Yonri Revolt’s politically committed documentary Mayday! May day! Mayday! tells the story of the longest strike of the 21st century: that of the miners from the Grasberg copper mine in Mimika Regency, Indonesia. The documentary shows how the workers – mostly ethnic Papuans – deal with the ongoing strike that has lasted for over five years to the present. Combining reportage, talking-head interviews and archival footage, the filmmaker crafts a lyrical portrait of lives in suspension.
This programme contains a screening of the film Mayday! May day! Mayday! and a talk with Nancy Jouwe, Yonri Revolt and Raki Ap about this extraordinary strike, the situation of the Grasberg copper mine, and the political tensions between Indonesia and New-Guinea.
In early 2017, the mining corporation Freeport Indonesia laid off several thousand workers from its Grasberg copper mine in Mimika Regency, Indonesia. The miners demonstrated on May Day, inaugurating what would become one of the longest strikes of the 21st century, continuing for over five years to the present. Despite being nationalized in 2018, the company has refused to recognize the strike, denying workers access to public healthcare and thus causing the death of 97 people.
About the speakers
Raki Ap was born in 1984 in a refugee camp in Papua New Guinea. His father, anthropologist and musician Arnold Ap, had been killed four months earlier because of his protest songs that inspired many Papuans in their struggle for an independent West Papua.
Nancy Jouwe is a cultural historian and author. Her research interests include racism and intersectionality. She has been working as a spokesperson, publicist and organizer for Papuan rights and women’s rights since the early 1990s.