A message to women in Australia

Green Left Weekly - March 18, 1998

DITA INDAH SARI, chairperson of the Centre for Indonesian Labour Struggle (PPBI) and a leader of the People's Democratic Party (PRD), was sentenced to five years' jail on April 22, 1997, for fighting alongside Indonesian workers for better wages, working conditions and quality of life. Below is an abridged version of her message to women in Australia sent on International Women's Day, translated by JAMES BALOWSKI.

I write this letter from afar within a prison set up by the Suharto regime for our people, who have long been exploited and squeezed by the economic and political system run by the dictatorship.

On March 8, we again gather together to bow our heads to all of those who have fallen in the fight against a world system which oppresses the people, and women in particular. Our struggle will not be complete until the time when women sit as equals with men as members of the working class which runs a just and prosperous world.

For women in Indonesia, the last few months have been proof of imperialism's oppression. Almost all mothers must face a shrinking economy because of the bankruptcy of the New Order regime. Children lack nutritious food, milk prices are rising, education is getting out of reach and there are millions of unemployed.

With this letter I want to shout "Fight!", so that you hear the daily suffering of our workers and women under Suharto's brutality.

Our struggle cannot be separated from that of our international comrades. We are one. It is time for us to tighten our ranks, to develop more concrete tactics and strategies for the women's struggle, particularly working-class women facing a world system which consumes our children. What other time if not now? My party, the PRD, is not large. My organisation, the PPBI, is also not large. They were born and grew under a dictatorship which has killed 3 million people. But I am certain that my party and workers' organisation will, with all their strength, join arms in international solidarity. We have great hope; victory is in the hands of those who are oppressed -- workers and women in all countries.

Don't let dictatorships and capitalism sleep soundly. We working-class women must be the vanguard of freedom in all countries. The suffering which we experience must not fall upon our children and grandchildren. I must live out my days in Suharto's prisons and cannot be actively involved in our struggle. But take my hopes from behind these iron bars, hopes which are with all comrades fighting the same struggle. Greetings from the workers and women of Indonesia. Greetings from the PPBI and the PRD.

One Struggle! One Change!
Democracy or Death!

From: owner-asietnews-l@peg.apc.org
Date: Sun, 22 Mar 1998 07:55:54 +0100 (MET)

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