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Video clip: School CP


With notes by C. Farrell

There is no significant cultural tradition of formal corporal punishment (as opposed to random hitting) in most Indonesian schools, even though it is not illegal. So this four-minute film clip is quite unusual.

The setting is not an ordinary school but an Islamic traditional religious boarding school or pesantren near Jombang, East Java. Three male students in their late teens were caught with alcohol in the dormitory, and here we see them being flogged in front of all the students at the beginning of 2011. Two were said to get 40 strokes each, though we see only 21 of them here; the third, who was only a "helper", got five.

The three culprits, in traditional local costume, have been tied up to trees in the school grounds. The strokes are administered to the upper back with two thick canes together. This modus operandi, which seems strange for a school, probably derives to some extent from Islamic judicial practice observed in the Middle East (and in recent years in Aceh, another part of Indonesia), but here there is nothing symbolic about the lashes, which the operator delivers at full strength using both hands.

Some of the audience are quite small children: pesantren take students from a very young age up to about 20. Prayers and incantations are heard over the public address system as the punishment proceeds.


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