THE BODY AS A TARGET
ARAHMAIANI meets GUNNAR STANGE
In the life and culture of Indonesian society the body tends to be positioned as a tool of power show. Where power is shown with the ability to damage - even destroy it. The more a person or group of people can be cruel to the other body the more he will be feared and positioned in the "honorable" place. Yes, violence is an important part of the culture from which I come from. Indeed, not all violent behavior is physical - but this physical aspect becomes an important indicator of conquest and mastery. And of course to awaken fear - which can be a very effective and efficient "political tool".
In this case the female body can certainly be a powerful object because it can be used to power the conquest of women (themselves) as well as men. Especially when combined with instrumentalization of religion - the body can become "paralyzed". In the sense of being totally targeted and victimized for the show of control and power.
Yes, actually the situation is not just happening in my country. Just look at what happens in Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Philippines and Myanmar. How people's helpless bodies are subjected to a power game that is intertwined with the scramble and seizure of business and natural resources that can bring benefits
Gunnar Stange is Assistant Professor in Human Geography at the Department of Geography and Regional Research, University of Vienna, Austria. He received his PhD from the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. His research interests include peace and con ict studies, development studies, and forced migration. His regional focus is on South-East Asia, mainly Indonesia.