ANNIE POHLMAN, YOSEF DJAKABABA, MATHIAS HAMMER, JESS MELVIN, SRI LESTARI WAHYUNINGROEM
THE MASSACRES OF1965–1966: NEW INTERPRETATIONS AND THE CURRENT DEBATE IN INDONESIA (JOURNAL OF CURRENT SOUTHEAST ASIA AFFAIRS Vol 32, No 3 (2013)
INTRODUCTION: THE MASSACRES OF 1965–1966: NEW INTERPRETATIONS AND THE CURRENT DEBATE IN INDONESIA -ANNIE POHLMAN
The mass violence which spread across Indonesia following an attempt-ed coup on 1 October 1965 claimed the lives of half a million people and irrevocably changed the lives of millions more. Despite an up-surge in attention from researchers and community-based activists over the last fifteen years, these events, known collectively as the “Indonesian killings” or the “Indonesian massacres” of the mid-1960s, have remained a murky part of Indonesian history.
THE INITIAL PURGING POLICIES AFTER THE 1965 INCIDENT AT LUBANG BUAYA – YOSEF DJAKABABA
After the Lubang Buaya incident on 1 October 1965 in which six top Indonesian Army generals and a lieutenant were killed, the Army began to implement a nationwide purging campaign with the assistance of civilian anti-communist groups. Thousands of PKI members, supporters and pro-Sukarno groups/individuals immediately became the target of this purge. For organisational purposes, several purging policies were released and then strictly enforced. The official purging policies that are highlighted in this paper are a series of initial directives that were released within days of the generals’ executions. They do not explicitly translate into orders to kill, but are more of a guideline to help anti-communist officials classify and contain communists and other PKI followers. This article attempts to show how these initial directives evolved and also discusses competing purge policies from non-military sources. The co-existence and overlapping nature of the various directives indicate that a power struggle existed between the anti-communist group led by General Soeharto and the presidium of the Dwikora Cabinet who were loyal to President Soekarno.
THE ORGANISATION OF THE KILLINGS AND THE INTERACTION BETWEEN STATE AND SOCIETY IN CENTRAL JAVA, 1965 – MATHIAS HAMMER
This article investigates how the Indonesian state organised the killing of approx. 100,000 communists and alleged communists in Central Java in 1965. It presents the argument that even though state institutions unleashed the killings and perpetrated much of the violence, the state’s control over this violence was limited. In particular, decisions by state institutions as to who would be targeted by the violence at the individual level were considerably influenced by civilian actors. Six theses develop this argument by reconstructing these events. They highlight the fact that the Indonesian army faced capacity constraints (thesis 1) and relied on improvisation (2). The army detained many of the victims in improvised facilities prior to their deaths (3). In these installations, the army’s capacity to identify and select those of the detainees it wished to execute was constrained by a lack of reliable men among their forces. Chaotic conditions in the detention facilities put further limits on the state’s capacity to select people for execution. To counter these effects, auditing and investigation teams were put into place to carry out these selections (4). In doing so, they had to rely on information from their victims’ social environments (5), which identified candidates for detention and supplied details that helped the selection teams decide what to do with detainees (6). This information was supplied voluntarily, often as a result of personal initiative.
WHY NOT GENOCIDE? ANTI-CHINESE VIOLENCE IN ACEH, 1965–1966 – JESS MELVIN
This article provides an account of anti-Chinese violence in Aceh between 1 October 1965 and 17 August 1966. Drawing upon original oral history evidence and previously unknown documentary sources, this article builds upon current scholarly understandings that two phases of violence involving members of the ethnic Chinese community can be identified in Aceh during this period, to explain how a third explicitly ethnic-based phase of violence directed against members of the ethnic Chinese community in Aceh can also be identified. Based on this research and a reflection on the precedent set by the Cambodian genocide as to how the current legal definition of genocide can be applied, this article argues that the assessment that the Indonesian killings should not be understood as genocide is premature.
CHILD-RAISING, CHILDBIRTH AND ABORTION IN EXTREMIS: WOMEN’S STORIES OF CARING FOR AND LOSING CHILDREN DURING THE VIOLENCE OF 1965–1966 ININDONESIA – ANNIE POHLMAN
In this paper I examine women survivors’ stories about childbirth and child-raising during the period of mass violence following Indonesia’s 1965 coup, as well as some accounts of abortion during detention. The focus of my research is not on children’s experiences per se but rather on women survivors’ accounts about what happened to their children. I discuss various aspects of these experiences, including: being pregnant and giving birth; caring for children in and outside detention; the harm and abuse of children; losing children; and forced abortions. These stories reveal much about how women cared for and lost children as well as about what happened to children during the violence of 1965. I argue that examining these experiences must therefore also be central to understanding how women and their children survived and coped with the mass violence of 1965–1966. I also argue that these stories of caring for children, as well as of how children were harmed or lost, were fundamental parts of many women’s testimonies.
SEDUCING FOR TRUTH AND JUSTICE: CIVIL SOCIETY INITIATIVES FOR THE 1965 MASS VIOLENCE IN INDONESIA – SRI LESTARI WAHYUNINGROEM
The article examines both civil society initiatives that seek to address the mass violence of 1965 and 1966 and the state’s responses to them. Unlike other political-transition contexts in the world, a transitional justice approach is apparently a formula that state authorities have found difficult to implement nationally for this particular case. The central government has, through its institutions, sporadically responded to some of the calls from civil society groups and has even initiated policy reforms to support such initiatives. Nevertheless, these responses were not sustained and any suggested programmes have always failed to be completed or implemented. Simultaneously, however, NGOs and victims are also voicing their demands at the local level. Many of their initiatives involve not only communities but also local authorities, including in some cases the local governments. In some aspects, these “bottom-up” approaches are more successful than attempts to create change at the national level. Such approaches challenge what Kieran McEvoy refers to as an innate “seductive” quality of transitional justice, but at the same time these approaches do, in fact, aim to “seduce” the state to adopt measures for truth and justice.
DOCUMENTATION: REPORTS BY HUMAN RIGHTS AND VICTIM ADVOCACY ORGANISATIONS IN INDONESIA: RECONCILING THE VIOLENCE OF 1965 – ANNIE POHLMAN
In February 2013, the conference “New Perspectives on the 1965 Violence in Indonesia” brought together community-based researchers and representatives from human rights and advocacy organisations across several regions of Indonesia to discuss new historical understandings about the tragedy of 1965 and its impact on Indonesian society. Together with a number of Australia- and Indonesia-based researchers, these community-based researchers and NGO advocates discussed a wide range of themes, including the role of the state in the violence, the patterns of violence, the impacts of the violence on women, children and communities, and the legacies of this mass social violence in particular regions of Indonesia. These discussions were animated and broad-ranging, with each of the participants bringing unique views and experiences, particularly those from the grass-roots and national NGOs represented.
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Road to Justice : State Crimes after Oct 1st 1965 (Jakartanicus)