A Haunting Past
In early April 2016, the Aquarium Village was evicted by the government because of the reasons that the Kampung Aquarium community's land was declared unlicensed. A total of 231 houses in the area were razed to the land of 400 people from 90 families were evacuated to Marunda Flat and some to Cakung Flat. Meanwhile, around 45% of the total number of residents remain in the eviction area. Residents who survived, lived on the ruins of their homes by setting up tent-based tents and donated tents.
Through this photo story, I want to explore the trauma experiences of the children of Kampung Aquarium people who still survive after the eviction. In the beginning, I would like to share the impact of eviction on citizens in general. However, after a few days of interacting with local residents, I found the children there were very afraid of cameras, strangers, and anyone they thought were part of the media. After chatting with residents, religious leaders and teachers, I was informed that there was a possibility that these things were related to the psychological impact experienced by post-eviction children.
Right after the school exam, the children of the Aquarium bear witness to the friction between the state apparatus and residents who are defending their homes from eviction. In fact, there are also children who are victims of violence at the time of the incident. According to their parents, this has an impact on the subconscious of children, ranging from their closed nature to new people, to their habitual delirium, screaming fear or nightmares that make families worry.
Every time I visit, in fact I always find the children of Kampung Aquarium playing or studying. But as someone who tries to understand what these children might feel post-eviction, I can only imagine the difficulty of living in fear, resentment and uncertainty about a home. I have personally been in a phase where ownership of a home and a safe life is uncertain.
Ownership of land may not only relate to expectations of a house and a sense of security. However, access to land, perhaps, can be a way to recognize the presence and dignity of someone who is worthy and deserves to be called a citizen of the city.