said the director, a freelance
journalist known for his investigative video reporting.

Alkinemokiye is Dandhy’s fourth documentary feature. The title is
taken from the language of the biggest tribe in Timika regency, where
Freeport operates its mining concession. Alkinemokiye means work hard
for a better life, but the director translates it as “From Struggle
Dawns a New Hope”.

Dandhy plans to enter the film in the international documentary
competition held by the Aljazeera news network in April this year.

 From a journalistic point of view, Alkinemokiye feels incomplete, as
the company’s side of story was not presented. Dandhy, however, said
he intended to make the focus of the film the employees only.

“We wanted to make it simple and we chose one point of view — and that
came from the workers,” the filmmaker said.

“If anyone objects, please make your own documentary,” he challenged.

The film is successful in giving voice to protesting workers and to
pensioners who are struggling to get by.

Dandhy presents a documentary with a well-defined story arc that
presents a strong argument for the workers’ demands.

Not only that, the documentary also tries to describe the bloody
incidents that marred the strike and brushed against the political
relationship between Freeport and the central givernment.

Alkinemokiye reminds the audience that Freeport has earmarked special
“security funds” for government law enforcers to maintain order in its
operational area.

At least 11 Freeport workers were shot dead by unknown gunmen between
2009 to 2011.

Freeport spokesperson in Jakarta Ramdani Sirait declined to comment on
the film, saying that the company has carried out all its operations
in accordance with the principles of human rights.

Controversy aside, the film gives a fuller picture of what is
happening with local Papuan people working in the world’s largest gold
and copper mine.

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