from Pramoedya…

“‘Yes, child, Nyo, we must fight back, we must resist. However good and kind any European has been to us, in the end they will be afraid to face up to the risks of resisting European law, their own law, especially if it’s only to defend the interests of Natives. We need not be ashamed if we are defeated. We must hire attorneys. Even if we have money it doesn’t mean we are able to do so. The main reason is that we don’t have courage. And more generally still, we haven’t learned anything. All their lives the Natives has suffered what we are now suffering. No one raises their voices – dumb like the river stones and mountains, even if cut up and made into no matter what. What a roar there would be if they all spoke out as we will now speak out. Perhaps even the sky itself would be shattered by the din.’

Mama had begun to forget her own feelings. She was placing the matter in the context of a more basic problem. She had left behind her own heart and her family, she had now brought in the river stones, the mountains, the chalk and granite rocks that were strewn all over Java, throughout all the Indies; those with mouths but no voices, and yet with hearts within them.

‘By fighting back we will not be wholly defeated,’ and the tone of her voice was pregnant with the knowledge of coming defeat.”

p.335, This Earth of Mankind