Bali Fights Back

Under a rallying call “Bali Tolak Reklamasi” (Bali Rejects Reclamation), groups and organizations around Bali have banded together to criticism a due tourism mega-development in a Badung Regency of Bali’s Benoa Bay. The transformation has now been active for 5 years and expresses concerns about environmental and informative integrity, mercantile inequality, approved appearance in expansion trajectories, and justification of political-economic corruption.


International tourism has been a categorical developmental arena in Bali for decades. The series of unfamiliar traveller arrivals has increasing from approximately dual million arrivals per year in 2008 to 5,697,739 in 2017. While a tourism economy is booming, a advantages are for a many partial reaped by outward entities, while a costs are socialized among a Balinese population. A 2015 investigate showed that an estimated 85 percent of a tourism economy is non-Balinese owned, and that a tourism attention accounts for 65 percent of Bali’s H2O consumption. To make approach for traveller development, rice paddies are being privileged during a rate of 100 hectares per year, and 260 of Bali’s 400 rivers are already dry.

The Bali Tolak Reklamasi transformation exemplifies a two-fold process. The globalization of communication and information has increasing a ability for several actors from different localities — who have concerns or choice ideas for developmental trajectories — to constitute their concerns within a tellurian discourse. Simultaneously, policies compared with a globalization of a economy are mostly causal factors in expanding resources and income inequality, food insecurity, environmental degradation, and apparatus dependency. The policies mostly proportion “development” with mercantile growth, and frustrate approved processes to a border that renouned will is superseded by a interests of corporate-political beneficiaries. But a multifaceted outcomes of globalization processes has also authorised adults with different concerns to commend a associated inlet of contemporary social, ecological, and mercantile injustices, and so combine in hostile actions from mixed angles. Activists endangered in grassroots activities are now means to commend a interconnectedness of innumerable internal issues and bond their concerns with transnational actors with identical contentions, combining coalitions that come inhabitant boundaries.

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Bali’s Troubled Tourism History

Balinese expressions of temperament have been tranquil via story and can be traced behind to a Dutch colonization of a island in a mid-19th century. This better has remained a vicious partial of contemporary Balinese temperament discourse, noted by a stress of a conflict for Klung Klung in 1906 and Badung in 1908. In these instances, faced with guaranteed rubbish during a hands of Dutch forces, Balinese commanders led an transformation referred to as a puputan – a collective, willed genocide of a whole authority in a face of unavoidable defeat.

The Dutch subsequently introduced general tourism to Bali in a 1920s underneath a specific informative policy famous as “Baliseering” or “the Balinization of Bali.” Through an educational concentration on Balinese language, literature, and arts, they directed to exaggerate a informative aspects of Balinese life to be used as a offered indicate for tourism.

Suharto’s troops manoeuvre in 1966 led to new policies shabby by a entrepreneur indication of expansion and corroborated adult by a geopolitical fondness with a United States. At a same time, expressions of racial temperament in Bali, a usually Hindu island in a Indonesian archipelago, were particularly tangible and monitored. Following a deregulation of a banking complement in 1988, unfamiliar and domestic investment in expansion projects in Bali increased by 1,000 percent.

There were mixed instances during a 1990s where a internal Bali Post journal reported on building environmental concerns among internal Balinese, such as a unregulated mining of limestone and coral for hotel and airfield construction, coastal erosion, cosmetic waste, sewage and atmosphere pollution, and H2O source diversions. The introduction of Green Revolution technologies including unfamiliar seed varieties and agrochemical inputs deeply influenced a firmness of a now UNESCO famous subak H2O irrigation complement and drastically decreased rice yields by H2O deficiencies and outbreaks of pests and diseases. The presentation of a suppositional investment marketplace led to fast acceleration of land prices, so that a rural use-value of land was effectively subordinated to a capital-value.

Supporters of a Bali Tolak Reklamasi Movement impetus toward a governor’s office. Photo by Pascale Hunt.

Benoa Bay

In 2011, President Susilyo Bambang Yudihono (SBY) published a “Masterplan for Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesian Economic Development” that minute skeleton to grasp mercantile expansion by a specific importance on tourism in Bali. The doubtful Benoa Bay area was identified as a designated “Investment Focus Zone.” The request summarized a heading purpose for a private section in mercantile development, and settled that “the supervision will rectify or mislay regulations that stop a doing of investments.”

The Benoa Bay plan is led by PT Tirta Wihana Bali International and entails a reclamation of 700 hectares of land from a harbor, that connects a rarely grown Kuta, Sanur and Nusa Dua districts of South Bali. In Dec 2012, before a proclamation of a offer or any Environmental Impact Assessment had been discussed, a administrator of Bali, we Made Mangku Pastika, provided a reclamation permit for Benoa Bay to TWBI before arising a direct in Aug a following year, job for a feasibility comment on a Benoa Bay area. The initial assent contradicted Presidential Regulation No. 45 of 2011, that announced Benoa Bay a charge area, and Presidential Decree No. 122 in 2012 on Reclamation in Coastal Areas and Small Islands, that barred reclamation activities from being carried out. Later in 2014, President SBY released Presidential Regulation No. 51, an executive Amendment to Presidential Decree No. 45 of 2011, stealing Benoa Bay’s charge standing and dogmatic it a “commercial zone.” This transformation is one of a executive beliefs of a Bali Tolak Reklamasi movement.

Additionally, transformation participants are endangered about a charge and fountainhead functions of a bay, repairs to coral reefs, coasts, and H2O salinity, and biodiversity loss. The Benoa Bay area binds 1,375 hectares of mangroves, 5 rivers, 12 villages, and approximately 150,000 residents. In further to environmental concerns, there will be amicable costs such as a exacerbation of mercantile inequalities between North and South Bali, and members are angry during a misapplication associated to a undemocratic inlet of a government’s negligence for renouned will in preference of private interests. The finish list of a movement’s contentions are supposing on a ForBALI website in a request entitled “13 Alasan Tolak Reklamasi Teluk Benoa” — 13 Reasons We Reject a Reclamation of Benoa Bay.

The plcae of a better of Badung in 1906, a southern-most regency in Bali, is commemorated by Puputan Bandung Park, in what is now a sub-district of Denpasar. Bali Tolak Reklamasi conducted a proof during a park on Feb 17 2018, where participants marched by a streets to a governor’s office. At a time of colonization, puputan events were portrayed as a feat of a colonial state opposite inland leaders, but currently tenure of this sermon has been retaken by Balinese. The bequest of puputan is used to express togetherness in antithesis to colonialism and outmost mastery as good as Balinese racial identity. Additionally, a juncture of informative black with black of entrepreneur development, such as a bulldozer, illustrates a formation of historical-contextual meanings with wider frames that demonstrate antithesis to a economic, environmental and informative costs of globalization.

Opposition to a Benoa Bay offer is positively one of a many polarizing issues in contemporary Balinese sermon and has brought together environmentalists, youth, students, musicians, artists, eremite leaders, farmers, and fisherman.

Pascale Hunt is an Indonesia-based freelance author and multimedia calm producer, focusing on environmental and tellurian rights issues in a Asia Pacific region.

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