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Enduring Dispossession in Indonesia by Christian Lund

February 25, 2021

In 2013, my friend Oji and I were talking to a group of villagers not far from Garut, in West Java. The land around had been the object of dispute and struggle for generations. It had been taken over from Javanese nobility and peasants by Dutch planters in the course of the nineteenth century. Later, when the Dutch fled during the Japanese occupation in 1942, the victors encouraged local peasants to take over the land. These smallholders continued to farm the land after Indonesian independence in 1945, and in the 1960s they were promised legal rights to it as part of government land reform.

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Oblivion or Glory by David Stafford

February 24, 2021

Shortly before noon on Wednesday 26 January 1921 an express train bound for Shrewsbury in England was speeding towards the small rural station of Abermule, close to the Severn river in Wales. It was on a single-track line. A safety system used by the Cambrian Railway Company involving the exchange of tablets ensured that no two trains travelling in opposite directions should enter the same section. But the experienced stationmaster was on holiday and junior members of his staff made a series of catastrophic errors. As the express approached the station, its horrified crew saw a local passenger train heading straight towards them.

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