What a day! I woke up very, very late and almost couldn’t bring myself to get ready to go to Malioboro Street. Malioboro is that one street you have to visit when in Yogyakarta. On its sidewalks, vendors offer various handicrafts and T-shirts bearing Yogyakarta-style puns that tourists like to buy to bring back home. It so happens that Malioboro Street, especially its southern end known as “Kilometer 0,” is where mass rallies in this city are usually concentrated.
One Billion Rising (OBR) in Yogyakarta was also done here this afternoon. At around 15:30, my two favorite Batak girls and I arrived in front of Inna Garuda Hotel that’s on the northern end of this street. This is where the procession of dancing for OBR was going to start. The sky was thick with gray clouds and soon enough it began to pour. And I meant “pour.” But no rain was going to stop us from dancing to break the chain of violence against women, which is quite rampant in this country, if not a culture of its own considering the prevailing notion here that women being beaten up and raped is a given.
We were all about saying ENOUGH! to all that. So a little past 16:00, we started dancing to blaring dangdut music from the loudspeakers of two gethuk vendors’ carts that accompanied us along the way. The energy began to swell as more and more people joined the crowd. We approached those standing on the sides of the road, staring with either a confused look or a smile on their faces, to ask them to dance along. Some of us were wearing raincoats, some had umbrellas open, but some decided to let the rain drench them up for it seemed to be the perfect way of saying to women all around the world who experience violence in daily life: It is time for liberation!
Update: One Billion Rising Jogja got covered by The Guardian‘s live coverage of the global event, and BEKABULUH was officially quoted on the website. Here’s the link to the page (just scroll down a bit once it’s opened), and here’s the screenshot: