Indonesia’s New Merapi Gate-keeper Slug: Indonesia new gate-keepers Reporter: Rebecca Henschke INTRO: Indonesia

is in the ring of fire, with a string of active volcanoes across the country. The most active is Merapi, above the ancient Javanese city of Yogyakarta. Two years ago it had it’s most deadly eruption to date killing more than 150 people... including the 83-year-old gate keeper of volcano Pak Marijan. His son, Pak Asih, has been appointed by the Sultan to replace him — to mediate with the spirits of the mountain. Rebecca Henschke was one of the last foreign journalists to met Pak Marijan before he was killed and two years later she returns to met his son. TEXT: STAND-UPS….background car traditional music We are winding our way up the Mount Merapi from the city of Yogyakarta and we have come to a sign that says ‘you are now entering into the danger zone’. It was here as far as 13 kilometers from the top of the volcano that two years ago heat clouds and lava rush down killing at least 100 people…. ROADS SOUNDS… As we get closer to Pak Marijan and Pak Asih’s house you are starting to see signs of the eruption two years ago… there are no tall trees in this area. The trees that are here are dead, tall black sticks and either side of the road are empty ghost houses…destroyed houses that no one has returned to live in…the windows are smashed in and doors and the roof have collapsed… We arrive at what used to be Pak Marijan and his family compound… CLOSING THE DOOR… It’s extraordinary to come here two years later… it’s so different. Now it’s a waste land with volcanic ash… there are two motorbikes that were destroyed by the hot ash or lava…skeletons of the bikes and there is a car in the same condition that inside a journalist was burnt alive in and killed…

” Pak Marijans body was found by rescue workers in a position of prayer facing Mecca. But Pak Marijan could not be persuaded to come with you? “No. Indonesia): “I became very weak…I had no power at all in my body… because I saw the condition of my house and the nature.. English) “Why would I do that? What would be the use of going anywhere else? An uneducated person like me travelling! That would just be a headache. The children were all crying… We saw Merapi exploding…it was time to get out of there fast. Asih was with the rescue teams who went to find him…but he fainted before they found his father. I couldn’t find my father… everyone in that situation would have felt the same way. is believed. I saw how Merapi had destroyed everything… it was all destroyed. They had repeatedly rejected government warnings to come down from the danger zone.” In his last interview before his death Pak Marijan..” Merapi is much more than just a mountain to the people of central Java. And the gate-keeper.they were coming down fast…the clouds where right behind us so we ran. It was a very frightening situation. No point. to enjoy an intimate spiritual relationship with Merapi. pays homage to these forces in yearly rituals. Merapi had been rumbling for weeks. ASIH CLIP 2 (Male. It was raining white ash and it was covering everything…people were running around looking like ghosts…they were totally white. He had made his decision to stay. SOUNDS OF MARJIAN PRAYING The Sultan of Yogyakarta. told me he had never left the slopes of the volcano in this 83 years of life. There was no way of changing his mind. It is seen as a representation of the sacred Mount Semeru of Hindu mythology. At the last minute Pak Asih and his children fled… ASIH CLIP 1(Male.. Q.The journalist had come to try and persuade Pak Marjian and his family to finally evacuate the area. Indonesian) “We saw clouds of hot smoke coming down …. . or as the home of more ancient Javanese spirits. Marijan Clip 1 (Male. although a devout Muslim like most of his subjects.

SOUNDS OF TOURISTS PRAYING….In his last interview before his death. Asih clip 4b (Male. If I come down it means I am only protecting myself. Some rescue workers viewed his father Pak Marijan as a head-ache because he often dismissed government warnings and stayed. Let the volcano breathe but not cough. as a good citizen of his country you don’t do that (laughs)… …. cups and hats with Pak Marijan’s face on them.” In his death he has become a national hero. completing two nights of meditation at a sacred spot as the volcano rumbled and heaved beneath him. That’s my wish but God is the only one who controls life. Indonesia): “The government usually gets it wrong..” The Slopes of Merapi are very fertile farming land.” But Pak Asih says unlike his father he will not only be relying on God when it comes to predicting the volcano. When the volcano erupted in 2006 Marijan even trudged closer to the peak.and Pak Asih and his family now survive by selling t-shirts. Indonesia): “They come in a sense to see what nature can do…. Indonesia): “No we are not living in constant fear of Merapi. The place where he was found dead is now a very popular tourist destination. and the gods have not given the right signs. Indonesia): “I will not disobey the the government. Indonesia): “My job is to stop lava from flowing down. Many villagers listen to him over the government. Marijan clip 3 (Male. If you disobey the government . if I stay it’s for the country. you have to think first because this community has two warning systems. So is he afraid? ASIH clip 3 (Male. one from the government and the second one is from the gods. Around three million people visited the site in the last 12 months…. People pray for his soul in a bamboo mosque that has been rebuilt in honor of the old gatekeeper… Asih clip 4 (Male.You can’t break the law. Marijan clip 2 (Male. You have to look at the positives we are happy living here. Marijan described his role.to witness the power of God.” Now the job of taming the giant mountain has fallen to his son Pak Asih. Don’t do things too quickly.

I want them to focus more on getting a education. Indonesia) : “I don’t want my daughters to be gate-keepers...don’t be just like your dad. but hopes he will be the last. I want them to do something more modern…. I believe in their ways of reading merapi…It makes sense they have the technology in their hands. children have to be smarter and better than their parents!” B/A: Pak Asih the new gate-keeper of Indonesia’s most active volcano… he was speaking with Rebecca Henschke .that means you are breaking the law and you might get in trouble yourself.” He is the fourth generation in his family to be trusted by the Sultan as the gate keeper of Indonesia’s most active volcano. Being a Gate-keeper is a very traditional job. Asih clip 6 (Male.

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