Migrant Workers Hold Poetry Performance; Solidarity amid COVID-19

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Laila Afifa

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - In commemoration of the International Workers’ Day or May Day, Indonesian migrant workers read poetry online, on Friday, May 1, at 13:30 (Jakarta time), which was also participated by those who have retired and observers in the issue of migrant worker protection.

    “The poetry reading performance, titled ‘Pentas Puisi Pekerja Migran’, will be broadcasted live at 13:30 through the Migrant CARE Facebook account," Migrant Care Executive Director Wahyu Susilo said in a press release received by Tempo on Thursday night, April 30, 2020.

    According to Wahyu, poetry reading performance was held to garner public support in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, it served to remind the Indonesian government not to forget the protection of Indonesian migrant workers (TKI) from COVID-19 and its economic impact.

    “Those who are trapped overseas, those who are in the process of returning home or even those who failed, as well as the families of the workers in the villages; (they) are vulnerable groups who are facing the impacts of this situation. The government needs to provide special attention,” said Wahyu.

    A literature enthusiast and former migrant worker, Mega Vristian, explained that the poetry reading would incite the revival of migrant workers’ cultural expression and encourage more literary works from among them, in the form of poetry, novels and essays. “Some of the (works) are even published by mainstream publishers and are widely read among the public,” Mega said.

    The event was a collective initiative from Indonesian migrant workers in various countries, former migrant workers, and activists who are literature enthusiasts and want to revive the cultural expression of migrant worker literature.

    Here are some of the names that took part in the poetry reading; Mega Vristian (former migrant in Hong Kong), Wahyu Susilo (Migrant CARE), Fajar Santoadi (migrant worker in Malaysia), Maria Bo Niok (former migrant in Hong Kong), Nessa Kartika (former migrant in Hong Kong), and former Minister of Labor, Hanif Dakhiri (Jakarta ). 

    Istiqomatul Hayati | Translator: DIO SUHENDA (Intern)