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Indonesia – Update Update – June 6, 2016

Looking into the massacres of Indonesia’s past

On June 2, 2016 BBC published: “Indonesia has decided to investigate one of the darkest chapters of its own history. In 1965 at least 500,000 people died in organised killings of suspected communist sympathisers.”

“A mass grave in the middle of a forest. There is a spot in the middle of a teak forest, the ground covered with leaves, on the outskirts of Pati in Central Java. Radim, a thin farmer in his 70s, describes what happened here one night in 1965.

Radim - pic
Radim – pic

“They came on carts pulled by cows… their hands were tied together with rope. They were forced to kneel, then shot in the back by soldiers and kicked into mass graves.” The violence was unleashed after communists were accused of killing six generals in an attempted coup. It was the peak of the Cold War and a power battle between communists, the military and Islamic groups was in full swing.

The army and local militia went on an anti-Communist rampage, killing, it is estimated, at least half-a-million and up to three million people within a year.

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Joko Widodo - pic
Joko Widodo – pic

For almost 50 years speaking about that time has been taboo and official history books gloss over the killings.

Where previous governments refused to apologise or even accept that it happened, President Joko Widodo’s investigation has seen senior ministers meet with survivors. There is even talk of digging up mass graves such as this.”

“Those happy to admit they killed. It is easy to find someone who will proudly tell you how many they killed in 1965 and how they did it. Burhanaddin ZR says he killed more people than he could count and shows no remorse. “There is no need for reconciliation.”

Burhanaddin - pic
Burhanaddin – pic

In the 1960s the Indonesian Communist Party was the second largest in the world. Its members were mostly intellectuals, farmers, artists and social activists. To escape the purge some went into exile in the Netherlands and Russia. For decades they weren’t allowed to come home, even to bury their loved ones. Even now when high-profile exiles return they are monitored by intelligence agents.

Under General Suharto, who effectively took power shortly after the attempted coup and remained until 1998, school children were forced to watch a graphically violent three-hour-long government film about the brutal alleged coup by the communists.”

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Indonesia – Stories

imagesCAS3W5L9In the novel ‘Max Havelaar’, the protagonist tries to battle against a corrupt government system in Java, Indonesia, which was then a Dutch colony.

1 Java; A book killed colonialism Stories 2014.08.15


1318451766_1391100779Three lakes are atop of Mount Kelimutu on the island of Flores on Timor. Each has a different color. Read:

2 Flores; Amazing ‘Lake Three Colors’ Stories 2014.06.06


larantukaThe Dutch rule ended after more than 300 years, while the Portuguese left (East Timor) after 450 years. Read:

3 Timor; Dutch and Portuguese occupation Stories 2014.06.06




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