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Fitria Jelyta: ‘The Past Reveals Itself’

Spoken word by Fitria Jelyta (journalist, writer and former chair of Histori Bersama.) Her presentation was part of the ‘We are Warming Up’ festival, which was held on October 30, 2022. ‘Arts of Resistance’ co-organized the program about the legacy of Shell in Indonesia.

Video: Muhammad An-Naashih
Editing & Subtitles: Marjolein van Pagee

The Past Reveals itself

Nowadays, people like to talk about the past
As if they know it
Seen it
Lived through it
They talk about the past as if to liberate themselves from the ignorance of others, while at the same time running away from theirs

But the past only reveals itself to those brave enough to search for it, bold enough to question it, and courageous enough to accept it
No matter the ugly it brings to the surface

Piece by piece the past reveals itself to me
All the ugly it came with
And all the suffering it kept hidden in a garden of memories that had become a graveyard of dreams

Yet through the rubbles of the past I noticed something
Something bigger than fear
Something stronger than rage, and deeper than suffering

A force and determination you never thought could exist
A manifestation of a nation
Their courage unmatched
Their faith unwavering
Their resistance united

This is their past
A past that cannot be claimed!
For it has always belonged to them
The past reveals itself while history is what we tell ourselves and others

And today I’m here to tell you that history does not belong to the oppressors!
The corruptors, the colonizers!
History, our history, is not theirs to tell!
And no longer do we have to abide by their rules

So this is where we choose to manifest our freedom
To not cling to the same delusions to not buy the same lies

They tell themselves to liberate themselves from the ignorance of others, while at the same time running away from theirs

I am not speaking of justice
Never dared to dream of it
Never cared to ask for it
Simply because I know it does not exist
Not here, not in this world
Not like this

Rather I speak of redemption
Something I came to realize, we all are desperately searching for
Pining for
Dying for
For with redemption all will be forgiven
Even if forgiveness was not asked for
Let alone begged for in the first place

But in redemption I find forgiveness
And in forgiving I find peace
The kind of peace that comes to us when we let the past reveal itself to us
And the truth it brings to the surface.