30 Mar 2015

After 11 people in remote tribe die of starvation, Indonesian Social Minister brings them food... and cigarettes

The Anak Dalam tribe, which lives in a remote jungle region of Jambi province in Sumatra, suffered a terrible loss recently when 11 members of their impoverished community died of starvation. Indonesia’s social minister, Khofifah Indar Parawansa, visited the tribe to express her condolences and brought them government care packages filled with food, clothing and cigarettes.

Khofifah has received some harsh criticism on social media and from various organizations for bringing cigarettes to the destitute tribe. The Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI) said they would sue the government over the minister’s actions, citing a law that banned the government from promoting tobacco products.

"YLKI already tried to voice its objections through a variety of media so that the minister could admit the mistake. But the minister considers the distribution of cigarettes to be a natural thing," said YLKI chairperson Sudaryatmo as quoted byAntara

Indeed, Khofifah has repeatedly defended bringing the cigarettes, saying it was done out of respect for the tribe’s traditions and customs. 

"Do not get pretend to know their lives. You need to get to know the rhythms of their lives," Khofifah said in Surabaya on Sunday as quoted by Tempo.

"It would be wise if we all went there, so we could get to know their customs as well," she said. "Please, if you want to know about their culture, do not only look at it through the glasses of Jakarta."

Khofifah said you have to recognize tribal customs and tradition when visiting communities in remote areas. 

"Do not practice cultural hegemony. Because the diversity of customs and culture is the wealth of this country," she said.

Read More:http://jakarta.coconuts.co/2015/03/30/after-11-people-remote-tribe-die-starvation-social-minister-gives-them-care-packages


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