SHE LAGEE: give space for peace

A speech by SUNSPIRIT for justice and peace for the Performance of She Lagee in Graha Bahkti Budaya Jakarta, on July 8 and 9, 2008.

Dear ladies and gentlemen, peace devotees and art lovers,

Three years working for peacebuilding together with grass root communities in Aceh Barat, give us opportunity to become witness and all at once actor for change in Aceh, change from disaster towards new life, from conflict to peace, from the communities who lost their identity and torn by the conflict towards the dynamic communities in all aspect of life.

Together with the communities, we have devoted part of our program to revitalize the art and cultural activities in the conflict affected communities. We organized two Aceh Cultural Festivals for Peace (in 2006 and 2007). All these initiatives revitalize the dynamic of the community with togetherness, solidarity, and new spirit to left the trauma behind and work for new peaceful and prosperous life.

Simple initiatives in the beginning had grown into an outstanding program. With the support from various parties, and especially commitment from the communities themselves, we now have Komunitas Seni Damee Meulaboh (KSDM)- a group of people from communities we assisted devoted themselves for peace promotion. She Lagee is one of their work.

So, for us She Lagee is a shift, transformation, from conflict—all kinds of conflict—towards peace—a genuine peace. Peace here is a peace that gives every body opportunity to express themselves, free to have aims and dreams, free to actualize themselves, open to any change brought by the progress, without abandon the roots of their culture from the ancestors.

She Lagee is also a voice from the grass root communities, raised to greet their leaders: “Here we are who once victimized in conflict and now struggle to rebuild our lives and maintain the peace. Change, transform your style in leading this country to prevent conflicts. Here we are, the communities who sustain our adat and culture. Let us build the peace culture in this country.”

There is nothing that cannot be changes except the change itself. So, we cannot refuse the change. But it is also naïf if we understand change with abandon the tradition and accept everything from outside. It is wise to open ourselves to new things and at the same time deepen our root to our own legacy of tradition.

She Lagee itself is inspired by living experience of Acehnese Communities, especially in west part of Aceh. We learned from what wee see and experience: how people move, shift, fight for their own interests. Even She Lagee is also eye witness how the artist and peace activist have to move, not to ruin or overthrow, but to get space in the heart and though of the leaders.

All parties involved in She Lagee worked wholeheartedly and with extra-ordinary commitment for peace. I would like to appreciate the contribution of all artists from every community, the community members and the leaders in the communities assisted by SUNSPIRIT, the young Aceh cultural activist/Artist in Jakarta, and the whole teamwork both from SUNSPIRIT and volunteers involved, and the donors.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome She Lagee, an offer from the heart and life experience of grass root communities of Aceh. Let us open our heart, give space for She Lagee. Let She Lagee told us a story, share experience regarding how in this life we often shift or move each other for the sake of our own ego, and how beautiful the life is if we give space for peace to grow.

Enjoy the play. Peace!

Tamara Soukotta

SUNSPIRIT for justice and peace

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