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There are stories that are unrelated to the news, but can explain much better than many combat reports, why people like me are fighting against the Empire and imperialism, with such determination and vehemence. Not all stories are 'big' or 'heroic'; not all include famous people or iconic struggles. Not all take place on battlefields.
But they 'humanize' the struggle.
Once in a while, I like to share such stories with my readers. As I will do right now.
Because without them, frankly, nothing really makes sense.
It was a hot, humid night in Jakarta; a megapolis with the worst pollution on earth, and with some of the most monstrous contrasts on our planet. A literally sinking city, constructed against the people; fragmented, serving only the few hundred thousand extremely rich (most of them accumulating wealth through corruption and theft), while condemning millions of struggling individuals to a slow death.
For the ruthless Indonesian elites and their Western handlers, the poor of Jakarta (the great majority of city dwellers) simply do not exist. They live in crammed slums, called kampungs literally translated as villages. Kampungs fill huge spaces between the skyscrapers, malls, and mostly empty five-star hotels. Individuals living there consume very little, and therefore matter close to nothing. Even their number is underplayed in the official statistics.
One night, my small film crew and I were driving though the Klender neighborhood in East Jakarta; a poor, religious and monotonous part of the city.
Re-editing my big film about Indonesia after the US-sponsored military coup of 1965, an event which I often describe as an "Intellectual Hiroshima", I had to again spend a few days in Jakarta, collecting latest footage, filming contrasts between the people and feudal elites.
We were all tired. Traffic jams have brought the city to an almost permanent gridlock. The pollution is unbearable. Life has come to a standstill. As planned by the regime, no one seemed to be thinking. Nothing seemed to be working.
We were driving past Klender train station a few minutes after midnight.
There were two young women standing by the side of the road. One of them caught my eye. She was clearly a prostitute, or a 'sex-worker', as they would call her in the West. But in reality, no, she was not a 'worker'; not her. Just an abused, tired women.
I liked her face. Hers was an honest, good face. And after all that nonsense I heard during the day, after all that 'feel good' crap, I needed to hear something real, honest.
"Stop!" I shouted at my driver. He stepped on the brakes, then backed up a few meters.