Artikel-artikel (Kajian-kajian) Kar Yen Leong, Remembering the 1965 Killings in Indonesia : Filling in The Gaps, Straightening History and Reconciliation

Kar Yen Leong – PhD, National University of Singapore, Department of Southeast Asian Studies

Keepers of the Grave: Ritual Guides, Ghosts, and Hidden Narratives in Indonesian History / 2021, Space and Culture

Abstract 

The 1965 killings in Indonesia brought about the incarceration, disappearances, and deaths of 500,000 to one million alleged members of the Indonesian Communist Party. This article concentrates on several suspected mass graves in Central Java reputed to have supernatural energy emanating from the violent deaths of the individuals buried there. These sites also have gatekeepers or juru kunci bridging the living and the spirits inhabiting these spaces. This research asks, How do these sites, through their juru kunci, elucidate a past which continues to be silenced? I posit that through contact with the souls of the executed, these gatekeepers utilize an ethereal connection to subvert the state’s enforced silence. These sites also provide a ritual space transforming these ghosts into ancestors worthy of remembrance. By reclaiming the identities of those murdered, the living and the dead can achieve a kind of localized spiritual reconciliation.

Speaking Across the Lines 1965 the Family and Reconciliation in Indonesia / 2021, Kritika Kultura

Abstract 

In the aftermath of the 1965 killings, Suharto’s New Order regime in Indonesia initiated a series of policies and ideological programs that sought to turn the Southeast Asian nation into an “integral state.” %e family unit then became institutionalized and idealized as an object providing the state with the necessary discursive language to maintain then-president Suharto’s three-decade long rule. His regime, however, continued to demonize hundreds of thousands of former political detainees, denying their families access to basic rights. Branded as having come from “unclean environments,” the descendants of the Suharto regime’s political detainees continue to face discrimination even after the New Order’s end in 1998. Nevertheless, in the years following reformasi (“reformation”), Indonesia’s increased democratic space provided an opportunity for the voices of former political detainees and their children to emerge. %is paper will utilize biographies and oral historical records to understand how the family provided a cocoon-like environment, allowing alternative or discordant narratives to form and coalesce. %e author aims to show how the New Order’s repressive policies affected these families with one generation passing onto the next its “tainted DNA.” %e author posits that given the lack of a public sphere in discussing the most momentous event in Indonesia, it is the private sphere of the family instead that would serve as an outpost of memory, reminding Indonesia of its “original sin.” It is hoped that this paper would be able to showcase the ability of the narratives from below to sow the seeds of historical and generational reconciliation.

Straightening History: Political Prisoners and Human Rights in Indonesia / 2021, Journal of Southeast Asian Human Right

Abstract 

In the aftermath of the attempted 1965 coup, many dissidents, leftists, and suspected Communists were either ‘eradicated’ or incarcerated in prisons all over Indonesia. Since their release, these political prisoners continue to face state-enforced discrimination and stigmatisation. The marginalization of ex-political prisoners by both the state and local communities has continued through Indonesia’s democratic transition following President Suharto’s downfall in 1998. This is compounded by the presence of right-wing groups who continue to harass them, labelling them as neo-Communists inimical to the Indonesian body politic. Through direct engagement with former political prisoners, I aim to understand rehabilitative efforts through support groups. In preliminary interviews, many eks-tapol refer to the need to ‘straighten’ history. This discourse highlights their need to be recognized as ‘whole’ citizens of Indonesia. I explore the state’s struggle to address this dark chapter in Indonesian history, what it means to ‘straighten’ history and how eks-tapol engage with support groups to re-define their position within the community, denoting a strengthened sense of dignity and humanity. It is hoped that this research will contribute to efforts to understand and protect the rights of eks-tapol and other victims of political persecution in Southeast Asia. 

FILLING IN THE GAPS Remembering the 1965 Killings in Indonesia / Kritika Kultura

Abstract 

After more than fifty years, Indonesia remains muted in its acknowledgement of the killings and disappearances of nearly one million suspected leftists in the anti-Communist pogroms of 1965. While the downfall of Indonesian strongman Suharto had opened up a larger space for democracy, the Indonesian state remains reticent in facing accusations of mass human rights violations that have taken place during his rule. Although many former dissidents and political detainees have come forward with their stories in an effort to “straighten history,” they continue to face harassment from right wing groups as well as the state’s intelligence apparatus. Nevertheless, with the advent of the Internet, human rights activists as well as historical “revisionists” have begun to use the cyber sphere as way to fill in the “gaps” in terms of Indonesia’s narrative concerning the killings of 1965. This paper investigates the dynamics behind the use of this medium in transmitting this dark episode to a younger generation of Indonesians. It looks specifically at Ingat 1965, a website that utilizes “private memory” as a way to “resist” as well as reinvent the narrative, which has so long been dominated by the state. This paper also includes an investigation into how Indonesia is beginning to deal with its past

Invisible threads linking phantasmal landscapes in Java: Haunted places and memory in post-authoritarian Indonesia / 2021, Memory Studies

Abstract 

The nation is often ‘imagined’ through various elements such as the media, education, ideologies, each providing the necessary ‘boundaries’ for its existence. It is also a space where the landscape is constructed and utilised to shape its citizens’ perception. However, the idea of a nation is not just circumscribed by what is celebrated or visible but also by what is ‘silenced’. During the transitional period between the Sukarno and Suharto administrations in the mid 60’s, approximately 500,000-1 million suspected leftists, communists and dissidents were incarcerated and disappeared. Thus even 20 years after the downfall of Suharto’s authoritarian regime, the incident continues to be an unspeakable ‘open secret’. This paper posits that beneath Indonesia’s modern veneer lies ‘pockets’ of spaces that physically mark this hidden history. I ask how Indonesians conceive and tell of this ‘unmentionable’ history through narratives that surround places of death and violence. I will be looking specifically at sites where dissidents have either been interrogated, imprisoned as well as executed. This research looks at how Indonesians utilise tales of the ghostly and the spectral as a way to bypass the taboo which surrounds the event and at the same time ‘narrativise’ it. I state that these tales of ghosts, hauntings and the supernatural are attempts by Indonesians to comprehend better what was otherwise an ‘incomprehensible’ event. Also, despite the state’s best efforts in creating a vacuum on the event, I state that these sites of violence, the landscapes which they inhabit and the tales they carry, are part of an invisible landscape where a counter ‘imagined community’ exists linking these sites as well as the past and present. With each of the sites, a hidden history is thus revealed despite efforts in suppressing this knowledge.

Remembering the 1965 Killings in Indonesia / 2019, Kritika Kultura

Abstract 

After more than fifty years, Indonesia remains muted in its acknowledgement of the killings and disappearances of nearly one million suspected leftists in the anti-Communist pogroms of 1965. While the downfall of Indonesian strongman Suharto had opened up a larger space for democracy, the Indonesian state remains reticent in facing accusations of mass human rights violations that have taken place during his rule. Although many former dissidents and political detainees have come forward with their stories in an effort to “straighten history, ” they continue to face harassment from right wing groups as well as the state’s intelligence apparatus. Nevertheless, with the advent of the Internet, human rights activists as well as historical “revisionists” have begun to use the cyber sphere as way to fill in the “gaps” in terms of Indonesia’s narrative concerning the killings of 1965. This paper investigates the dynamics behind the use of this medium in transmitting this dark episode to a younger generation of Indonesians. It looks specifically at Ingat 1965, a website that utilizes “private memory” as a way to “resist” as well as reinvent the narrative, which has so long been dominated by the state. This paper also includes an investigation into how Indonesia is beginning to deal with its past.

Body of Mine, Body of State: ‘Scarred Memoirs’ and the Unravelling of Southeast Asian History Kar Yen Leong / Taiwan Human Rights Journal , 2011

Abstract 

This paper looks at the way in which the state employs technologies and methods in the control of the human body. It uses a body of literature centred on and from Southeast Asia in order to investigate the instances of ‘biopower’ as states attempt to integrate individuals into its structures to create a more cohesive nation. With that, I will also show how these individuals resist the power of state through acts of resistance. Ultimately the essay will show that despite the overwhelming capacity of the state not just to ‘control’ its citizens but also in forming national narratives, the emergence of such scar literature in Southeast Asia will serve to present a differing view, filling the gaps which national history has created.

Seri Kompilasi Kajian Ilmiah Genosida 1965-1966 
Asvi Warman Adam,Baskara T. WardayaAriel Heryanto,Robert CribbAnnie PohlmanJohn RoosaSaksia WieringaKatharine McGregorPeter Dale ScottBenedict AndersonVannessa HearmanJess MelvinNoam ChomskyBradley Simpson, Geoffrey RobinsonGreg PoulgrainAlex de JongAndre VltchekTaomo Zhou Soe Tjen Marching, Peter Kasenda, Aiko Kurasawa,Vijay Prashad,Akihisa Matsuno  , Ruth Indiah RahayuNathaniel MehrAdam Hughes Henry Henri Chambert-Loir, Wim F.Wertheim, Steven FarramSri Lestari Wahyuningroem , Joss WibisonoLeslie Dwyer – Degung Santikarma, Vincent Bevins,Wijaya Herlambang, Budiawan, Ong Hok HamRex Mortimer, Olle Törnquist, Max Lane, Hilmar Farid , Michael G. Vann Gerry van KlinkenGrace Leksana, Ken SetiawanAyu RatihYosef DjakababaAan Anshori, Muhammad Al-Fayyadl, Roy MurtadhoDeirdre Griswold , David T. HillYoseph Yapi Taum, Aboeprijadi Santoso, Adrian Vickers, John Gittings, Jemma PurdeyHenk Schulte NordholtMartijn EickhoffMade SurpriatmaDahlia Gratia Setiyawan, Uğur Ümit Üngör, Manunggal Kusuma WardayaGloria Truly EstrelitaWulan DirgantoroKar Yen LeongWulan DirgantoroMuhidin M. DahlanDhianita Kusuma PertiwiElsa ClavéJustin L. WejakDouglas KammenMartin Suryajaya

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