Indonesia's internationally renowned Ratna Sarumpaet, born July 1949, successfully unites professional and artistic excellence with concern for the plight for humanity. Outspoken, sharp and critical, she positioned herself against authority. All of her works were initiated from her anger on human relights violation cases and discriminations. "Marsinah Accuses”, a superb monologue, was her reaction to the unresolved murder of a factory laborer (1993), brutally banned in eight cities. Taking the public to the hidden spots of human fear, Ratna stirred the conscience of society, when hypocrisy and oppression seemed to have silenced the inner voices of people. (Carla Bianpoen, The Jakarta Post, July 1999)
Ratna is well-known as political and human-rights activist in Indonesia, as well-known as a playwright and drama director. In 1997, in 11 cities where Marsinah Accuses performed the momologue was brutally banned. Tanks, guns, and troops roughly stoped the performance and sent the audiences out of the theatre. After this brutal government reaction, Ratna led an alliance of pro-demcracy groups, with only one target, ‘Soeharto has to step down’. 10 March 1998, Ratna was repressively-brutally caught by authorities and put into prison for seventy two days.
10 December 1998, on the commemoration of the 50th Human Rights day, Ratna gave a speech at Palais de Chaillot building and the committee of the event produced documentary film on Ratna called “Les Derniers Prisonniers de Soeharto”/The Last Prisoner Of Soeharto, and simultaneously aired in France & German TV. The next day, 11 December 1998, Ratna flew to Tokyo Japan, to received a human right award ‘The Special Award for Human Right’ from The Asia Foundation For Human Rights.
2000 Ratna wrote her fifth play based on armed political conflict in Aceh, “ALIA, The Wound of Aceh. 2003, she wrote Children of Darkness, about indirect victims of human rights tragedy in Indonesia 1965. In April 2006, Ratna was again became the public attention, not for standing against authorities and military, but Islamic politicians, ulema politicians, as well as the Islamic militants who with every attempts were using moral aiming to make Indonesia to become an Islamic country. Expressed her refusal with her strong articulation and argumentation, Ratna again became target of terror and intimidation. She was forced to leave Jakarta, and humiliated in front of public.
In 2006, by request of UNICEF, Ratna wrote a play about under-age sex trafficking, “Prostitute & The President”. One year later she adapted and directed the play, into film, produced by her company Satu Merah Panggung, with Multivision Plus, tittle “Jamila & The President”. This film is Ratna’s first film both as a script writer and as director. This film attracted various International Film Festival, won NETPAC Award from in Rome, Youth Prize and Public Prize from Vesoul, France, and selected as Indonesian Official Rntry to Oscar 2010.