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My Oxygen

My Oxygen

September 30, 2020

My oxygen is love
My oxygen is joy
My oxygen is forgiveness
My oxygen is nature
My oxygen is togetherness

Their oxygen is money
Their oxygen is power
Their oxygen is war
Their oxygen is killing
Their oxygen is hate

They took my oxygen away,
So they can breathe.
They killed my oxygen,
So they can be the King.
They raped my oxygen,
So they can make me a slave.

When will my oxygen be back?
When will my oxygen be happy?

I miss my oxygen.
Please give it back to me,
So that I may live again…

About the Poem and Dance

I created my poem and dance for a world that is really sick right now. I rebel against the extinction of the world’s biocultural diversity from my own experience as a young Indigenous person. As one of the Indigenous youths of Indonesia, I am upset that we as human beings are causing the loss of biocultural diversity. All living creatures need one another to make our world healthy and beautiful. People need other people to help one another. People also need biodiversity so that they can survive and thrive. But if biodiversity is lost, people suffer. And if people suffer, they cannot protect biodiversity.

I learned to create poetry when I was fifteen years old. I took literature in senior high school and learned about fiction, drama, and poetry, including traditional Malay poetry. I have been composing poetry since I was sixteen. All of my poetry is about my experience and what happens in the world. In senior high school, I twice received an award as the best student of Malay literature.

I have also been a dancer since the age of seven. I learned various genres of modern dance such as hip-hop, popping, twerk, and contemporary dance. I really like contemporary dance because it allows me to express my protest about our way of life. I am a coach of modern dance in two private high schools in Maumere, the city where I live in Indonesia. I not only guide students in dance practice but also teach them to appreciate other people and other living things, so as to make this world wonderful not only with our dances but also with our attitude.

I created my artwork to show people around the world that we as living things need to heal the world. The way to make this world better comes from within ourselves as human beings. We need to appreciate one another—not only other people but also other living things. We need to create this new world with love, forgiveness, and caring. Today we are losing biocultural diversity because people are always selfish, minding their own business and chasing power and money in the world.

Human activities are responsible for the extinction of species and habitats and the loss of biodiversity. The extinction of species and ecosystems means the extinction of the life systems that support human life. And people are at war with one another, too—killing, bullying, discriminating, and hating so that they can get ahead in this world. The COVID-19 pandemic and mounting racial and ethnic tensions around the globe are creating a devastating social, economic, and political crisis that also contributes to the loss of biocultural diversity.

Watching the news of what’s happening in the world right now, as an Indigenous youth I wanted to rebel. We need nature and nature needs us, so we shouldn’t destroy each other. I created my poetry when I was at the beach in Maumere. There I saw people in nature, saw them enjoy the beauty of nature. We need to care for this beautiful nature so it can still be there for future generations, instead of causing it to be gone forever because of our destructive actions. That gave me the idea of making poetry about biocultural diversity—not just about people but also about other living things.

My poem is about what we had before, like love, joy, forgiveness, togetherness, and nature—all the things we are losing because of people who only care about money and power. We and all other living things need the world to get better soon—and not only because of COVID-19 but also because of the loss of togetherness and of caring for one another and for the natural world. Plants and animals are vital elements in the balance of nature and are essential to the health of the earth. Breaking the balance of nature will make the earth no longer a comfortable home for humans. As residents of the earth, we are obliged to preserve the existence of plants and animals, in order to maintain the natural balance and ensure our own well-being.

As for my dance, I created it in one day to express my extinction rebellion. Many contemporary dancers want to convey a message about love within a couple, but that’s not what I wanted to do. In my choreography, I showed my feelings and emotions about the world right now. I feel I am alone because many people don’t care about biocultural diversity. We need to change all that and care for one another as human beings and for other living things. In this video I used my stage name as a dancer, FAUZ MA, which I have been using since I performed in senior high school. The video of my dance was shot at one of the beaches in Maumere, with a nice view of the sea and the islands in the background.

I offer my poetry and dance as oxygen for the world. We need to learn to appreciate other people and other living things so that we can help our world heal and make it better than it was yesterday. ( )


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