Mausu Ane, Indonesia Traumatic Hereditary Evidence of Peace Conflict

by Nur Ihsani Eka Saputri, PT Inspira Televisi Indonesia(Indonesia)

(Written by Nur Ihsani Eka Saputri, Story by Rizky Riansyah, Photo by Agung Hardianto)



In the Law of the Republic of Indonesia No.6 of 2006, concerning the Ratification of the INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION FOR SUPRASION OF TERRORISM FINANCING, 1999, on behalf of the Indonesian President stated that in the Preamble, the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia has affirmed the national goal to protect the entire Indonesian nation and the whole of Indonesia spills over, advances the general welfare, educates the life of the nation and also participates in the world based on independence, eternal peace and social justice. Also that the act of terrorism is one of the most dangerous for the world and also the world and humanity and its eradication of cooperation between countries.

But what will happen if cooperation between countries that are considered to be able to prevent and eradicate terrorism finally breaks down and in the end its even causes fear and traumatic in it own ‘family’? This fact ever happened shortly not too long after Indonesia announced its independence. Apart from the invaders who have been strangling Indonesia for hundreds of years, it does not mean that the proclamation of Indonesia’s independence as an independent country has made this country free from tension. Well, it is no longer about to face the invaders. But, this is due to the refusal of residents in some areas who do not want to join the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia. One of them is the Maluku region. This revolt led to the formation of the Republic of South Maluku (hereinafter abbreviated as RMS) by a group of people who disagreed about regions in eastern Indonesia joining the Republic of Indonesia. What’s make it more worrying, this group asked for help, attention, support and recognition from several countries, and one of them was a country that for hundreds of years colonized Indonesia, Netherlands.

A decade later, one of my colleagues had an opportunity to travel to Maluku, Sulawesi (also known as Celebes), Indonesia. To the region that far from the city center, which from the airport must travel overland for several hours to the port, take a ferry, then again a very long road trip for a dozen hours, so the total travel time to the place is about 12 hours. There he found a group of people (children, elders and adults) who were referred as Mausu Ane tribe, staring at my collague and his entourage (a group of volunteers) with a suspicion and fear look. Especially because my colleague came together with the Indonesian National Army (hereinafter abbreviated to TNI) in military -camouflage pattern- uniforms. At a glance there is nothing strange about TNI and the volunteers. So what makes the Mausu Ane residents shrouded in fear when they see them?

After talking for a long time with the TNI members on duty at the time, my colleagues finally knew that the fear of the local Mausu Ane about the strangers was reasonable. Especially when seeing uniforms worn by the TNI. Yes, that camouflage pattern-uniform. TNI’s pride uniform turned out to be a cause of traumatic feelings for Mausu Ane’s people, because at the time of the conflict between the RMS –which was supported by the Netherlands government- and the TNI -who tried to negotiate with the leaders of the RMS group- there were a number of things that did hurt Mausu Ane’s people. What they remembered at that time, the soldiers dressed in camouflage pattern uniform tried to hurt them, so they were frightened and went into exile for years to an uninhabited area on the mountain. The fears that have been handed down from generation to generation for decades –starting from the independence of the Republic of Indonesia until present- which makes the perception that someone in a camouflage uniform is frightening and will hurt them. We can also call that fear as a ‘terror’. Feelings of intimidation when looking at camouflage uniforms.

That is what makes them always afraid when TNI visit them. In fact, according to the story of a TNI member who talked with my colleague, it was not clear who the fierce-uniformed figure meant by the Mausu Ane’s people at that time. Not only the TNI, but the RMS troops and Dutch soldiers also had the same uniform. Mausu Ane’s people finally chose to isolate themselves, living on the mountain, far from the public facilities. Even their house, we can’t call it as a house. Only a raw wood as a floor, with a leaves as a roof, without walls. It’s more like a gazebo (in Bahasa Indonesian known as ‘saung’). They survive by farming. There are almost no financial transactions involving money. Their transaction system is still a barter system that is exchanging goods with other goods. Primitive in 2018? Yes, the reality is still there. In my country, Indonesia. The most valuable money for them is the Rp.1000 (around 10 cents in the USD exchange rate). No, not because no one gives them money in bigger nominal. But because in the Rp.1000 there are pictures of Indonesian heroes from their region, Maluku. He is Pattimura.

In fact, try to get closer to Mausu Ane’s people who put suspicious looks on the TNI and the volunteers ast first, was not difficult as imagined. Members of the TNI and volunteers succesfuly communicate with them even with sign language only. TNI members play with children, while volunteers teach how to cook rice properly to minimize their digestive ailments. Same happened to my colleague. It turned out that his presence as a media team was quite interesting for them. Especially when they see cameras, unfamiliar things for them. In the end, they began to approach because they were curious about how the camera worked.

The way they survive by planting, does not really make them survive actually. The pigs eats their farm. They end up starving and suffering from malnutrition. In additions to their living conditions –let’s say their ‘home’- that cannot protect them from extreme weather, also they does not have sanitation -even they did not use clothes before- made the lives of Mausu Ane’s people surrounded by the shadow of death.




The presence of the TNI and the volunteers (including my colleagues) became the savior of God for them. They do not have religion and do not believe God -even though the majority of Maluku residents are Christian- but help can come from anywhere, even from different beliefs. However, foods, clothings and health assistance brought by TNI members and the volunteers did not immediately reach them easily. It starts from the desperation of the Mausu Ane’s people themselves who were hit by severe famine, they have nothing else could be eaten and in the end they were forced –by themselves- to eat what was around them; bamboo leaves which are not common to eat, even harmful to digestion -it was proven, they suffered when defecate, they bleed because of eatimg sharp and indigestible leaves-. After nothing else they could do, the people of Mausu Ane went down from the mountain and met with officials in an area that closer to the city. Then the assistance prepared by the TNI and volunteers, after receiving reports about the famine -actually through a long report process to various parties, but I would make it shorter.

But there are other problems. Mausu Ane’s people don’t use national language, Bahasa Indonesian! Myself, when I heard this fact from my colleague, felt a little confused. Can Mausu Ane’s people be called Indonesian? Geographically, they can. Because they live in the territory of the Republic of Indonesia. In the other side, they do not even have a national identity card. This means that they are not registered as Indonesian citizens, and they cannot speak Bahasa Indonesian. There are only one or two of their children who can speak Bahasa, a little. Because they go to school –which is very far away from their home and requires an up and down the mountain to reach the school- and learn Bahasa.

The TNI had negotiated several times with them, asking the Mausu Ane’s people to come down from the mountain where they were staying until now, and moving to an area that was easier to reach public facilities. So, if something bad happens to them like at that time, it is not difficult for the TNI and the volunteers to know their condition immediately and send assistance. But it was denied them. The reason is, they are very comfortable to stay at the area they stay at and living as they live now. There may also be other reasons besides the ‘comfort’. The matter is a ‘fear’. Traumatized by conflicts that have occurred them before. So, instead of experiencing it again, and it will hurt them again, they choose to isolate themselves and live in their own way.

Through this article, what I want to convey is that the conflicts that have occurred in the past, even more than half a century have passed, cannot be lost from memory. Conflict is a form of the disappearance of the desire to reconcile that come from one or even both parties, which can leave a deep trauma that might be unconsciously handed down from generation to generation, which ultimately entrenched and caused the national identity crisis of someone or a group of people, as happened to the tribe of Mausu Ane.




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