Tag Archives: America

The sugar workers

PHOTO SOURCE  I  NATIONAL MUSEUM OF WORLD CULTURES

DSC_0127 125 years ago, the Dutch Empire began shipping Javanese laborers from its East India colony to work in sugarcane plantations in Suriname, owned largely by British and Dutch businesses.

The abolition of slavery in Suriname in 1863 and the pre-existing slaves uprising coming from the British-possessed India led to the workforce scarcity and the frantic search of cheap laborers.

These paid replacements from nearby continent, albeit with a meagre salary and much similar poor living condition, were sent in their maiden voyage in 1890. From 100 people in the first transport, the number of immigrants arriving in Paramaribo, Suriname gradually rose, averaging 700 people annualy up to 1916.

When most of Indian plantation workers left Suriname in 1916, and as the freed slaves, both natives and foreigners, left for better jobs in the city, the Javanese replacements grew in number tremendously.

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Workers cut the sugar canes during harvest season in a plantation. The biggest sugar cane plantation in Suriname was Marienburg.

Waged around 60 cents for men and even smaller for the women, the Javanese plantation workers signed a five year contract with sugar companies across the region.

The state policy at the time gave advantage to the plantation owners with a privilege to enact a set of law with serious legal consequences for the laborers, such as fine or imprisonment.

This was known as de poenale sanctie, subjected to those who committed misconduct at work or missed the expected work output at a given target period.

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Women workers picked cotton in one of the cotton plantations in Suriname.

The large numbers of Javanese laborers among the native Surinamese had naturally brought together the distinctive culture and the mass identity by ethnicity or religion, later manifested into one of the country’s recognised communities.

After the gruesome five-year contract, the government, acting as the consituents of the Netherlands until their independence in 1975, gave the laborers an option to stay and be granted 100 gulden with a piece of cultivation land, but must answer to requirement working in the plantation on regular planting and harvesting dates, or else, the freedom to go home on the Surinamese government expenses.

At the onset of World War II in 1939, over 7600 Javanese laborers out of the total 33,000 working in Suriname opted for home. The last of such return policy was made in 1947 where 769 people boarded passenger ship Tabian heading for Java.

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A Javanese immigrant and the children stood in front of the house, suggesting a poor living standard among the community. Poverty caused many to return home.

Harnessing hydropower

PHOTOGRAPHS  I  NIA KUMALA SARI

Untitled-1-01 The panoramic Niagara Falls, famous among world tourists for its epic and natural beauty, is located in three different places across two countries, Canada and the United States of America.

Each country shares the waterfall, and the other one sits on the border line between Ontario, Canada, and New York, The United States.

IMG_20141004_213716Niagara River is considered the best example of water resources humans made the most out of, from drawing huge numbers of tourists and other economic interests to harnessing hydropower.

Nikola Tesla was especially commemorated here for his alternating current system that is applicable for generating electricity out of the waterfall.

Developed since the 19th century, Niagara Falls is now the largest power source for New York State, and a site for the biggest hydropower plant in western hemisphere.

Nowadays the power facilities along the river produces 4.4 gigawatts of capacity. The engineers achieve it by leaving little environmental impact, although the high density commercial zone development has caused more serious consequences. IMG_20141004_213749_resized-1

Ikatan antar agama di Gereja Katedral Washington

LOGO DAMAI TV_HIGHRESS-01 One of the programs in Damai TV which runs until 15 January 2015 features selected photographs by think archipelago. Watch the footage below.

 

Gereja Katedral Washington, tempat bernaungnya jemaat Episkopal Amerika Serikat, pada pekan lalu menjadi tempat bagi umat Muslim menjalankan ibadah shalat Jumat.

Hal ini diselenggarakan secara simbolis oleh para tokoh dan organisasi kedua agama tersebut sebagai bentuk persahabatan antar umat beragama yang semakin nyata hidup berdampingan di ibu kota pemerintahan Amerika Serikat tersebut.

Kampanye toleransi

Pesan kuat yang muncul dari prakarsa ini adalah jaminan kebebasan beragama bagi sekitar tiga juta penganut Islam di Amerika Serikat, dan juga himbauan agar masyarakat di negara yang mayoritas penduduknya beragama Islam mampu mengupayakan hal yang sama terhadap pemeluk agama lain.

Kritik hingga kecaman datang dari dalam dan luar negeri, meski hal tersebut tidak menggoyahkan keyakinan Pendeta Gina Campbell, Pemimpin Liturgi Katedral, dan Duta Besar Afrika Selatan untuk Amerika Serikat Ebrahim Rasool bahwa upaya untuk membangun persatuan antar umat beragama merupakan tujuan yang mulia dan indah bagi umat manusia.

Terlebih pemilihan Gereja Katedral Washington memberikan efek yang luar biasa mengingat reputasi gereja ini begitu besar sepanjang sejarah Amerika Serikat. Prosesi pemakaman beberapa presiden negara tersebut berlangsung di sini.

Gereja liberal

Ini bukan pertama kalinya Gereja Katedral Washington membuka pintu bagi umat Islam untuk berkumpul dan beribadah. Gereja beraliran liberal yang dikenal giat mendukung persamaan hak asasi manusia ini telah mengundang para imam untuk berceramah tentang persaudaraan antar agama di sana.

Namun ini adalah pertama kalinya umat Islam dipersilakan untuk menjalankan ibadah shalat Jumat secara utuh. Gina mengatakan bahwa kita semua menyembah tuhan yang sama.