Date/dates: 05/10/2014
Time: 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Sow Seed Sovereignty - Ubud Writers and Readers Festival

From Max Havelaar, the groundbreaking novel which exposed the brutalities of the colonial Dutch ‘cultivation system’ in Java, through to Indonesia’s most famous writer Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s Buru Quartet which, written while ‘Pram’ was a prisoner of Suharto’s Order Baru regime on Buru Island prison colony, follows the protagonist Minke’s struggle against corrupt colonial sugar plantation owners in East Java, literature has been intimately intwined, and not only in Java, with human beings and human societies fertile inter-relationships with the earth, seeds, plants and food.

In tandem with Navdanya’s International Seed Freedom fortnight leading up to World Food Day (Oct 16), this workshop held at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in Bali, Indonesia will celebrate seed freedom by creating a seed mandala alongside captivating discussions ranging over food sovereignty, the rejection of seed privatisation and genetically modified foods, along with an exploration of diverse and surprising literary and artistic references, novels and poems that tie us intimately to the earth, to seeds, biodiversity and to each other.

The workshop will also continue the launch of the ‘Say No to GMO Banana Biopirates – Yes We Have Bananas!’ campaign which will be officially launched on October 2, 2014.

Pablo Nerude – La United Fruit Co.
(Neruda was also at one time a diplomat in Java)

When the trumpet sounded
everything was prepared on earth,
and Jehovah gave the world
to Coca-Cola Inc., Anaconda,
Ford Motors, and other corporations.
The United Fruit Company
reserved for itself the most juicy
piece, the central coast of my world,
the delicate waist of America.

It rebaptized these countries
Banana Republics,
and over the sleeping dead,
over the unquiet heroes
who won greatness,
liberty, and banners,
it established an opera buffa:
it abolished free will,
gave out imperial crowns,
encouraged envy, attracted
the dictatorship of flies:
Trujillo flies, Tachos flies
Carias flies, Martinez flies,
Ubico flies, flies sticky with
submissive blood and marmalade,
drunken flies that buzz over
the tombs of the people,
circus flies, wise flies
expert at tyranny.

With the bloodthirsty flies
came the Fruit Company,
amassed coffee and fruit
in ships which put to sea like
overloaded trays with the treasures
from our sunken lands.

Meanwhile the Indians fall
into the sugared depths of the
harbors and are buried in the
morning mists;
a corpse rolls, a thing without
name, a discarded number,
a bunch of rotten fruit
thrown on the garbage heap.

-Pablo Neruda, ‘The United Fruit Company’

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Mandala Madya – Five Elements
Banjar Adat Baturning, Mambal , Badung - Bali - Ubud
Bali, Indonesia - Indonésia
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