I wasn’t connected to the internet during the floods of a week ago: we’d moved and although FastNet had arranged to come and connect us, citing the flooded roads, they couldn’t.
This was a mere inconvenience, and as nothing when compared to those who lost homes, possessions or, tragically for some 22 folk, their lives.
Andre Vltchek, “novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist” and erstwhile friend, was out and about and has written an article, which I have excerpted below, in which, with righteous anger, he rails against the élite who capitalised on the misfortunes of the poor, as they always do.
At Kampung Melayu neighborhood, I spotted a girl. She was about 5 years old. She was seated inside a scavenger cart. Her mother – the owner of the cart and a scavenger herself – was picking some wet rugs at the side of the road.
The cart she had been occupying was surrounded by stinky garbage, but the girl was happy; proudly hugging three wet, stuffed bears that her mom had managed to rescue for her from rushing water. Luna seemed to be content, even in the middle of the devastation and rot, simply because she was still too young to understand her condition, and because the three wet bears she was hugging, were more than she had ever owned in her entire short life.
We approached Luna’s mother and she began a conversation: “We live in Kebon Nanas and we are also flood victims. We haven’t got any help whatsoever. Nothing from the government; nothing!“
Right next to her was the so-called posko – the post that is supposed to help victims of the flood. Why doesn’t she ask for help there?
“We are not from this neighborhood. They only help some local people. They are very selective… And in our neighborhood, where people are really affected, there is no posko at all.”
Luna was getting tired. It is almost ten at night, too late for a small girl like her. But her mother has to work almost until midnight. In Indonesia, poor people get no help; which means that most of the victims of disasters get nothing or extremely little. This single mother and her daughter have just lost their home, but they are left on their own.
It is all brutal and compassionless, but that is how the system works. And there are no cameras to bring their plight to the world. The only images that are broadcasted are those of some handpicked operations, from the places where at least ‘something is being done’. Most of such transmissions are for publicity purposes, promoting companies, individuals – ‘good Samaritans’, the government, or the military.